STEM Up Close: Computer Science is the Most Important but Most Left Out Field in STEMBy Chris Brandt, UniversityHerald Reporter
STEM is considered by educators, lawmakers, and business leaders as the most important in building a nation;s economy. However, in this modern world where computers and software are the most prevalent, it is surprising that computer science is being left behind compared to other STEM subjects.
The information came from a recent report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) called "The Case of Improving U.S. Computer Science Education." The report was written by Adams Nager and Robert D. Atkinson
They said that it is surprising to find out that despite computer science being the "most important STEM field for a modern economy," it has the least number of enrollment in high school. They also added that there is great potential and opportunity in this field but that is often overlooked.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there will more than 1.3 million job opportunities for Math and STEM-related fields by 2022. Furthermore, 50 percent of the 2.8 million STEM-related jobs that will be created by 2018 will largely need computer specialists.
Atkinson and Nager also noted that there are currently 25 percent among high schools who offer computer science courses and those who do usually focus on coding only and forget to teach the deeper principles of computer science.
Another surprising fact they discovered was that there is a disparaging social, economical, ethnic, and gender gap in how computer science is made available. They have found out that computer science classes seem to be highly concentrated on affluent schools. Moreover, less than 10 percent of those who take the Advance Placement test in computer science are Hispanics and 4 percent are African Americans. Even the gender gap is big with only 22 percent of the test takers are females.
The authors of the report suggest that solving this problem does not involve a huge cost. Some of their suggestions include making computer science one of the requirements to graduate, teaching the core concepts of computer science, and allowing students more hands-on experience rather than teaching them boring theories.