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Many states include computer science in regular curriculum
THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014 10:29 AM

As the technology industry expands and strengthens, more jobs open in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the information technology industry is projected to grow at a rate of about 6.1 percent between 2010 and 2020. Students who are currently 16 years old will be graduating from college in 2020, and now is the time for them to consider their career path options. Because prospects look so good in the IT industry, and because society increasingly depends on technology, many schools are pushing students to explore computer science.

Creating opportunities
According to Education Week, 17 states and the District of Columbia now allow students to take computer science instead of a required math or science course. Many of these states also use the Common Core State Standards, which emphasize a strong mathematical foundation. For these states to acknowledge computer science's strong ties to math is a big step. Prior to the policy change, computer science was considered an elective. Eight additional states are currently considering similar proposals. Each state has created its own variation of computer science substitutes. Texas, for example, has allowed students to swap a foreign language credit for computer science. Some IT experts disagree with the move, saying it denies the link between computer science and, well, science (as well as math).

"The amazing thing is not only the level to which policy changes are increasing, but the diversity, both regional and political," Cameron Wilson, the chief operating officer for the computer science advocacy group Code.org, told the source. "These are red states and blue states, and they're all embracing this."

The tides of change
Many in the IT industry credit Code.org with knocking down the first computer science domino, as it were. Code.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students learn about computer science. The group also aims to get Common Core states to recognize computer science as part of a math/science curriculum. Code.org regularly sponsors an Hour of Code, an event that invites students to study a coding language for an hour in their classroom. The Hour of Code has been incredibly successful with more than 35 million participants so far.

Education policy makers may also have begun embracing computer science because of the projected industry growth. The BLS noted that firms and individual consumers use technology at an increased rate as compared to just several years ago. Services such as cloud storage and new tech devices allow people to be plugged in constantly. IT networks must be created and maintained by someone, which is where computer sciences and related fields step in. 




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