Netflix is looking for the next star in STEM on the campus of Norfolk State


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Want to be the next Netflix star? Not on the screen, but behind the scenes, with the massive computer systems that keep the streaming service on the air.
Students at NSU will have that chance when they sign up for a new Netflix Virtual HBCU Bootcamp.

Students and recent graduates can sign up online for a free 16-week course in advanced Java programming, applied data science, and user experience and user interface design.

Dr. Patricia Mead, the NSU Engineering Department chair, helped to negotiate the Netflix partnership. “The information that they will go over in the course will be specific to real-world scenarios that Netflix managers and designers and engineers have to deal with,” Mead said.

(Photo Courtesy: NSU)

All majors can apply, including liberal arts majors who may feel intimidated by STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

“One of the things that’s really important about what we are doing is we have very aggressive mentoring and tutoring support.”

(Photo Courtesy: NSU)

The Netflix partnership, its first technology-based program with an HBCU, comes as the streaming service is facing fierce pandemic era competition. Just this week Netflix fell short of its third-quarter expectations for new membership. Additionally, Nexflix in partnership with 2U education is focusing on diversity.

Dr. Mead urges African Americans to enter STEM fields, as minorities are underrepresented in Silicon Valley. “I think it’s seven percent in this particular industry; as a person who used to live in Silicon Valley I can tell you yes, there’s not a lot of us out there,” Mead said.

Netflix is showbusiness, but the training in the 16-week program transfers to all fields including medicine.

(Photo Courtesy: NSU)

Dr. Mead says computer science will play a role in solving the mysteries of the deadly coronavirus.

“Yes absolutely, there’s a branch that might be recognized as machine learning and artificial intelligence, and to the extent that we can help develop technologies that can make sense of all the data that we receive and crunch through it in a quick manner, that is going to make a difference in terms of getting solutions quickly that are [also] effective and reliable,” Mead said.

The free boot camp will accept 130 students and recent graduates for classes that start in January.

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