Technest. 

That word is packed with so much power and potential. 

At San Jose City College’s (SJCC) Milpitas Extension, as well as its main campus, it’s expanding and enhancing the field of education — and the realm of possibilities that exist as a result of said field. 

Technest started back in 2017 at the Milpitas Extension. The whole idea was to offer affordable courses in Computer Programming, Coding, and Data Science, as a way of removing the barriers to starting a career in the IT space. 

With Technest, SJCC goes a step beyond just offering courses; they actually work with students on finding jobs after the courses are done. 

“The college had this dream of trying to find ways in which we can accelerate the process of getting folks within the community into the technology field,” said adjunct lecturer Sanjay Dorairaj, who teaches classes in Computer Programming and Data Science. “If you are doing a regular course at the college, then it’s typically toward completing a 4-year college degree. But there’s no program to teach them Math or Science and to help them find a job. Especially for folks who are older, and looking to transition their career and move into the tech area. So we thought, can we come up with a curriculum or course to allow folks in the community access to technology jobs?” 

They could and they did. 

Working in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT), SJCC offers Technest courses on both its Milpitas and main San Jose campuses. Students ranging from high school- to senior citizen-age take classes there in Python and Data Science. 

Last year, SJCC was honored to receive the prestigious Bellwether Award for its Technest program, for bringing a wave of innovation and opportunity to Milpitas and San Jose. 

Mark Branom, the college’s only full-time Computer Applications faculty member, is the coordinator for Technest. Two of the courses he teaches are Python classes — one at the main campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and one at the Milpitas Extension on Wednesdays and Saturdays — with about 20 students apiece.

These Python courses run 18 weeks, and start before the semester officially begins. The current one began in mid-January and will close with the regular semester at the end of May. 

“Python’s a computer programming language. I always tell people it’s a great beginner programming language to start with. Learning a programming language is identical to learning a human language,” said Branom. 

Technest’s Lena Tran is Vice President of Strategic Partnership and Workforce Innovation; she oversees program activities. She recently returned from a trip to Malaysia, as SJCC partner IDT seeks to launch Technest out there, too. 

“Technest is a benefit to our community. There aren’t really any programs like this, where we can train students for high-earning jobs,” said Tran.  

The best part? Technest is strikingly inexpensive. Students can complete all coursework and benefit from the related job-finding assistance for only $150. 

This summer, the Milpitas College Extension will be offering an accelerated 6-week Python Programming course, starting on June 17th. 

To learn more, go to: https://www.sjccxmilpitas.com

Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works with nonprofit organizations to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also an author; her first book will be published by Llewellyn Worldwide in mid-2019. Her YouTube channel, which features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment, has amassed thousands of subscribers. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s founder.

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