About I-Stem training program
I-Stem Advanced Technical Training program is a virtual accelerated and thorough computer science training program for blind or visually impaired students who already have basic programming skills such as basic diploma courses or college computer science classes. The program attempts to prepare candidates for the tech industry and provides various tracks such as software engineering, machine learning, web development etc. The tracks are determined keeping mind the evolving trends in the industry, student interest and availability of technical coaches. The objective of the program is to arm students with an in-depth understanding of core computer science concepts so that they are able to compete for technical positions or are prepared to take other more advanced classes that may be of interest to them, while also allowing them an opportunity to develop accessibility solutions for challenges faced in accessing web and mobile apps.
Career coaching and consulting
All students receive individualized coaching to determine what skills they need to develop to be successful in the industry. Post this, an individualized plan is developed to help these students achieve these objectives.
The course content has been integrated with leading MOOCs. I-Stem facilitates students to complete these courses by providing support, mentorship and a community of other students taking the same courses at the same time. The group also provides supplementary material wherever these MOOCs are inaccessible. By completing these courses, students get certificates from some of the best universities and companies in the world such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Microsoft, among others at no cost to them contingent on getting at least a B grade in the course.
Every two students are assigned a coach who is either a student at a top technical university or a professional in the tech industry. This coach helps these students understand the concepts presented in the moocs, answers any questions and provides guidance.
Students join the I-Stem community which is already 100 members strong. As part of the community, there are several opportunities to network with other members, some of whom are successful professionals in the industry.
I-Stem provides an interview preparation package to help students prepare for technical interviews and also conducts mock interviews to give them a feel for the actual interviews.
Invitation to the I-Stem annual event
The annual I-Stem event brings together developers with disabilities, tech professionals from various corporates and computer science students without disabilities. We have organised two such events in 2018 and 2019 with over 140 participants, 5 universities and 11 companies, with many of our participants securing job opportunities immediately after the event. On successful completion of the I-Stem Advanced Technical Training Program, students are automatically eligible to participate in the hackathon which provides for a great opportunity to network with other developers with disabilities and technology professionals from across the country.
Connections with company partners
I-Stem works closely with several corporate partners, and while it is impossible to guarantee placement on the completion of the program, the group strives to facilitate introductions.
Internship opportunities with I-Stem
During and after the course, students will be eligible to work closely with the core I-Stem team and our community on some very interesting technical projects depending on an appropriate skill match.
Who is eligible
Each track has its own eligibility condition. In general, we expect you to meet all the basic prerequisits for pursuing a particular field in computer science (e.g. the machine learning track requires strong analytical and programming skills). We will determine tracks based on your past skills and experiences. In general, anyone who has some experience programming is eligible to apply for the course. In particular, we expect the students to be comfortable with such concepts as branching, loops, functions or methods and basic data structures such as lists and maps. If any of this sounds remote to you, you may want to first complete a basic computer science programming course. Further, this course is intense and requires at least 8 Hrs. effort/week. You should only take this course if you can commit to spending this much time.
The course uses a flipped classroom model. This means that students spend some time reviewing mooc videos ahead of their meeting with their technical coach and use the meeting to ask any questions, clarify doubts and work on hands-on examples. They work on mooc assignments (unless I-Stem replaces an assignment), and get certificates from the world's leading universities and companies if they are able to get at least a B grade in the course.
Registration for the 2020 program are now closed.