John Besche

The student-run computer science education group “HackYale” hosted a CS and statistics literacy workshop on Sunday, where students discussed key terminology as part of its year-long series of extracurricular CS outreach.

Founded in 2011, HackYale teaches other students various topics and tools in software development, with an emphasis on real-world applications. The initiative’s director, Dalya Dickstein ‘20, recently rebooted the initiative after a year-long hiatus, and the group has sponsored workshops in programming HTML, Bash and Java over the past school year.

“I decided there was a need to teach CS especially to people who don’t know about it but are interested. So for example, one of the main things I’m doing right now is Java for non-majors series of workshops,” Dickstein said. “Tons of people signed up.”

Simon Mendelsohn ‘20 led Sunday’s workshop, defining a variety of computer science terms that he said “you might not learn in one day of a CS class but are worth knowing.” Dickstein, who teaches a Java for non-majors course at HackYale, oversaw a review of what she taught in previous sessions.

Mendelsohn identified the range of commonly used programming languages such as HTML, Python and C++ and explained the specific uses of each one. Attendees of Sunday’s workshop came from both STEM and Humanities backgrounds.

Andy Ma ‘21, an attendee, told the News that HackYale would supplement his pre-med education.

“No matter what you do, it’s always good to have some basic understanding of CS and how things work,” he said. “Maybe it can inspire me to be interested in biotechnology as well. Any traditional field like medicine is basically revolutionized by CS. I found this really interesting and helpful.”

Dickstein clarified that HackYale is not only for people with no experience but also for those who want to share their knowledge of CS and supplement the CS department’s offerings. Mendelsohn, one of the organizers, noted that “not everyone should be a programmer but everyone should learn some basic skills. I want people to see these terms and not be scared but to think ‘Hey, I know something about that and I feel comfortable googling it.’”

In response to the popularity of the programming workshops, HackYale plans to launch a series for people with more experience in coding. Dickstein intends to gear the new initiative toward people who had taken CS50 but wanted a more advanced understanding of the object oriented nature of coding through Java.

The next Java for non-majors session will be Sunday, Feb. 3.

John Besche | john.besche@yale.edu .

Clarification: A previous version of this article implied that CS50 teaches Java, when in fact, Java is not part of its curriculum.