At Microsoft, computer science is part of our DNA. It is the very basis of where we started as a company, and is what keeps us innovating each and every day. And given that it’s Computer Science Education Week, we have good cause to celebrate.
We are committed to advocating computer science education, and are proud to lead worldwide initiatives like Microsoft YouthSpark, aimed at creating opportunities for 300 million youth worldwide, and programs like Imagine Cup, designed to ignite students’ passions in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). We also have great resources on the Partners in Learning Network on coding.
While we know the importance of computer science education, it has unfortunately not caught on in schools today. In fact, in the United States, computer science doesn’t count towards high school graduation in math or science requirements in 36 states. Yet, as we all know, computer science is a top-paying college degree, and computing jobs are growing at two times the national average. In fact, it is estimated that there will be one million more jobs in computer science than new graduates to fill them in the year 2020.
And while job-readiness is a big driver of the need for computer science education, it’s also simply a fact of life for students today. As Sal Khan, CEO of Khan Academy says, “To prepare humanity for the next 100 years, we need more of our children to learn computer programming skills, regardless of their future profession. Along with reading and writing, the ability to program is going to define what an educated person is.”
So this week, I invite you to share computer science. How? Through The Hour of Code. The Hour of Code campaign aims to demystify computer science for students across the country by taking them through introductory tutorials that can be completed online, on a smartphone, or even “unplugged” for schools that do not have computer access. The campaign aims to introduce coding to more than 10 million students during the week of December 9-15, 2013.
Hadi Partovi, Code.org co-founder and CEO, talked about the importance of learning to code on my Daily Edventures blog. I invite you to read even more about The Hour of Code and Code.org, and to celebrate Computer Science Education Week by sharing The Hour of Code with a young person in your life this week.
Anthony Salcito, VP WW Education at Microsoft