Computer Science Academy students learn about QAD, before their one-on-one job shadow. (Santa Barbara High Computer Science Academy )

Santa Barbara High School Computer Science Academy students recently had the chance to visit local businesses and shadow a computer-science professional for half a day, through the new CSA job shadow program.

Students visited professionals at participating organizations Appfolio, Deckers, FastSpring, Karl Storz, Novacoast, Procore and QAD.

“It’s important to us that the Computer Science Academy provides students with a first-hand look at the real world of computer science,” said Richard Johnston, academy director.

“Students already learn about possibilities through our lunchtime speaker series and field trips, but one-on-one job shadows makes it even more personal and real,” he said.

Organizations reached out to their employees to find out who would be willing to share their work with a student for a few hours.

Students researched their companies and the employees they would be shadowing, so they could consider what questions they wanted to ask during the visits.

As well as the one-on-one job shadows, Novacoast, Deckers and QAD also organized special talks with key people in their companies and gave students advice and insights into computer science professions.

FastSpring had students visit during a Sprint planning meeting, which gave them insights into the collaborative aspects of software development and how teams work together.

Karl Storz Endoscopy provided students with a tour of their endoscopy design and manufacturing facilities.

Procore Technologies organized a Q&A panel with six professionals to discuss their career paths and the kinds of skills/education Procore looks for.

“I’m so pleased that there are so many organizations and professionals in the area willing to open their doors and spend their time with our students,” said Paula Cassin, the CSA Job Shadow organizer and board member at CSA Foundation.

“It was amazing. I can’t wait to expand this next year and involve even more students and local companies. The experience opens their eyes to what’s possible in computer science,” she said.

To learn more about the CS Academy, visit

— Felicia Kashevaroff for Santa Barbara High School Computer Science Academy.