Technology Empowers More than Just Tech Knowledge

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Technology Empowers More than Just Tech Knowledge

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It’s 2019, it’s Seattle, and Amazon is huge. Even if tech didn’t dominate our everyday lives, it would be hard to imagine this city without Amazon or Boeing or Microsoft or Rover or Getty Images or coding. Right now, the field of computer science is one of the largest and highest paying career paths in the world. Individuals who study computer science gain skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and logic; all of which make them viable competitors for some of the best jobs out there. In today’s world, teaching coding and web development to middle school to high-school aged individuals should be a necessity, but it is not. This is a missed opportunity — not teaching computer science to minority, immigrant, and low-income students may keep them behind wealthier students and out of jobs that desperately need to be filled.

According to Code.org (a non-profit committed to making computer science more accessible), “90 percent of American schools don’t offer coding yet and, by 2020, there will be about a million more computer jobs than computer science students. In 24 states, students can’t even count computer science for credit toward high school graduation.”

One of the best ways to tell if there is a labor shortage in a particular field is by looking at their wages and “last year, changing requirements among tech companies — with a limited number of workers holding the necessary education, skills, or willing to move to high-cost tech hubs — drove wages” to rise as quickly as 4.8 percent. In the words of Daniel Zhao, a senior data scientist at Glassdoor: “We’ve heard a lot of anecdotal evidence that employers are starting to reduce qualifications or look for non-traditional workers.”

It seems that as comp sci has become more critical to our way of life, the less available qualified individuals have become. Although there is no “perfect solution” to this burgeoning economic problem, the existence of multiple types of traditional and non-traditional educational paths have made it possible for anyone with the drive to learn, to learn. This “solution” has done a fantastic thing in our world: it has made Edtech an avenue that works for young people (who do not see themselves getting a degree, are looking to grow their skillset, and for experienced professionals looking to pivot their careers.

Where our world is at, software development is necessary for success. Why? Because developers can do more. They understand how things tick and have the ability to create things. In other words, success is not success without CS, and CS cannot exist without a variety of individuals who are willing to put in the work (conventionally or not) to become developers. The time has come to focus on the adaptability of education. If we do, we will be enabled to prioritize the many different learners who are needed, in this ever-growing technical field, to change the world.

Celeste Salopek, Seattle University Class of 2018