Coding boot camp to launch at UC San Diego Extension

55430675_mUC San Diego Extension’s first coding boot camp, where students train for careers as full-stack web developers in just 24 weeks, will begin this winter at Extension’s University City Center campus.

The Coding Boot Camp at UC San Diego Extension is an intensive, part-time program structured around the schedules of working professionals and full-time students. Two three-hour evening classes will be held during the week with a four-hour class set for each Saturday. The program will run from Jan. 24, 2017 through July 8, 2017.

“UC San Diego Extension is excited to bring this program to the San Diego market,” said Svetislav Maric, director of technology at UC San Diego Extension. “There is virtually no area of our lives that hasn’t been affected by the internet and because of this, the need for technology expertise will only continue to grow.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks web development among the world’s fastest-growing professions, with the job market on track to expand by as much as 27 percent through 2024. According to CBRE Group, San Diego ranks 16th among tech talent markets in the United States and Canada.

“Each year in the United States there are about 50,000 tech jobs that can’t be filled,” said Maric. “We are hoping to help shrink that number by offering this program to motivated and hardworking people in the San Diego community.”

In addition to discussion and collaboration in the classroom, students will also work on outside projects with participating area businesses. These projects will be part of their professional project portfolio and will serve as a powerful tool in helping participants land a job after the course.

While previous training or experience isn’t required, applicants should have some knowledge of coding basics.

The course covers coding and data structure fundamentals, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Node.js, jQuery, Java, MongoDB and more – all the skills they need to develop dynamic end-to-end web applications. Students also will have access to career-planning services, including portfolio reviews, demo days, recruiting assistance and extensive staff support.

“A career in web development puts you right in the middle of a digital revolution,” said Maric. “It is an in-demand career that is also filled with creative projects that help improve companies and communities. For the right person, The Coding Boot Camp at UC San Diego Extension can be the perfect starting point to an amazing path as a web developer.”

To learn more about The Coding Boot Camp at UC San Diego Extension, visit Students can apply online or by calling (858) 519-8997.

50 Voices of the Future: Todd Hylton on the rise of robotics

50v_toddhyltonIn honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

San Diego has the potential to become what scientist Todd Hylton calls “Robot Valley.” Hylton, executive director of UC San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute, believes the region has all the ingredients to become the nation’s leader in robotic innovations: great universities, a critical mass of private researchers and a fantastic location. Hylton has been working in robotics and related technologies for many years – most recently at the San Diego startup Brain Corporation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) before that. He predicts dramatic near-term advances in the way robots impact our daily lives, from how we drive to how we maintain our health. One day, he says, there might even be a widespread demand for so-called “humanoids” – robots that look like people. How humans might respond to a world filled with humanoids is, of course, anyone’s guess. “If the robot is not too human, people like it,” Hylton says. “If the robot is very, very human, people like it. If it’s in-between, it seems creepy.”

Why is the work you do important?

There are lots of practical needs in which robots or intelligent machines could make a big difference. Consider just the example of health care. As people get older, we’d like to help prevent falls. Having a house that’s smart enough turn on the lights for you, a walker that’s smart enough to come to you and tell you when you’re about to step over something, a machine that can look at the way you’re walking and try to anticipate that you might be having problems and alert caregivers or medical personnel – all of these things seem within our grasp but they’re not yet available.

What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

Perhaps the most exciting one is the rebirth of artificial intelligence in some new forms. You can see it everywhere. Self-driving cars, for example. These cars are going to have all these artificial-intelligence abilities on board that will enable them to do the things they need to do to drive themselves. Sensors and computing hardware and a lot of pieces you need to build robots have gotten really cheap. Also, some of the advanced sensors, the laser sensors, are coming down in cost, too, as the volumes go up, driven by applications like cars and other things. So there’s a lot of cool stuff going on. Of course, we do worry about robots displacing humans in various jobs. In the Robotics Institute at UC San Diego, it’s not simply an engineering-driven institute; it’s a collaboration of engineering and the division of social sciences. We need to be conscious of how the robots are going to influence and interact with the humans. That’s where the social scientists live, that’s their work. There are challenges going forward if we are able to automate much of the work we do now, which is what technology essentially always does. Historically, people have always reorganized themselves in a way where the technology provides tools that make them more capable. One would, of course, like the disruption to be as modest and the transition as smooth as possible. We certainly worry about those things.

What’s the next big thing?

The next big thing in the field of robotics is robots that have a more complex understanding of their world and that develop a larger understanding of the context of the environment that they live in. And that includes things that happen over a long period of time. They don’t do that now. And that’s partly why we named the institute the Contextual Robotics Institute. The idea is that the robot needs to understand the context of the situation it’s in.

How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

We would like San Diego to become Robot Valley. We’re working very hard to engage people outside the university. A large fraction of my job is finding industry partners, creating research partnerships with them, and making sure that we are educating the kind of people that they’ll want to hire. There are quite a few companies in the area, small and large, working in the field, so a large part of what I’m trying to do is stitch those pieces together. We have all the parts here – we’ve got the great universities, we’ve got the intellectual capital, we’ve got the industry around it, we have a great location. So we have as good a shot of doing it as anybody.

Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?

We’ll have machines that work in the real world without humans having to tell them what to do all the time. We can have cars that talk to each other, that pick us up, that talk to the airplane to tell us when we can get on the airplane. We’ll have sensors that tell us, your blood pressure’s too high so you need to change your diet. There’s so much low-hanging fruit that it’s sometimes hard to figure out where to start.

Hylton recently shared his insights into the rise of robotics at the Game Changer lecture that was put on by Collaboratory for Downtown Innovation (CDI), which is a partnership between UC San Diego and the Downtown San Diego Partnership. The mission of CDI is to build stronger connections between tech entrepreneurs in Downtown San Diego and UC San Diego and other research institutions on the Torrey Pines Mesa. You can find out more here.

An app a day creates jobs that pay: Software developers

49118170 - startup business people group working everyday job  at modern office

In a world where it appears that there is, in fact, an app for that and everything in between, it should be no surprise that the people who can create those applications are in strong demand.

This well-placed hunch was confirmed by UC San Diego Extension’s recent “Emerging Careers for 2016” report, which detailed the hottest jobs with the highest growth potential for recent college grads. In the report, application software developer was the sixth most in-demand job in San Diego and was the No. 1 job nationally.

While successful software developers are often thought of as loner techie types, it is a career that requires a combination of equal parts computer savvy and creative talent as well as the ability to thrive in a team setting. That’s because it is an entire team that is usually in charge of creating an app, shepherding it from the concept stage to a functioning, glitch-free application.

It’s also a job that requires complex problem solving as well as strong judgment and decision making skills, said Robert Campbell, lead software engineer at National Credit Center.

“It’s not just programming; it’s about having the analytical skills to recognize what’s actually happening and then coming up with new ways to address those issues,” he said.

The demand for software developers in the applications space is strong with an expected national growth rate of almost 19 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is far higher than most other careers. It is also a male-dominated field with only about 18 percent of all software developers being women. In addition, software developers tend to be younger with around 64 percent under the age of 44. Those numbers should be no surprise because while women receive 57 percent of all bachelor’s of science degrees, they represent only 18 percent of the computer science degrees awarded.

Still, the compensation for these software developer jobs should be enticing to anyone as the median annual salary on a national level is $90,060 and the top 10 percent of software developers make $138,880 a year.

While the money might be good, Campbell said it is imperative to truly love work, which is both detail-oriented and time-consuming.

“If you get into this field, you really need to make sure that you like software development,” he said. “I see those who are in it for a paycheck, and they don’t last long.”

To see the full Emerging Careers report, please visit

UC San Diego Extension partners with PharmaSUG to bridge academics and industry


Some people see data as just numbers and figures, but turning large amounts of information into knowledge you can use is imperative to business success.

As the leader in business analytics software, Statistical Analysis Systems (SAS) helps organizations access and transform large amounts of data into insights and facts that can be used in the discovery of new and exciting opportunities. The software has applications in a variety of industries, including research, project management, quality improvement, forecasting and decision-making.

Bridging academics and industry, UC San Diego Extension has partnered with the Pharmaceutical Industry SAS Users Group, PharmaSUG, to host a single-day event on October 21, 2016. PharmaSUG consists of professionals worldwide in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries who use SAS software in their work. The non-profit’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for the exchange of information and the promotion of new ideas concerning the use of SAS software as it relates to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

psugPharmaSUG attracts the best SAS practitioners from around the country and allows participants – both professionals and students – to learn from industry experts on clinical analytic and health outcomes.

Rob Howard, CEO of Veridical Solutions, who also serves as an executive committee member of PharmaSUG and is a UC San Diego Extension instructor, said San Diego is a prime location to host this event because of its position as a leader in the health care and pharmaceutical industries.

“PharmaSUG wants to target hot areas of industry like the research triangle in North Carolina and here in San Diego because of its large presence in the pharmaceutical industry,” Howard said.

The growing utility of SAS has earned itself a top spot on the ‘must have’ list of skills for jobs across several fields, which translates into a high demand for SAS trained professionals.

UC San Diego Extension offers certificates in SAS programming and biostatistics, two fields in which statistical analysis is imperative to professional success. The SAS Programming certificate provides training for those seeking to gain a deep understanding of the powerful statistical language, and the industry neutral curriculum allows for students to apply knowledge to their field of interest. In addition, the Biostatistics certificate emphasizes the application of statistical techniques to the analysis of clinical data, which is important in such fields as medical imaging, ecological forecasting and statistical genetics.


“SAS has a global reach with broad applications, and this event will give students good exposure to the industry by interacting with sponsors and vendors,” said Howard.

Cindy Hanson, associate director of strategic initiatives and outreach at UC San Diego Extension, expressed the significance of UC San Diego Extension hosting this event.

“Many of our academic advisory board members and instructors are key players in PharmaSUG community, thereby reinforcing the need for Extension to provide a platform for this event,” she said. “We are honored that we could join forces with PharmaSUG by opening our campus for this worthwhile event.”

PharmaSUG single day event sign up


50 Voices of the Future: Lori Alexander on the boom in research and medical writing


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Most kids don’t dream of a career as a medical writer. Instead, many fall into medical writing while following an alternate pathway. Some are scientists who prefer writing about medical research rather than conducting it while others start with a passion for writing and realize science is a topic they enjoy writing about. Lori Alexander, president of Editorial Rx, Inc., followed the latter path. “From as early as I can remember, I loved to write, and it didn’t matter what it was about. I then became fascinated with medicine when I started working in a community hospital. I had no idea there was a field out there where I could blend my two loves into one career.” Today, the field is more recognized, but still, medical communication is not a field that is well represented at school career fairs. Programs such as the one at UC San Diego Extension are helping to bring medical communication into the forefront.

 (1) Why is the work you do important?

My work—and the work of all medical communicators—is important because clear communication is essential to scientific research and to meaningful patient-physician interactions. My two primary areas of medical writing are continuing medical education for health care professionals and education for people with cancer. Continuing Medical Education is essential for improving the knowledge and skills of health care professionals and thus enhancing health outcomes for patients. The educational resources I develop help people better understand their disease and treatment options, which in turn helps them to make more informed health care decisions. Across medical writing settings, the goals are the same: to create clear medical communications that lead to better health and well being. In fact, this goal is the vision statement for the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA).

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

So many exciting things are happening right now in medical communication, and they’re related to unprecedented growth in medical research and publishing, changes in the stakeholders in the health care arena, and advances in technology. These developments are helping to create more and varied opportunities for medical communicators. The growth in medical research is reflected in the explosion in the number of clinical trials being conducted, which has increased from 25,858 in 2006 to more than 225,000 this year. Many medical writers are involved with developing the required documentation for the trials and the approvals of new drugs, as well as with writing reports on the trial results and implications. The number of scientific and medical journals is also increasing exponentially—about 2.5 million science, technology, and medicine articles are published each year. Medical writers and editors are needed to help prepare these manuscripts. Increasing discussions about the value and cost of medical products also is leading to new opportunities for medical writers in such areas as health economics and outcomes research, technology assessments and comparative effectiveness research.

Social media is also making its mark as it is changing how medical writers communicate with each other, how researchers communicate with each other, and how research is conveyed to various audiences. These developments not only increase the demand for medical writers but also call for medical writers and editors to enhance their knowledge in science and medicine as well as strengthen their writing skills. The Medical Writing Certificate Program at UC San Diego Extension is an excellent way for scientists to forge a pathway to these exciting opportunities.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

I think the next big thing is certification for medical writers because it provides a way for medical writers to legitimize what they do. American Medical Writers Association developed the first (and only) credentialing program for medical writers, and the examination is based on first-of-its-kind research into the key areas of knowledge, skills and abilities required of medical writers. Certification gives employers a way to feel confident in the credibility of medical writers who have earned this credential. Certification also raises the standard for medical writers and thus increases the need for educational programs to help scientists and others gain the core competencies needed for a career in medical writing.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

The San Diego region is home to hundreds of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and California has large health care systems and a strong commitment to medical research. Medical writers and editors can help these industries further advance their goals.

(5) Hop in to your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Medical communication will ride into the future along with medicine and health care. Physicians predict that technology will dramatically affect how people are treated in the next 50 years and medical communicators will need to keep pace with ways to make data actionable. How do we gather and interpret massive amounts of health data and turn that into information that helps scientists and patients alike? Also, as researchers gain a better understanding of the underlying biology and molecular bases of diseases, the field of personalized medicine will continue to grow. These advances mean that medical communicators will need strong critical thinking and communication skills to translate complex concepts into easily understood content.

clinicaltrialsLori Alexander, president of Editorial Rx, Inc., teaches Introduction to Medical Writing at UC San Diego Extension, which is part of the Professional Certificate in Medical Writing.

Photo credit (Lori Alexander’s image): Cindy Cone Photography

50 Voices of the Future: Tam O’Shaughnessy on STEM education


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

As Carl Sagan once said, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology in which no one knows anything about science and technology.” Tam O’Shaughnessy, co-founder of Sally Ride Science and executive director of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego, has worked for years to remedy that situation. As a career scientist and educator, she emphasizes the need to empower all students—especially girls and young women—to become scientifically literate and to master skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

(1) Why is the work you do important?

The work of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego is important because our society depends on STEM. We need to make sure all students are literate in STEM so they can make informed decisions about their lives—their health, their communities and our planet.

Eighty percent of the fastest growing jobs in America require knowledge and skills in math and science. Our future engineers, software developers and data scientists need STEM skills, yet the workforce in these crucial jobs does not reflect who we are in America. Even though women make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, only 28 percent are employed in STEM fields. Historically underrepresented groups—Hispanics, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives—make up 26 percent of the U.S. adult population, but they account for only 10 percent of the workers in STEM jobs.

Science advances and grows when people from all parts of our society contribute. We face huge challenges—where will we get enough sustainable energy? How will we curb emissions of greenhouse gases? How can we contain disease epidemics? The solutions will come from science. We need to make sure we are tapping into the talents and creativity of women and men from all backgrounds to overcome those obstacles.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

STEM is at the forefront of the education policy discussion these days. Educators, parents, lawmakers and corporate America understand the need for a STEM-literate citizenry, and they are taking steps toward that goal. There is a critical mass of people building on what research and classroom experience show works best in STEM education. This includes improving teacher preparation and establishing consistent standards and curricula across states.

When we achieve excellence in science classrooms, teaching and learning are dynamic. Students work cooperatively to share ideas and participate in discussions. They make predictions and talk through explanations, evidence and relationships between hypotheses and data. Students review and evaluate their own knowledge and revise their ideas based on new information. In an excellent science classroom, students are immersed in doing science as it is done by real scientists.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

The next big things are equity and excellence—in STEM education and, in turn, in STEM fields. Our society will reap countless benefits if we enable all students to be their authentic selves. We need to provide excellent educational opportunities for everyone regardless of gender, race, cultural or ethnic background, disabilities, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Making sure that all students receive an excellent STEM education will play an enormous role in shaping the future of San Diego and the nation. Equity and excellence in STEM education will impact everything from productivity and prosperity to innovation and quality of life. STEM literacy empowers people to make informed decisions in their personal lives—selecting nutritious foods, evaluating options for medical treatment or adopting environmentally responsible habits. STEM literacy also enables people to weigh competing arguments and reach valid conclusions on issues facing our society. An understanding of basic STEM concepts prepares young people for the future by developing critical thinking skills that are invaluable in any field of study and in any career.

Not all students want to pursue advanced degrees. There are opportunities in STEM for everyone. For example, half of all STEM jobs don’t require a four-year degree. These jobs pay an average of $53,000, which is 10 percent higher than non-STEM jobs with similar education requirements.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Fifty years from now, equity and excellence in STEM education will be realized. This is a lofty view of the future, but based on the progress we are making, we can achieve this goal. When we create a STEM-literate citizenry—and all that it entails—our country will be stronger socially and economically. Individuals, nonprofit organizations and companies can help realize this future by supporting their communities’ efforts to improve STEM education based on our current knowledge of how children and adults learn.

We invite you to more about Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego and other Pre-College programs that we offer at UC San Diego Extension.

50 Voices of the Future: Scott Robinson on human-centered design


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

When it comes to design, Scott Robinson thinks Frank Lloyd Wright said it best: “Form follows function—that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”  As the founder, president and CEO of FreshForm, an experiential branding agency, Robinson takes that advice to heart, leveraging human-centered design principles to grow and differentiate brands in today’s ever-changing digital landscape, including Acura, Honda, Ballast Point, Facebook, Intel, ExxonMobil, Qualcomm and University of San Diego. Robinson has been in the field of design and marketing for nearly 20 years and at the helm of FreshForm since 2001 and remains intensely passionate about the intersection of marketing, design, technology, innovation and consumer behavior in the digital age.

(1) Why is the work you do important?
Human-centered design is a creative approach to solving both large- and small-scale problems and is at the heart of what we do at FreshForm. I’m an advocate for design and what it provides as a competitive advantage for growth-oriented companies, organizations and institutions. At FreshForm, we combine design and technology to create what we call “experiential branding.” Good design matters because it helps alleviate frustrations, allows for efficiency, creates an emotional connection and can positively influence behavioral change.

At the community level, I’m involved with two important initiatives. One is called the Design Forward Alliance, which is an advocacy group promoting the value of design. Don Norman, the director of the Design Lab at UC San Diego, was the catalyst for the organization and an active advisor. The other initiative is the San Diego Brand Alliance, spearheaded by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, which is helping craft a global brand for the region.

(2) What are the influential/exciting development happening in your field now and why?
I’m excited about the recent push to advance design education. Design thinking, which is a subset of human-centered design, is finding its way into K-12 and universities across the country. The newly opened Ideate High Academy in Downtown San Diego has a mission is to provide a rich, design thinking–based curriculum for creative high school pupils that incorporates student-centered learning, interdisciplinary challenges, college preparation, internships, empathic social responsibility and innovative thinking for the 21st Century. The Design Lab at UC San Diego is creating an exciting, vibrant design community that pervades the campus, cutting across disciplines, developing cross-campus projects, combining practice with theory. And the University of Texas hired Doreen Lorenzo to oversee a campus-wide initiative to integrate design thinking into the curriculum across the university. All of these institutions are developing a new breed of designers and innovators.

(3) What’s the next big thing?
I’m curious how design can (and will) impact artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). These are two areas that will change our lives drastically in the next decade. Can we design AI to be more empathetic? Can we be connected emotionally to the IoT devices in our homes and offices? The key is designing for hyper-personalization and contextual awareness.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?
San Diego is at an interesting and exciting time. The energy and optimism today is like nothing I’ve ever felt growing up here in San Diego. Design will be at the center of how the future will be shaped. Our choice is whether we embrace good design for our region or not. In the next 50 years, our population will grow by nearly 40 percent, which will mostly be coming from local growth. Due to climate change and rising sea levels, we could be one of the most impacted regions in the country. How we adapt to these factors is up to us. Human-centered design can bring together cross-disciplinary experts to work through ideas and prototype solutions to some of these major initiatives. Design can be the common thread — regardless of the challenge we face.

(5) Hop in to your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?
I see two futures – one that is well-designed and one that is not. In 50 years, a well-design future allows for technology to scale as rapidly as it needs to, but our lives are better and less frustrating because of it. A well-designed future allows health care to be more personal and thoughtful, more predictive, preventative and accessible. A well-designed future allows autonomous vehicles to alleviate many accidents, and increase the speed and comfort in our travels. A well-designed future allows for our homes, streets and neighborhoods to embrace smarter technologies, while also making them more secure. A well-designed future allows for us to preserve the natural beauty of this region and this earth, while finding new ways to support the growth and expansion of humanity and technology.

Alternatively, a future that is not well-designed will create a world that is much more visibly and functionally complex and frustrating.

UC San Diego Extension offers a variety of design-related certificate programs and courses each quarter, as well as year-long intensive program in Graphic and Web Design. Learn more in an online information session.

50 Voices of the Future: Thad Kousser talks politics and data


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Nowadays political scientists are able to study and analyze more data than at any time in human history, with social-media sites and the rest of the internet offering a treasure trove of information about human behavior and its influence on politics. Such massive amounts of information can be overwhelming, according to Thad Kousser, chair of UC San Diego’s Department of Political Science. One of the profession’s biggest challenges, he says, is figuring out how to make sense of all this data in meaningful ways. He’s confident that the future’s best political scientists will take the same approach of today’s best practitioners: they will come up with compelling theories, find creative ways to test those theories – and follow the facts wherever those facts might lead.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

The political world is becoming more and more confusing, dynamic and high-stakes. Our challenges is understanding both the primal political instincts that have always motivated voters and candidates and how those translate into the new political world that we live in, which is increasingly online and high-tech. That’s what makes being in this field interesting.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

Our department is trying to make sure we use smart analysis, shaped by rigorous theory, to attack the massive data sets being created by the internet. One colleague of mine at UC San Diego worked with Facebook to run an election experiment involving millions of people, which showed clearly that you’re more likely to vote if you find out that your social-media connections also voted. One of our new UC San Diego colleagues has done work on which blogs are censored in China and found that if you want to oppose the government, that’s ok. But if you want to mobilize people to get together against the government, that’s what they’ll censor. And she found this by analyzing millions of blogs that were censored and then ran a similar experiment where they put up lots of different kinds of blogs to see which ones would get taken down by the great firewall. So if you say, hey, I don’t like what the government’s going, they’ll leave that up. But if you say, hey, let’s all get together on a street corner to protest it, they’ll take that down. The point of all this is that gathering data is no longer the challenge. Making sure we learn about politics through that data is the challenge.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

Students coming to us over the next ten to twenty years are going to have such strong STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) backgrounds. They’re going to take this big leap forward in their ability to scrape the web, to use artificial intelligence, to quickly code and categorize data. We want to make sure political science is relevant to students and allows them to use those analytical skills to learn about and shape the political world. Also, we want to make sure we’re asking the right questions with all these massive data sets and high-powered tools.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

San Diego is at a time of major demographic transition that will lead to political transition. We have colleagues who are running surveys near the border. We have colleagues sending students out to internships throughout the city in political and community groups. We have a lot of scholars working with community non-profits to figure out how to turn out voters who are new to the country and new to the political process. Those are the ways that our discipline and our department will try to play a role in shaping San Diego.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

There will be new statistical techniques and new data sets that I can’t imagine. But what I hope is that they’ll be combined with what our discipline has always done well, which is immerse yourself in real political contexts so you can get a sense for how the political world works, then come up with hypotheses you put at risk with research where you can either confirm or disprove your hypothesis. That’s what makes political science a true science.

Thad Kousser is one of the panelists in an upcoming discussion featuring Scott Lewis (Voice of San Diego Editor-in-Chief) and Laura Fink (professional political consultant) and is being moderated by Washington editor-at-large for The Atlantic, Steve Clemons. A kickoff event for this year’s Politifest, the panel will examine how this year’s presidential election is fundamentally reshaping the political process at every level of government – national, state, and local – both now and into the future.

50 Voices of the Future: Reid Carr on the destiny of digital marketing


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Reid Carr’s life goal is happiness and work fulfillment – not just for him, but for his employees and the consumers he markets to. Carr is the president and CEO of Red Door Interactive, a San Diego-based marketing firm which also has offices in Carlsbad and Denver.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

I love understanding consumers and I love the psychology of it all and the tactics and putting plans together and that sort of thing. It’s highly engaging work. It’s creative, it’s inspiring – being at an agency and working with lots of different companies and understanding where their challenges are and what they’re trying to overcome.

I think that translates well to the people who work with me at Red Door. I think it’s what the company is built to do, just have a good day at work. I think it creates growth. I think it creates a lot of opportunity for people, which is important to the community at large because we can then serve the greater good with what we learn. A lot of us serve on community boards and non-profit boards. I think we’ve learned a lot of things that can apply to helping to make the world better.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

It’s called mixed reality – which is augmented reality and virtual reality. Augmented reality is this mix of the real world and virtual world. You can hold up a phone, for example, and the phone layers on stuff with the real world and puts virtual stuff on top of it so you could see what a house might look on a piece of property that’s actually still just a landscape, and the house doesn’t yet exist.

Another example of this is teaching someone, somewhere where they don’t have access to the equipment we have here, like how to perform a surgery, or how to fix a car. You can actually see that this thing should go there and the thing may not exist, but you would see where it would go and you would see it in practical real world vision and manipulation.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

Again, it’s all about mixed reality. What that will do in retail in the physical world is theoretically you can try things on, you can see your new room – like if you stand in the middle of the room – and see what your room might look like if you bought all this furniture or rearranged it in certain ways. Or what your house might look like as it’s being constructed in a certain area, looking and seeing what it might look like completed despite not having all the things there yet.

(4) How big of an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

San Diego is just in this fascinating place that I don’t know that people recognize what our potential is relative to that world. We’ve got the huge prevalence of mobile, with Qualcomm. We’re the birthplace of analytics in many ways; Google Analytics was created here by a company called Urchin. You’ve got mapping the human genome here as a form of analytics.

We’re in this really unique area of the world with some really unique talent. We’re sitting within all of that, as the conduit to put the pieces together. The talent we have access to and the things that we have access to, I think we’re in a really exciting and interesting place to do all of that.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Where we’re at now with our expectations is, “I can have that item delivered to me within a day, two days, with time I should have it tomorrow,” type of thing.

The future expectation will be: “As soon as I think of it, I want it now.” So you’re able to say, “Yeah, I really love that pair of shoes,” and have them printed for you right then and there.

It’s hard to wrap our head around what that’s going to be like, but we need that spirit of creativity, that hopefully I believe will still live on, and give people the right message at the right place and the right time that motivates the kind of behaviors and impulses that we want.

Learn more about the future of marketing as Reid Carr imagines it, as well as the future of data science, in a range of courses and programs offered by UC San Diego Extension including Predictive AnalyticsWeb Analytics, Front End Web Development, Marketing, and User Experience (UX) Design.

50 Voices of the Future: Neal Bloom on finding the perfect job


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

In a few short years, technology has revolutionized the way we doing so many things, whether it be dating, hailing a cab, or finding a place to stay on a trip. Technology is also changing our job-search techniques. We used to rely on networking and a good résumé. Now we can use various websites that sift through billions of bits of data to help match our skill sets with the right employer. Neal Bloom believes new technology such as artificial intelligence will play a larger and larger role in helping us advance our careers. Bloom recently helped establish the San Diego office of Hired, Inc., a website that helps match employers with job candidates. He describes himself as someone who is “energized by helping others discover their calling.” In the future, he says, finding the perfect job, like finding your soul mate, will be a task made ever more precise by science.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

I think technology, mixed together with job creation, is really powerful. It’s giving people access to companies they never thought they’d work for.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

The rise of Uber, Airbnb, online dating sites – algorithmic matching. This also applies to job recruiting. We’re in the third generation of HR technology. The first generation was Monster, job boards. The second was LinkedIn. Third generation is curated matching – the next best thing that’s happening. Computers are learning from recruiters how to judge talent. This is saving a lot of time on both sides. I see that on-demand mixed with (artificial intelligence) and algorithmic matching – that is driving a lot of hiring.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

With these new recruiting models being put to use in the hiring world, they’re starting with a pretty small field – the engineering world, mainly white-color workers. I think these models need to move faster and apply to everyone, from coal miners up to executives, CEOs. That’s where things are in the lab being tested right now, technology-wise. It’s obviously business-driven, so the places you can make more money is where the technology goes first. Engineers come with a higher salary than, say, a cleaning person. But either way, the whole goal is to find someone their dream job. And that’s where the technology should be headed. I see it going that way. I just think it needs more widespread adoption.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

I specifically brought Hired to San Diego to help companies in San Diego grow and grow faster. The talent in San Diego is great, especially on the engineering side. I wholeheartedly believe that using this technology will help bring the right talent to San Diego.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

People are staying in jobs less amount of time. And people are taking on more either remote work or side work – they call them side hustles, side gigs. So I foresee that in the future, you may not be looking for careers. You may be looking for the perfect place to apply your skill sets for some money for a limited amount of time. People will be much more flexible.

Learn more about the future of HR as Neal Bloom imagines it, as well as the future of data science, in a range of courses and programs offered by UC San Diego Extension, including the Human Resource Management Certificate, the Talent Acquisition Certificate, Data Analysis & Mathematics Courses and the HR LearnAbout Tour.