I plan to share this article with my Computer Science classes on Monday. The article discusses the need for workers with CS related high tech skills, but yet also shows that some of these jobs are not paying much considering what all is required to get the job. The skill set needed for some of these jobs is quite high, but the pay is quite low.
This article digs into why some students chose to pursue a degree and career path in a STEM area.
It is quite interesting to see how many students felt they were or were not well prepared for college.
This is an interesting article and it does point out some of the reasons students bail out on Computer Science and Engineering. It seems that CS and Engineering courses are not taught to the degree of other courses. There are teachers in the classes, but the approach to teaching CS and Engineering courses is often less about teaching and explaining topics / concepts and more akin to throwing kids to the wolves to see which ones make it. One can hope this trend will not continue.
Occasionally, some of my former students that are off attending college send me emails sharing their experiences. The one thing that I hear most often is “I am sure glad that I took a Computer Science class while in High School.”
Why is this? Are these students studying to be Computer Science majors and minors? No. Most of them are majoring in something related to Science, Engineering, or Math. I do have quite a few that go on to study CS, but that is not the majority.
Several of my students that have entered a study in Biomedical Engineering have emailed back to share that they are using Python. One even sent me some assignments that I shared with my Computer Science students. My CS students could not believe that this student was writing Python code in a Biology class. The class was a standard Biology class in the Biomedical track that required students to crank out some Python code.
Another group of kids went off to Texas A&M to study engineering and were using MatLab in all of their Calculus classes. I had my students check out one of the courses online to see what they were doing and once again they were really amazed. I had another student stop in that was at UCLA and he also stated that he was using MatLab in his math classes and was very thankful he took my class.
Computational thinking and learning how to use a computer and some tools to solve a problem is a very important skill to have no matter what you plan to do for a career. Students that are not planning to major or minor in Computer Science still need to have basic Computational skills. Often, they do not take Computer Science classes in high school as they are not interesting in learning the details of a specific programing language, but are very interested in learning how to use a computer to solve problems related to math, science, engineering, or whatever is their passion.
Offering a less language focused course that incorporates more cross-disciplinary problem solving is a way to get more of the Science, Math, Engineering students to take a Computer Science class. They are learning a ton of important Computer Science concepts and skills while learning why they need to learn Computer Science. We use this approach as much as possible and find that some students go on to study Computer Science as a major or minor that might not otherwise have done so. The students that had already planned to study CS all along really like this approach as well.