Published on May 3rd, 2016 | by Guest0
The Developed World Pushing Students to Computer Science
It’s truly amazing to think how far the learn-to-code movement has come in just a few short years. Thanks in no small part to the lack of diversity in the tech industry, many non-profit organizations have been springing up all over the world, introducing students of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to the seemingly endless possibilities inherent in the industry.
In the U.S. alone, the demand for programming related jobs is expected to grow by almost 2 million in less than ten years – and while organizations like Black Girls CODE and other forward thinking organizations are hoping to help inject some much needed diversity into the field, they are also playing a vital role in assisting the job market meet that staggering demand for skilled human capital.
Many learn-to-code initiatives operate with a very similar goal: to expose children and young adults to STEM subjects in a way that is engaging, fun, and hopefully educational enough so as to give them the experience they need to consider pursuing a technology-related discipline as a career.
Sadly, for many children in underrepresented groups, the lack of resources and exposure to the tools that may cultivate their interest is just nowhere to be found. While organizations that create awareness are great for giving many students a glimpse of the industry on a large scale (like Code.org), it is those that can present a curriculum (which allows students to start and finish several projects even if their family doesn’t own a computer of their own) and offer follow-up guidance from mentors that really tend to make a difference.
Because many public school systems in the developed world are still woefully behind in bringing coding into the classroom, parents who have acknowledged the impending demand in the tech sector can only really turn to paid after school programs (which, for some families, are prohibitively priced) or attempt to enroll their child in an immersive program offered by a non-profit organization.
While you can’t argue that organizations like CodeNow, Technovation, ScriptED and countless others are doing what they can to bridge the information gap, it’s truly amazing to think that governments and school officials failed to identify this impending need.
Once The Education System Catches Up, What’s Next for Learn-to-Code Initiatives?
The astute observer may think that when the education system finally does catch up that the need for these non-profit and for-profit organizations will fall dramatically. But that position is possibly a little shortsighted. For one, these organizations work alongside some of the lessons learned in school and thus not only help to reinforce them, but help to give the student some real world context and applicability. With that said, there will always be a place for them as a means of expanding on the knowledge taught in the classroom.
Secondly, when it comes to technology, there will always be something new that needs to be taught. Many school curriculums are set for a predetermined amount of time which ties the hands of a school official that wants to make a timely adjustment to the curriculum. Independent organizations can tailor their approach and lessons to the skills and disciplines that are constantly emerging.
Finally, learn-to-code organizations can be as general or as specific in what they teach as they think will be beneficial. While school curriculums will eventually be updated to include more in the way of computer sciences, their approach will likely be very broad in scope. To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with that – it will give many students a sound foundation of the knowledge they’ll need to one day pursue a career in anything from a electronics technician to a electromechanical technician. One day, these programs will be able to leave the basics to the school system and direct their course material to perhaps one or two specific fields, giving the student more choices; choices that will perhaps help them decide what to pursue when enrolling in a university program or online technology course.
The role that learn-to-code initiatives are playing in bringing diversity to the industry cannot and should not be understated. But perhaps of equal importance is helping steer a new generation into the exciting world of technology and all the wonders it has to offer.