A poll that surveyed 15,000 students, teachers, parents, principals, and superintendents around the United States about the importance of computer science revealed something interesting: while kids and parents think preparation for a career in computer science is vital, administrators don’t agree.
Google spent a year and a half on the Gallup poll and found that while ninety percent of parents believe that computer science should be an integral part of their children’s education, only 7% of administrators think there’s a high demand for that kind of education. Many schools do not offer and kind of programming or coding classes, and even fewer offer advanced placement classes in those areas. The rub, apparently, is that schools don’t have a lot of room for student activities that aren’t going to be tested.
Yet the job growth in the technology sector is exploding, and at a much higher rate than in any other industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 1 million more computer science jobs in the field than can be filled by 2020. That’s a lot of jobs that the labor force might not be able to fill without computer science being better integrated into school curricula.
A good way to create more opportunity for students to get into computer science is to educate them about it early. If kids have more chances to get involved in the field when they’re young, they’ll be more likely to pursue a career in the computer industry. Some programs, like Google’s RISE Awards, which offer grants to help get girls involved in computer science, are working to reach more children, but the rise in computer job availability will be a tough demand to meet without more programs.
What could a future of schools that teach and test computer programming look like? In an increasingly digital world like ours, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for everyone to know a little bit more about how to build and maintain computers and electronic systems. Computer usage is so widespread now that digital maintenance should be everyone’s responsibility, to some extent. Who knows what computer innovations are waiting to be discovered?