The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that by 2020 1.4 million computer science jobs will be available. But unfortunately, only around 400,000 computer science students will be trained to fill them.
This is sad because these computer science skills have become increasingly important in today’s very competitive global economy. There may be some roadblocks that might prevent a school’s ability to incorporate computer science classes into their curriculum making the computer science field receiving less exposure.
Today, very few schools offer computer science classes to students and the College Board has stated that only 9 percent of all schools even offer an AP computer science class. The lack of offerings is figured by the fact that there is a decreased amount of qualified teachers that can engage the students. For the individuals that have a deep knowledge of computer science, they have been taking jobs in the industry. Besides that, students also have become more uninterested in the advanced computer science classes. This is partly due to the misconception that computer jobs are boring and require the employee to be in front of a computer all day.
Because of this misconception student engagement has been at an all time low in comparison to other STEM professions. All of these issues affect computer science’s expansion thereby preventing a student’s ability to receive a good basic computer literacy that will be necessary for all job fields in the future.
The only way to counter these issues is to have schools, communities and industry working together to integrate more computer science in all schools starting from a young age. This will help to encourage more diversity in all technology-related fields as well as ensuring that all students of every ethnic, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds receive the same opportunity in regards to learning these skills.
What is also needed is a more long-term plan which would be better suited to implement more education in computer science. That way computer science can be incorporated into all schools and will prepare students for tomorrow’s computer science jobs. With that said, here are five simple steps that educators, parents and industry can take to help implement them into the classroom.
1. Educators Receiving Professional Development
This is accomplished by teachers registering to take either online or in-person training to learn the basics of computer science and how to integrate the principles into their daily lesson plans.
2. Educate Students Through Career Education
All teachers, parents and schools can easily educate their students about the many career opportunities that are currently available to those who obtain a computer science degree. Although it could entice students to seek employment at Microsoft, Apple or Oracle, educators can explain the benefits of a computer science jobs that are needed in all fields.
3. Offering Many Student Incentives
The main way educators can encourage computer science is by offering extra credit to those who utilize free learning tools online that can easily develop basic computer skills to create a computer science project.
4. Teaming With Industry To Create Mentor Programs
Both industry and teachers can come together to create a mentor program to help encourage and give support to students to learn more about the computer science profession as well as develop and strengthen their skills both inside and outside of the classroom. Either by holding after-school programs or giving co-taught classes.
5. Kid-friendly Coding Apps
Parents can give great tools and support to their kids by having them use coding apps to help develop their child’s confidence related to their ability to problem-solve. Some examples of these coding apps include Scratch or MakeGamesWithUs. Both of which are great tools to have.