Teaching computer science: Who knew a conference could be so much fun?


Members of the SAS Global Academic Program team recently attended the SIGCSE 2012 Education Symposium. This particular conference brings together over 1200 educators interested in computer science education.  The primary topic of conversation throughout the conference was the various approaches to developing, implementing and evaluating computer science courses and curricula.Photo of exhibit hall at SIGCSE

The conference environment was filled with opportunities to learn about computer science programs at various colleges, universities and high schools across the country. It’s an exciting time in computer science.  Courses are being rewritten and the curricula overall continues to expand and evolve.  What I found most interesting was how several of these programs were expanding beyond what I had typically thought of as computer science.  Sure there were the courses you would expect to find such as various programming languages, data structure, etc. One professor I spoke with discussed everything from an introductory computer science course, a data mining course, to a new course he was developing that incorported marketing and business content.

It was clear these educators were passionate about their work and were actively looking for ways to encourage more students to seek out computer science courses.  It wasn’t just about developing fun courses; it was about designing programs that teach content to help students develop computational thinking as well as knowledge of the domain and tools needed to gain employment in the industry.

The plans these educators shared with me make me want to go back and major in computer science.  It’s no secret this type of skill is in high demand and the careers are some of the best paying and most promising available.  What might be a secret is how interesting the course offerings have now become.  The content suddenly seems so relevant.  Maybe I've just matured and can appreciate it now, but even if you aren’t sold on the idea of pursuing a career or college degree in computer science, taking at least one or two courses in computer science is something every student should seriously consider.

Computing and technology is part of everything we do these days.  Think about what you’d most like to do and it shouldn’t be difficult to see how computing and technology are related.  Whether you are trying to crunch through loads of data to get the latest stats on your favorite team or want to design the next best-selling application to hit the market, studying computer science plays a part and the knowledge and skills are invaluable.

SAS booth at SIGCSEThank you to all the educators who came by the SAS booth, who sat and shared their plans for their programs, and who invited us to come and speak to their classes. SAS is taught in several universities and high school computer science programs. If you’d like to learn more about how to integrate SAS into your computer science program, contact: academic@sas.com.


About Author

Julie Petlick

SAS Student Programs Manager

Julie Petlick works in the SAS Education Division as part of the Global Academic Program team. Julie is responsible for the SAS Student Program and is dedicated to supporting teaching and learning.

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  1. Conference is a good thing because you can meet people that will mold you into better person. Aside from socializing it can help people build self confidence.

  2. Computer literacy is considered to be a very important skill to possess while in developed countries. Employers want their workers to have basic computer skills because their company becomes ever more dependent on computers. Many companies try to use computers to help run their company faster and cheaper.

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