Computer Science Education Week is Dec. 8-12
Computer Science provides pathways to successful careers for Pennsylvania students
Over the past 10 years, Americans' use of the internet has skyrocketed from 63 percent to more than 87 percent. More than 70 percent of American households have high-speed internet at home, and use of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets increases every day.
With this in mind, it's no surprise that computer science and programming jobs have become some of the fastest-growing careers in Pennsylvania and across the country.
"Courses directly linked to careers are often more motivating and meaningful for students," said PSEA Vice President Jerry Oleksiak. "Computer Science courses and other programs that engage students and sets goals for them beyond high school graduation often lead to increased enrollments in college. Computer Science Education Week gives us the opportunity to inspire our students and open new pathways to careers. We could be cultivating America's next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates."
Bridging the gender gap
Women lead Fortune 500 companies, serve in Congress, and even earn more bachelor's degrees than men, but the country's first female Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg has yet to emerge. Women hold only 27 percent of computer science jobs, down from 30 percent a decade ago, and fewer women are pursuing computer science degrees in college.
Computer science education advocates and tech company executives like Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg continue toare pushing for new opportunities to increase the number of women in computer science careers through projects like the "Hour of Code," - a program created to introduce the concept of code and programming through free tutorials. Google also launched the "Made With Code" project to inspire girls to pursue their dreams with code.
"By 2020, only 30 percent of the 1.4 million computer science jobs in the U.S. will be filled by U.S. graduates," said Sandberg. "To close the gap, we need to encourage more students — and especially more girls — to pursue computer science. Hour of Code is a perfect place to start. Last year, 15 million students tried the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week. Half were girls. This year, let's get to 100 million."
Resources for Educators
The Computer Science Education Week website, provides lesson plans, activities, and other resources to introduce computer programming to students.
Educators can also host "The Hour of Code" for students. Find tutorials and materials at http://hourofcode.com.
An expanding field
Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates that computer science jobs are growing in Pennsylvania at more than three times the state average and at two times the national average. Two-thirds of computing jobs are in sectors other than information technology, including manufacturing, defense, health care, finance, and government.
Many states now allow computer science courses to count as mathematics or science credits in high schools – rather than an elective – and that number is on the rise. Pennsylvania is one of 25 states where students can't count computer science for credit towards high school graduation.
Computer Science Education Week aims to expand computer science education opportunities to all students, to help to light the pathway to new careers.
Learn more at www.csedweek.org.