Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn
What’s the Latest Development?
A program started by Microsoft and currently operating in several states brings software engineers to high schools, where they help introduce students to computer science. For a full school year, an employee works alongside a professional teacher to show young people the nuts and bolts of programming, allowing them to see into the tools they use most often — such as smartphones — and create simple programs of their own. The goal of Microsoft’s Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) is to encourage young people towards careers where they produce technology rather than simply consume it.
What’s the Big Idea?
According to one organization, the number of undergraduate degrees granted in computer science is 34 percent lower than it was in 2004, and often cash-strapped high schools are unable to allocate more resources to a subject that’s typically treated as an elective, if it’s there at all. This doesn’t bode well for an industry that’s estimated to have 150,000 job openings each year through 2020. It’s also difficult to attract computer science graduates to secondary education careers, given the commonly wide disparity in income. Microsoft pays engineers a small stipend for their work, which involves being in at least two hourlong classes a week.
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