Tag Archives: tech

Queens Library announces free coding lessons through online tech portal


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Logo courtesy Queens Library


 

Why pay thousands of dollars for coding classes? Just go to the library.

The Queens Library recently announced its users will have access to Treehouse, a free online interactive education platform that teaches programming languages and how to build websites, so members can obtain more skills and qualify for higher paying jobs.

Through Treehouse, library members will be able to learn how to program a website, create an Android app, and get an introduction to Javascript, Rails, iOS and more.

Users need to have a Queens Library card and account, which are free and available to apply for at any library branch or online for anyone who works, owns property, or goes to school in New York.

The library will also host free Treehouse orientation sessions at the end of May and in June at its Flushing branch and at the Central Library in Jamaica. Dates and times are listed below.

Flushing Branch:  May 30 at 3 p.m.; June 6 at 10 a.m.; June 30 at 3 p.m.

Central Branch:  May 31 at 2 p.m.; June 12 at 10 a.m.

Click here to visit the Treehouse portal.

 

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Cornell Tech campus now accepting applications


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

Applications are now being accepted to be among the first class at Cornell University’s tech campus in New York City.

The highly selective “beta” Cornell NYC Tech class will begin school in Januay; applications for the Masters of Engineering program are due by October 1.

“We’re calling this the ‘beta’ class because these students will help shape the future of this new educational institution,” said Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of the tech campus. “Candidates for the beta class must be future tech leaders, with not only the highest academic credentials but also strong entrepreneurial interests, leadership skills and a passion for community engagement.”

The campus will temporarily be housed in Chelsea, in space donated by Googe, before moving to its permanent Roosevelt Island home in 2017.

“If you are an engineer who wants to live in the best city of the world, the new capital of engineering talent, and the rising star of the technology industry, Cornell NYC Tech offers an exciting new opportunity,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “There’s simply no better place to further your education and launch your career than New York City. Getting in won’t be easy, but if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”

The intensive program in computer science — with a tuition of $43,185 — is a one-year, two-semester, professional degree program designed to enhance practical skills in computer science.

Students will be mentored by both a faculty advisor and an industry coach, and their projects will be connected with New York City companies, nonprofit organizations, or relevant industry-oriented activities, according to the Cornell Tech website.

Additional one-year programs are planned in electrical and computer engineering, information science, and operations research and information engineering.

 

Start-ups flock to Queens


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

Tech start-up companies, escaping steep Manhattan rents and expanding Queens-born businesses, are setting up shop in Long Island City.

“It has a pioneering and innovative spirit,” said Coalition for Queens founder Jukay Hsu of the neighborhood’s energy.

The creator of the non-profit organization, responsible for fostering the tech community in the borough through raising awareness and collaborating with entrepreneurs, said the area’s appeal lies in what’s been here all along: educated personnel and skilled designers.

According to Hsu, the city suffers a shortage of computer scientists, now offset by Queens College, which trains more students in computer sciences than any other school in the metropolitan area. Hsu also said Long Island City’s reputation as a design center attracts tech companies searching for the vital aesthetic element.

A representative from LIC company Plaxall lists the average office space rent at between $15 and $25 per square-foot. According to a representative from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), current Manhattan rates for commercial spaces run around $59 per square-foot.

The Long Island City area is also regarded as a transportation hub, offering quick commutes to other business centers like Midtown Manhattan, Chelsea and the Financial District.

The Queens Tech Meetup, a monthly gathering hosted by the Coalition for Queens – brings together members from the technology community to collaborate in Long Island City.

While newer companies, such as Songza — an online music-listening service — are initiating and growing their businesses in Queens, major companies like Publicis, a worldwide public relations firm, are also migrating to Long Island City spaces.

“It’s about having existing companies grow and it’s about encouraging people to innovate,” said Hsu. “We want to help all these efforts and initiatives.”

Hsu claims the expansion of the technology sphere into Queens will affect not just the technology world, but industries including media and health care as well.

“We hope [the technology boom] can bring Queens and New York into the future,” he said.

Shapeways, a custom 3-D printing company based in Manhattan, is currently in the middle of lease negotiations, on its way to opening a factory in Long Island City. Director of marketing Carine Carmy said the massive space available and city-provided incentives drove Shapeways to move operations to Queens. The company’s distribution center is already located in Hunters Point and Carmy hopes the move will centralize business for its high concentration of east-coast based customers.

“We’ve been thinking about it,” said Carmy of the possibility of Shapeways’ 28th and Park headquarters migrating to LIC. “There are definitely benefits in having our offices more condensed.”

Elias Roman, Queens native and co-founder of Songza, said LIC has always been a top choice as the home base for his “music concierge” company, with proximity to Manhattan and community connectivity as just starting points.

“[Long Island City] has a great, fun start-upy vibe,” said Roman. “It’s exciting to see it grow while you’ve been growing … Theres no better place in the world to be than here.”

New programs to provide more job training for growing tech industry


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy William Alatriste

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, together with the City University of New York (CUNY), the Coalition for Queens and tech industry leaders announced two initiatives to help train more New Yorkers for jobs in the city’s growing technology sector.

One of these initiatives will provide for more tech educational opportunities in Queens. Coalition for Queens, a non-profit that focuses on fostering the technical system in the borough, CUNY, Skillshare, and other leaders in the tech field will provide classes in areas such as computer programming, digital marketing and entrepreneurship at CUNY campuses in the boroughs.

The other initiative, open to current computer science and engineering students at CUNY, is an Advanced Software Development program. It will launch this fall, with 20 students. Every student who completes the program will receive a paid apprenticeship with a New York City tech firm. The Queens classes will also launch in the fall, and the Coalition for Queens will have a full list of classes on its site soon.

The City Council has allocated approximately $101,000 for the CUNY Advanced Software Development Program and $65,000 for Coalition for Queens.

“[These programs] bring employers and academia together to ensure that our schools are preparing students for employment in the tech sector upon graduation,” said Quinn

Currently there are 1,700 digital firms in the city, 932 of which are hiring. Unemployment in the city is 9.6 percent, and there are few other industries where half of the companies are still hiring.

But these jobs require specific training and skills. The two programs will not only help close that skills gap and improve unemployment numbers, but will also help ensure continued growth of the tech sector in New York City, she said. In the last four years, more than 500 tech firms have opened in the city.

One applied science campus, Technion-Cornell, should open by 2017 on Roosevelt Island, and will start offering off-campus classes this fall. It’s estimated that 30,000 to 120,000 tech jobs will grow out of the Cornell campus in the future and much of this will be in Queens, said Coalition for Queens founder, Jukay Hsu.

One of his non-profit’s partners in the initiative is Queens College, which educates more computer scientists than any other school in the metropolitan area. The initiative will provide even more opportunities for high-quality tech education in the borough. “We believe that anyone can gain the skills required to work in the new tech community,” he said.

By offering tech classes through CUNY, more New Yorkers will be able to work in the sector, especially those who can’t afford Cornell, said Quinn.

“We want to make sure those folks have exactly, even if not a better chance, of being leaders in the tech field as anybody else. What’s the answer to that — CUNY,” she said.

The Next Startup Destination: Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY COUNCILMEMBER MARK WEPRIN

With the new technology campus coming to Roosevelt Island, Queens is poised to become a destination for startups. Startups are newly created companies, often technology oriented, with the potential to be the next big Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare.

Why will Queens be the new place for startups? Queens sits adjacent to Roosevelt Island and has plenty of affordable space (in contrast to neighboring Manhattan). When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced in December that Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology had won the bid for a partnership with the city to develop a brand-new applied sciences campus, I knew that the economic impact would be tremendous, not only on Roosevelt Island, but also in nearby Long Island City and in other parts of Queens.

As a member of the City Council’s Economic Development and Technology Committees, I recognize that the tech campus will create tens of thousands of new jobs. It is estimated that about 600 companies will be derived from the tech campus, creating as many as 30,000 additional jobs in startups. Over time, those numbers can escalate.

If we capitalize on the investments that the city and the universities are making, we can render Queens the new tech capital of the world. Though Roosevelt Island will be home to the new science campus, the potential for economic growth extends far beyond the island’s borders. While there will surely be new jobs, housing, and businesses on Roosevelt Island, the spillover effect will bring benefits right into our own backyard. Tech campus graduates, professors, and researchers are likely to set up shop in Queens. They are among today’s most brilliant minds, and they are the kind of people who come up with the transformative ideas that yield business success.

Think of Jet Blue Airways, based in Queens, which started in the late 1990s and quickly brought big changes to the air travel industry. Or take Long Island City’s Silvercup Studios, New York City’s largest full-service film and television production facility, which is contributing to the booming local film industry. When the entrepreneurs are ready to bring their ideas to market, they will set up offices in the downtowns of Long Island City, Flushing, and Jamaica. Long Island City is already home to film and television studios, industrial space, museums, and nightlife; LaGuardia’s two planned dormitories will bring hundreds of young people to the vibrant neighborhood. Downtown Jamaica has a college, cultural institutions, and unrivaled access to public transportation; it is well positioned to accommodate new businesses.

In February, while visiting Israel with several of my Council colleagues, I saw firsthand what has come to be known as the startup nation. It is no secret that Israel is moving forward with an economy that is the place for startups, with the largest number in the world, surpassing even Japan and China. When ambitious individuals start new companies, they provide a boost for the local economy as well as for their own futures. Queens can follow the same path that Israel took to startup stardom.

Innovation once led the United States to the forefront of the world economy, and it can take us there again, with Queens leading the way.

Weprin is a member of the City Council’s Economic Development and Technology Committees