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Developing the Computing Workforce


March 11, 2014


Developing the Computing Workforce

A new report from the Association for Computing Machinery recommends developing stronger pathways for computer science education in order to grow the computing workforce.

By the end of the decade, one of every two STEM jobs-about 4.6 million jobs-will be in computing, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. However, there are many obstacles to building strong pathways in computer science education that lead to these high-wage jobs.

Secondary students often lack access to rigorous computer science courses taught by qualified teachers, owing to confusing or inappropriate teacher certification requirements for computer science. In addition, computer science courses may not be accepted as satisfying a mathematics or science graduation requirement; just 17 states and the District of Columbia clearly state that Advanced Placement Computer Science fulfills a core high school graduation requirement. One of the outcomes of this lack of emphasis on computing education is that only about 25,000 of the more than one million students who took AP exams in STEM subjects in 2012 took the AP Computer Science A exam.

Authors Lisa Kaczmarczyk and Renee Dopplick include several recommendations, including that states and localities clearly define rigorous computer science grounded in the Computer Science Teachers Association K-12 Computer Science Standards and that they establish clear, relevant and realistic requirements for computer science teacher certification. In addition, the authors recommend that rigorous computer science courses be accepted as fulfilling core high school graduation requirements.

Several states and school districts leading the way in building pathways in computer science education are profiled, including an initiative in Washington with Microsoft to expand computer science courses, focusing on industry certification; North Carolina CTE programs and career academies; and articulation agreements within the Kentucky postsecondary system.

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