Archive for March 28, 2012

Still seeking more AERA CS Education Reviewers

AERA changed around their website, so the link I gave previously for reviewers for CS Education will fail.  Please do volunteer and use this URL:  https://www.aera.net/Membership/MyAERA/Login/tabid/11076/Default.aspx?returnurl=%2fdefault.aspx. Thanks!

Postscript: Brian Danielak created a slide set to explain how to sign up to be a reviewer: http://bit.ly/HnMrD7. Thanks, Brian!

March 28, 2012 at 11:46 am 4 comments

Manufacturing jobs are programming jobs: We need CS in high school

I grew up in Detroit.  Kids in Detroit used to be told to finish high school so that they can get a good paying job “on the line” in the factories.  Amy Ko points out in an intriguing blog post that machining jobs are now programming jobs.  Here’s another kind of argument for teaching programming in high school. First, because that’s going to be one of the skills that someone in manufacturing may need.  Second, because manufacturers are having a hard time recruiting people into programming, too, so we need to give people the chance to see the real thing early.  People are getting through high school deciding that programming (and computer science) jobs are boring, uninteresting, and asocial.

Recently, there have been arguments against college education today in the media: that there are plenty of good enough jobs for people with specialized skills without four years of College.  Here’s an important class of just those kinds of specialized jobs, and those manufacturing jobs need programming.

Today, how­ever, machin­ing is less about oper­at­ing machines, and more about writ­ing code that oper­ates machines (CNC machines, in par­tic­u­lar, stand­ing for com­puter numer­i­cally con­trolled). To learn the CNC pro­gram­ming lan­guage, work­ers typ­i­cally take an 18-week course before their ready to oper­ate CNC machines, but then they can make a rea­son­able man­u­fac­tur­ing wage with­out get­ting their hands dirty or risk­ing injury. This is a clas­sic exam­ple of end-user pro­gram­ming, where some­one has to write code as a means to an end (a phys­i­cal object).

What’s even more fas­ci­nat­ing is the eco­nomic dis­cus­sion sur­round­ing this jobs. Appar­ently, the prob­lem isn’t train­ing the machin­ists, but find­ing peo­ple who want to be trained. The Man­u­fac­tur­ing Insti­tute found in a sur­vey that there are as many 600,000 man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs going unfilled, the major­ity of which are jobs that require these kinds of tech­ni­cal com­put­ing skills. This is there­fore as much a train­ing prob­lem as it is a recruit­ing problem.

via machining is now coding | Bits and Behavior.

March 28, 2012 at 7:52 am 7 comments


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