This week, December 4–10, schools all over California — and the world — are celebrating Computer Science Education Week with an hour of coding instruction. Hour of Code is a grassroots campaign reaching students in more than 180 countries, and is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide. One-hour tutorials are available on a variety of partner sites (code.org, csedweek.org, hourofcode.com) in more than 45 languages.
The week is designated to encourage students, school staff and administrators to learn, teach and support computer science instruction. A recent Gallup survey reported that while 90 percent of parents want their child to study computer science, only 40 percent of schools offer at least one computer science class. However, this percentage is up from just 25 percent the year prior (2015), indicating that the number of computer science classes in K-12 education will continue to rise.
And rise they should: A study by Code.org found that computing jobs are the top source of new wages in the nation. These jobs are in every industry and every state, and they are projected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs. The study also found that California currently has more than 68,000 open computing jobs (3.5 times the average demand rate in the state), and had just 4,029 computer science graduates in 2015, according to the most recent data available.
Due to new legislation, California is beginning to address this lack of access to computer science courses for its 6.2 million public school students. By summer 2018, an advisory panel will present a computer science implementation plan to the State Board of Education. California is also one of 34 states that allows computer science to count toward a core graduation requirement.
Computer science education momentum is building throughout the U.S., and California aims to be a leader in the field with the development of state curriculum. However, experts say that today’s students should not wait for these standards to be developed — the time to begin computer science instruction is now.