Are Students Prepared for a Career in Computers?

AlexanderLakhanpalLeave it to Google to discover that American schools are not preparing young students for their future – a future in which many of them will be looking for jobs in a computer-related field.

Wired magazine ran a disheartening piece that looked at the seeming lack of awareness schools have regarding the modern job landscape. Schools in the US have apparently decided that there just isn’t the demand for computer science. This despite Gallup polls showing the opposite, that parents want their kids to learn to code, to program, starting at a young age. In a poll organized by Google, less than 50% of school leaders reported that their school boards want computer science education. How could this be true??

Start Them Early

Early exposure is critical in beginning to develop skills that will translate into careers. Students who took computer classes were more inclined to be interested in computer science in college. This is something we should be aiming for – jobs in computing are growing at double the rate of other jobs. In five years, there will be one million NEW computer science jobs created. Will American graduates have the skills to fill them all?

What’s Stopping Us?

It seems that in-fighting and bickering is getting in the way from what the data is telling us – that putting young students on a path of computer education is critical for their careers. That Americans want coding in the classroom.

If school administrators are right, and there isn’t enough money to support these programs – give them more! If teachers and students alike don’t have time because of all the standardized testing that has to be prepped – change the way that works! And if there aren’t enough qualified teachers to administer the curriculum, then jumpstarting a computer education initiative is more imperative than the article even lets on.

Google’s RISE Grants Seek to Change These Stats

Say what you will about Google, but the work they’re doing here is hugely beneficial to the country. Their RISE program gives awards in the forms of grants to groups that promote computer science literacy around the world, with a strong focus on women the poor, and minorities. With only half of principals reporting that their schools offer computer science classes at all, this is obviously a needed program.

According to program manager Hai Hong of Google’s K-12 education outreach,“If we’re trying to address existing disparities and access, we need the rigorous research to understand what the landscape of computer science even looks like.”