Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cheers to Computer Science Education Week!

Here's to Computer Science Education Week! Celebrated last week, CSEdWeek is designated as the second week of December to honor Admiral Grace Murray Hopper's birthday, December 9, 1906, as well as her extraordinary contributions to the computer science field. Hopper was a visionary in the field of computer science and her engineering in programming languages and computer system standards laid the foundation for advancements in computer science from the 1940s - 1970s. Last week, 3,398 people signed the pledge for CSEdWeek.

So what does it all mean? The Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education collaborates with various organizations and individuals for better STEM education and put together the facts last week. Here's some of what they found.

The Association for Computing Machinery, one of the core partners of CSEdWeek, has assembled a collection of statistics on the nation's computer science education and job outlook:

  • 150,000 job openings in computing annually
  • 1/2 of all STEM jobs will be in computing in 2020
  • 22% job growth expected in computing by 2020
  • $78,730 earned on average by computing professionals in 2011
  • 19% of high school students took computer science courses in 2009, down 6% from 1990
  • 9 states nationwide award "core" credit for high school computer science courses
  • AP computer science exams comprise less than 1% of all AP exams taken

They added that jobs in computing are among the fastest growing and highest paying of almost any other profession. Despite these opportunities, the computing field faces a shortage of skilled workers and difficulty in keeping students in the pipeline. With significant barriers starting at the K-12 level, the number of students exposed to computer science is declining each year, and only a small percentage are receiving a rigorous education in the subject.

I know what you're thinking, what about the breadth of computer science jobs in the future? What's the story where you live? Well, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) has gathered key computing education and jobs indicators by state and congressional district and assembled them into an interactive map and other easily accessible tools. Individuals can use the data to understand their local situation and to advocate more effectively for changes they would like to see in their schools, colleges and universities. Find out how your state or district ranks in computer science education and jobs at www.ncwit.org/edjobsmap.

To check out resources, events, articles and more about computer science education, visit www.csedweek.org.