Education Nation 2011: Why We Should Be Teaching More Computer Science Classes
NBC News’ Education Week asked me to write a guest blog post two weeks ago on my argument for why we should teach more CS classes. It got posted yesterday. I am grateful to Amy Bruckman, Christine Alvarado, Barbara Ericson, and Brendan Streich for their great comments and even text that they provided for this. We worked hard on those few hundred words!
Most people who write computer programs aren’t professional programmers. Scientists and engineers write programs on a daily basis. But even non-technical professionals rely on deep knowledge of computing. Graphic designers work with many images with multiple layers, and they write programs to automate operations. An estimate out of Carnegie Mellon University says that for every professional software developer in 2012, there will be four people who write programs but aren’t professional software developers.
Here’s the problem with this picture: Few of those non-professional programmers had any computer science (CS) classes. Either the CS classes weren’t there, or they avoided them. Research at Georgia Tech has found that pre-teen Girl Scouts already think computer science is “geeky.” Brian Dorn, an assistant professor at University of Hartford, found that even adult graphic designers think computer science is “boring,” and they avoid classes in computer science.