On April 13th, Zillow visited our transformation school, Boze Elementary, in Tacoma, WA to provide a presentation about online businesses, real estate, and web development careers to the fifth-grade class. The students have been working on a business of their own, an online storefront to the school store they’ve been managing during the school year. The students were responsible for writing the code for their website and planned to unveil it to the school’s community at their spring exhibition occurring the following week.
Programmers Steven Kwan, Taylor De Rosa, and Allie Sterling of Zillow gave a powerpoint presentation to engaged fifth graders, equipped with pencil and paper. The students listened intently and from time to time took notes on information they felt would be helpful to running their business.
Taylor spoke to the young audience first, providing some background on the company got its name, and why Zillow felt it was important to help their community and customers buy and find homes.
Students had a lot of questions. Seriously… a lot. Most of the questions pertained to the real estate business and the process of buying a home. Particularly, students wanted to know what the challenges were to building a website and how long has the site has been up.
Steven spoke to the students next and explained how the website actually worked, noting that it was an ever changing tool that the company continues to improve upon to serve their customers better. He also shared how he became interested in technology. Steven shared a commonality with the group. He’d also began his journey in the tech field through TAF, where at a young age he became interested in computers and developed his skills in coding. He then went to the University of Washington, and now holds a Senior Software Engineer position at Zillow.
Allie also shared her journey in the field. As a new programmer of two years, she entered into her career later and first doubted her ability to perform the work. “You don’t have to be someone who’s great at math. There are other skills like collaboration, teamwork, and critical thinking that are really important,” Allie told the students. She mentioned some strategies she and her team use when they feel challenged, noting that working in teams helps keep the momentum and drive. “It’s hard figuring out problems sometimes, but really rewarding when you find the answer.”
When TAF partners like Zillow spend their time speaking with students as young as elementary-aged, students are able to start envisioning themselves with limitless possibilities in their futures. They begin seeing themselves entering into career paths they never knew existed and validated by professionals already doing the work.
On Thursday, April 20th, the Boze Elementary fifth graders debuted their website to parents and members of the community at their spring exhibition. The online store will be open for ordering within the next month.