President Barack Obama has announced a big geek thing that will make an impact beyond his Presidency.
Today, President Obama announced his plan to give all students across the country the chance to learn computer science in school. Providing $4 billion in funding for states, and $100 million directly for districts in his forthcoming Budget to increase access to K-12 CS by training teachers, expanding access to high-quality instructional materials, and building effective regional partnerships.
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The funding will allow more states and districts to offer hands-on computer science courses across all of their public high schools, get students involved early by creating high-quality computer science learning opportunities in elementary and middle schools, expand overall access to rigorous science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coursework, and ensure all students have the chance to participate, including girls and underrepresented minorities.
Providing access to computer science is a critical step for ensuring that our nation remains competitive in the global economy and strengthens its cybersecurity. Last year, there were over 600,000 tech jobs open across the United States, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields.
The Federal government alone needs an additional 10,000 IT and cybersecurity professionals, and the private sector needs many more. CS is not only important for the tech sector, but also for a growing number of industries, including transportation, healthcare, education, and financial services, that are using software to transform their products and services. In fact, more than two-thirds of all tech jobs are outside the tech sector.
Everybody should understand Computer Science to some degree. This will become even more important in the next years. Programming will be part of most jobs in some way. It does not mean that people need to write code, but they need to be able to think like coders as their tools will work like that.