Computer fundamentals and programming courses used to be considered elective courses for older students and nearly unheard of in kindergarten or early grade school. However, these classes are becoming a regular part of curriculum for students of all ages. Why has the inclusion of these technical skills become integral in education?
The short answer is that the world is changing. The reliance on computers for everyday processes and applications, including and especially the use of computers in the workplace, is becoming increasingly prominent. However, the necessity of students learning these skills stretches far beyond basic pragmatism.
Why Do Students Need to Study Computer Fundamentals & Programming?
Studying computer fundamentals and programming is important for students because it empowers them with critical tools, skills, mindsets and knowledge to better succeed in education and future careers.
The Workforce Is Increasingly Reliant on Digital Tools
One of the most important reasons students need to study computer fundamentals and programming is because of the great rate at which the economy relies on digitalization. In a study, Oxford Economics estimated that in 2016 the digital economy accounted for 22.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP). Analysts at the research firm IDC have estimated that by the end of 2022, as much as 60% of global GDP will be digitalized, meaning it will be largely impacted by the introduction of digital tools.
Brookings discovered similar outcomes, finding that while in 2002 only 44% of U.S. jobs required medium-high digital skill levels, that number had increased to 70% by 2016.
As education aims to equip students with knowledge and skills for future success, the necessity of teaching students digital and computer science skills has increased dramatically
Staying Competitive in a Global Market
According to Coursera, the United States ranks only 29th out of 100 countries in the digital acumen of its workforce in business, technology, and data science. With the statistics stated in the prior section, it’s apparent that in order to stay competitive in an increasingly digital market, the United States needs to continue to encourage citizens to learn and master computer fundamentals and programming skills.
In the U.S. alone, 2021 saw over 918,000 vacancies in computer science jobs. This number is expected to increase to over 1.2 million by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with anticipated growth projected at 25% from 2021 to 2031.
A lack of a pipeline of workers who can fill these vacancies can slow economic growth in the United States, purportedly to the tune of a five-billion-dollar loss at its current rate, according to a report by CS1C@OC.
Increased Salary Potential
Study after study suggests that salaries for careers in computer science are higher than the average salary of non-computer-science-related careers, including this analysis, which finds salaries for computer science-related careers are over double the national average. Without early computer fundamentals and programming skills, students may lack the knowledge, tools and resources to master critical computer skills that would support them in these higher paying positions.
Finally, computer fundamentals also empower students to better participate in schools as education programs increasingly turn toward the utilization of digital tools. With confidence in computer fundamentals, students can more readily focus on the subjects they are learning as opposed to struggling with utilizing the technology properly and effectively.
Celebrate Computer Science Week
Celebrate Computer Science Education Week with Learning.com and our partner, Common Sense Education – join us for our webinar, “Digital Citizenship as a Foundation for Computer Science Creators.”
Founded in 1999, Learning.com provides educators with solutions to prepare their students with critical digital skills. Our web-based curriculum for grades K-12 engages students as they learn keyboarding, online safety, applied productivity tools, computational thinking, coding and more.
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