Art major earns Gold Badge Certification in coding this summer

by Susan Sullivan | Aug 16, 2018

"Technology alone is not enough. It's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, which yields results that make our hearts sing." 

— Steve Jobs, Apple founder

How did you spend your summer? Maya Quandt, a graphic design major at Marian University who is also minoring in communication and art history, earned an industry- and state-recognized Gold Badge Certification in coding from the Eleven Fifty Academy.

Maya Quandt | Marian UniversityMarian University student Maya Quandt with her certificate. Beside her is Scott Jones, a serial technology entrepreneur and millionaire investor who's best known as the inventor of voicemail. Co-founder of Gracenote, Jones is chair of the Indianapolis-based coding boot camp Eleven Fifty Academy. He has close ties to Indianapolis, having lived in the area for much of his adult life.

Quandt is one of 19 students representing 14 private universities across the state who completed the month-long "Smart Launch Tech," a coding program developed especially for liberal arts majors, in June.

"I try to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible to gain skills that I believe will help me in the future, so this program definitely appealed to me," Quandt explained, adding she hopes to incorporate coding and web development into her career path after graduation.

The four-week boot camp taught Quandt and other participants about the basics of HTML, CSS, APIs, and Java Script. Quandt completed assignments demonstrating required badge competencies and developed a digital portfolio of her work.

What are educational "badges" and how do they work? Digital badges are indicators of an accomplishment or skill that is earned in a vetted, validated learning environment. They supplement college coursework, promote learning outside traditional classroom environments, and signal achievement in a particular area. 

In addition to coding, Quandt learned more about career paths in the technology industry, including project and marketing management, data analysis, compliance, security, and design.

"The program encouraged me to think creatively about developing solutions to problems, which is a skill that will prove valuable in my future career," Quandt said. "I was able to learn the 'language' of coding, which is similar to learning a foreign language. It expanded my critical thinking in a more logical way but, at the same time, I was still able to apply creative facets to the projects."

Pursuing a creative career is important to Quandt, who credits faculty in the Department of Art and Design with helping her become her best self. "I wouldn't be the person I've become today without my professors at Marian. They encourage and motivate me to be the best that I can be," she added. 

Before completing the coding program, Quandt and her peers visited a number of Indianapolis-based technology companies, including High Alpha, Pattern89, Kinney Group, and OneClick, where they talked with company executives and employees about their technology environments and protocols.

Smart Launch Tech was created by Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) and Eleven Fifty Academy to help students connect the creative problem-solving, collaboration, and critical thinking skills that result from a liberal arts education with technology skills.

The program was made available to Quandt and her fellow students free-of-charge through a venture grant made possible by ICI, Eleven Fifty Academy, and the Council of Independent Colleges.

To learn more about the College of Arts and Sciences at Marian, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission or schedule a campus visit.

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