Lately (and about time if you ask me) the problem of computer science enrollment in particular and STEM (science, technology, engineering and Math) in general seem to be getting more attention. Here are a couple of articles that people have brought to my attention that I think are worth sharing.
Save STEM or watch America fail – It doesn’t get more blunt than that! This article from eSchool News covers a recent summit in Washington DC. It seems like people are saying the right things. People like Bill Gates and Michael Dell are putting their foundation’s money where their mouth is. But is it enough? Are we really committed as a nation to fix this problem?
Fewer students pursue computer-related degrees – Well I’ve been saying that for a while. And according to the article:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 854,000 professional IT jobs will be added between 2006 and 2016, an increase of about 24 percent. When replacement jobs are added in, total IT job openings in the 10-year period is estimated at 1.6 million.
The bureau estimates that one in 19 new jobs created in the 10-year period will be professional IT positions.
“The fact remains that technology permeates all businesses now,” said Lou Gellos, a spokesman for Microsoft Corp. “All companies have that person down the hall to help with computer issues.”
This is not a problem we can fix by bringing in people from overseas or by offshoring. One of the big needs these days is computer security professionals and no one in their right mind wants to off shore that!
And on the positive note, in this interview with Bill Gates (Bill Gates Unfiltered ) one of the things Bill talks about is that he is taking online courses on a regular basis. Yes, the “smartest man in the world” works hard to keep learning and to broaden his knowledge base. If that doesn’t inspire people with the need for life long learning what will? Some of what Bill studies is science – biology and chemistry come up – but there is history in his schedule as well. Having a well rounded education never gets old. BTW there are lots of Bill Gates interviews this week as he prepares to step down from full time work at Microsoft to focus on his foundation. This video interview at Channel 8 is very good.