About Explorations

A warm welcome to the WCS Explorations, WCS’s sub-committee to help you with all things technical! We offer frequent workshops to hone your technical skills for classes and personal projects, interview preparation workshops to help you ace your next job interview, and project teams for a chance to work together in groups of about six people (including a project manager) and learn on-the-job skills. We also host the annual female and non-binary only hackathon, Code Ada, in October! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to Darci Peoples or Melissa Chen.

[NEW!] WCS Explorations Book Club

Alongside learning the technical skills that will help our members succeed, book club will be encouraging the developers of the future to consider the history and ethics of computer science. We're kicking off our pilot book club with Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Noble. If you are interested in joining our weekly discussions, which will be taking place synchronously on Zoom every Monday at 5 PM CST and asynchronously on Slack, join the WCS Slack and hop in the #book-club channel. We will be posting the weekly reading schedule, holding asynchronous discussions, and making announcements there.

Project Teams

This year, WCS is hosting eight project teams working on a variety of projects with social good and engineering education applications. From adding new features to existing campus accessibility tools or creating a STEM trivia application, to crafting a racial microaggression detector or imagining new tools to help students stay productive during the pandemic, our project teams are set on taking on some of the greatest challenges posed to our community in 2021. Corporate sponsors: if you are interested in learning more about our student's work or participating in our midpoint or final presentations, please reach out to our corporate committee.

Code Ada

Code Ada is our annual all-female and non-binary hackathon, hosted by Explorations every October/November. For more information on how to get involved as an attendee, mentor, or corporate sponsor, please check out the Code Ada page.

[NEW!] Long-Running Activities

On top of our workshops, we want to ensure that resources are available for students who want to practice their skills continuously. Check out practice activities! More are coming soon.

Activity Title Practice Area

WCS MBTI Board

Github, Git, Version Control

Past Workshops

We regularly hold workshops through the school year to teach skills that we think will be helpful for students in CS and beyond. Check out this list of the workshops we have run in the 2020-2021 school year! If you have any questions about the workshop content or need guidance on the activities, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Date Title Description Slides Activity

September 1, 2020

Git Gud @ Git (for individuals)

Come learn the basics of version control while meeting your peers at our first WCS Explorations workshop of the year!

Slides

Github Repo

September 14, 2020

Tricking Out Your Terminal

Choose your own adventure as you navigate the basics of your terminal in this open-to-all, beginner-friendly workshop led by WCS Explorations!

Slides

Github Repo

October 22, 2020

Hackathons 101

Are you ready for Code Ada 2020? Come to our workshop to learn tips and tricks for being successful at Code Ada and many other hackathons! We'll be going over the details of our event, some of the logistics, and general best practices for hackathon product creation.

Slides

N/A

November 16, 2020

Acing the Behavioral Interview

Learn the essentials of a strong behavioral interview at the first of two WCS Explorations interview workshops! We'll be going over some of the tried and true fundamentals of crafting great responses to behavioral interview questions. At the end, you'll get the chance to practice what you've learned in small groups!

Slides

Worksheet

November 18, 2020

Taking on the Technical Interview

Hone your technical interview skills for algorithmic, systems design, and other types of challenges at the second of two WCS Explorations interview workshops! We'll be going over strategies and preparation techniques for technical interview questions. At the end, you'll get the chance to practice what you've learned in small groups!

Slides

Worksheet

January 14, 2021

Project Management 101

Come learn the skills necessary to be an effective Project Manager in tech! We’ll learn some basic skills needed for project management, including task tracking, roadmapping, people management, and user research.

Slides

N/A

January 28, 2021

Bug Hunting Workshop

Come learn debugging skills that will help you in classes like CS 126 and beyond! We want to save you a lot of hours spent staring at your code wondering what could be wrong by giving you strategies for how to identify and fix errors. We’ll go over techniques like using print statements, breakpoints, unit tests, googling and also advanced topics like using valgrind and gdb. *No bugs were harmed in the making of this workshop 🕊

Slides

Repl or Github Repo

February 3, 2021

Git Gud @ Git (for teams and OS contributors)

Join Illinois WCS and HackIllinois to “git gud” at git! We’ll be going over the major components of version control and how to use it effectively in group and open source projects. The workshop will close with an interactive component for you to try out your new skills in small groups. This would be a great chance to brush up on your git skills before HackIllinois’ Open Source Fellowship!

Slides

Github Repo

Project Resources