Educating the Next Generation of Computer Scientists

December 14, 2016

One of the best parts of my job is visiting schools and talking with students. Every chance I get, I tell young people about the opportunities that a computer science education can provide. Many are shocked to learn that although an estimated 42,000 computing jobs are waiting to be filled in Texas, only 2,100 computer scientists graduated from Texas schools last year. Students are even more interested to learn that the average salary of a computer science professional is more than $85,000 – almost twice the average salary in Texas.

Outside of the Washington, D.C. area, San Antonio has the highest concentration of cybersecurity professionals, placing the city at the forefront of tech development. Unfortunately, we are far behind when it comes to producing enough computer science professionals to meet demand. Currently, the pipeline that educates future computer science professionals begins for some at the high school level, but the drive to teach these skills must begin earlier, ideally in our middle schools.

Our world is transforming into a place where coding and technological literacy is comparable to typing proficiency in the 1990s. The incredible medical advancements we see today are products of early exposure to science courses that inspire young people to pursue further education in the field. We need to follow suit with computer science. Offering tech education early on not only serves as the foundation for continued education in high school and beyond, but also exposes students to the jobs we will need to fill in the future. It could have a dramatic impact on closing the employment gap in the tech industry.