Allow me to post something here related to why learning arduino, raspberryPi and otherwise becoming a maker is so important to people these days, particularly young people trying to establish their credentials for applying to universities or for a job. I originally wrote this as a blog, but think this group might appreciate it. Here ya go:
Becoming a Maker is Not Longer Optional
Unless you happen to live under a rock, you have heard of the maker movement, the phenomenon of passionate geeks who use electronic gizmos like Arduino and RaspberryPi, as well as 3dprinters, to make all sorts of interesting stuff… some of them do it for a living, but many do it for the sheer pleasure of creating something, whether it be drones, simple robots or other fanciful devices. If you have not been to a Maker Faire, do yourself a favor and go to one. We have been to several - we presented at one, attended another as spectators, and we thoroughly enjoyed both experiences.
Makers are animated and highly motivated people, who even if some of them are introverted by nature, use their passion for their projects to transcend their shyness. You wind up meeting more interesting people and having deeper conversations, and learning about cutting edge technologies, than you ever have at a typical meetup… it’s very inspiring!
Until recently, you could afford to dismiss the Maker Movement as an interesting fad. But as its members begin to swell globally, and as it begins to impact how colleges and grad schools evaluate applicants as well as job hunters’ credentials, you ignore it at your career peril. For example, Makers are now being solicited to display their projects, ie., their skills, by institutions as prominent as MIT. (See this article “When Makers Apply to College” by Nexi Oxman, an MIT Media Lab professor and architect and noted 3d printing advocate: http://bit.ly/28JD1Tm.) Profesor Oxman explains MIT’s initiative to invite high school applicants to MIT to include their maker portfolios. The implications here for people purusing highly skilled careers are profound; it signifies that maker credentials are becoming a key part of the evaluation process for highly acclaimed educational institutions like MIT.
Adding maker skills to the college admission equation is a laudable trend. It is directly related to the digital credentialing trend that is also growing in popularity in the educational arena, and which MIT Media Lab is also championing. Specifically, last year, MIT Media Lab launched a digital certificates initiative employing the Blockchain which seeks to implement a better system for recognizing skills students learn in college than is conveyed by a conventional degree (See:“Certificates, Reputation, and the Blockchain” http://bit.ly/28MFwWW, by Phillipp Schmidt,
So, if you want to increase your odds of being accepted to a highly acclaimed institution of higher learning, or you want to build your digital resume to display your unique talents, join a local makerspace like techshop, or join an online one, where you can display and augment your credentials and make interesting new friends in the process.