I highly recommend a front page article from the New York Times (Sunday May 11, 2014) entitled “Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Lately, Computer Coding”. Those who know me know my strong opinions regarding the values of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) related college majors, and STEM based professions. My professional life revolves around the recruitment and placement of a subset of STEM, those in the Information Technology arena. I’m thrilled to report that my own 18 year old daughter is set to attend Marquette University and has been pre-admitted into their Nursing program (yes!).
This article discusses a growing movement to legitimize computer programming as a core high school level course, and to make it in some cases a requirement. Code.org, a tech industry backed group has reported that tens of thousands of teachers are now introducing a basic programming curriculum, and that over 30 major school districts, including Chicago’s and New York City’s, are adding programming classes this coming fall.
The article states “It is a stark change for computer science, which for decades was treated like a stepchild, equated with trade classes like wood shop. But smart phones and apps are ubiquitous now, and engineering careers are hot. To many parents - particularly one here in the heart of the technology corridor – coding looks less like an extracurricular activity and more like a basic life skill, one that might someday lead to a great job or even instant riches.”
Well said. As a recruiter, I see the demand for tech workers every day, as well as the excellent salaries they command. It’s at times the bane of my life that I can’t find these men and women in sufficient numbers to meet this demand. I also see that foreign educated workers, here by the tens of thousands, are needed to meet fill the gaps. Our economy may be flat, but this sector is hot.
As a parent of a college bound child, I’m also painfully aware of the cost of college, and the levels of debt many accrue in pursuit of a degree. This difficult situation becomes downright tragic if recent college grads fails to find well paying work in their field. I strongly suspect this seldom happens for those grads with STEM related degrees.