Why We Love Computer Science (Education Week)


Computing is ubiquitous. Cisco predicts there will be as many as 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, when the world population will reach 7.7 billion.

That's 6.5 devices per person.

No wonder forecasters predict so many jobs requiring computer science skills. We think it's important to point out that the same is not true for other industries--even other STEM industries. A 2017 New York Times article reported Where the STEM Jobs Are (and Where They Aren't). In the graphic, you'll see "Computer Science is the exception." All other STEM fields are producing more graduates than jobs.

When you ask people why they love computer science, you get a range of answers as wide as the field itself: "Great job opportunities," "Computers have always done exactly what I told them to do," "It's an awesome challenge," "bubble sorting," "artificial intelligence." Now, yes, tremendous opportunities are expected for those who pursue the discipline and develop cool algorithms, but what we really love is that you can pick your passion and apply computer science. You can select complex problems and challenges that you find engaging and apply your skill set. This breadth of application is so appealing since it affords you a connection with computer science that you find meaningful, rewarding, and fulfilling.

How many jobs can make that claim?

And while computer science can be challenging, it's a challenge you can meet. And if you do, there's a world of fun and opportunity on the other side. (Learn more about Booming Enrollment and Gender Diversity in Computer Science here.)cs_challengequote

This is Computer Science Education Week, which is all about creating awareness and experiences for everyone through an Hour of Code. The event calls for critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, and problem-solving skills to create games, solve puzzles, or navigate robots in real or virtual worlds. More than 300 million enthusiasts will try an hour of code this year. An abundance of resources are freely available to create your own experience and learn about the field. We like many of these resources because they provide excellent tutorials with self-guided, self-paced instruction and video support for all learners. But because we love computer science, love watching students experience computer science, love watching students actively solve problems collaboratively, and love making our resources available for free, we launched CodeSnaps.

We love CodeSnaps because it requires a single iPad and a single connected robot for an entire classroom of coders. CodeSnaps gets students up and moving, collaborating in teams, solving problems, writing code, fixing bugs, and having fun. You can learn more about CodeSnaps and how to get started in these posts, or you can download the app here.

We hope you try an hour of code, lead an hour code, or tweet about an hour of code in support of Computer Science Education Week. You'll be helping students all over the world fall in love with computer science.



About Author

Scott McQuiggan

Scott McQuiggan leads SAS® Curriculum Pathways®, an interdisciplinary team focused on the development of no-cost educational software in the core disciplines at SAS. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University in 2009, where his research focused on affective reasoning in intelligent game-based learning environments. His research has been published in more than 30 journal articles and refereed conference proceedings, and been recognized through several best paper nominations including Best Student Paper Award at the International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction.

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