Computer science is one of the most sought after fields in the American economy. Will there be enough skilled workers to meet the growing need? And will the people who play these roles be as diverse as our countries?
We need the answer to both questions to be, “Yes!” To get there, we must diligently address key gaps.
Findings from a recent Gallup survey suggest that students’ interest in computer science far outweighs access to computer science education, especially among historically deficient populations. In addition, most students lack general contact with the technical sector. This gap between interest and access is a missed opportunity for the national economy as U.S. employers increasingly seek job candidates with knowledge or IT skills.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that the market for computer professions will grow by 13 percent between 2020 and 2030. At present, wages for such jobs are more than twice the median annual wage in all other occupations. Broad access to IT resources is a critical factor that has a positive impact on students’ economic mobility. If we want fairer outcomes for our students and their families, we must prioritize the provision of computer literacy skills that require high earning potential.
Assessment of student interest and involvement
Amazon Future Engineer, Amazon’s global philanthropic computer science education program, recently commissioned research from Gallup to better understand students’ interest and engagement in computer science. The new report – Future Career Development: A Study of Students’ Approach and Interest in Computer Science – provides a more comprehensive overview of the differences between racial, gender, location and socio-economic factors than were previously available. The study also provides key insights for educators and employers looking to equip students from all walks of life with the resources they need to excel in higher education and get the high-demand jobs of the future.
A study of 5th to 12th grade American students reveals that access to schooling opportunities and role models is closely related to students’ perseverance in their careers. Students who have access to computer science classes are more than twice as likely to report that they plan to study at the university and desire to work in the field. In addition, a student with a computer science model is more than 10 times more likely to say that he or she will pursue a career in computer science than a student who lacks such a model.
The study also reveals that high school students overwhelmingly recognize the value of computer science knowledge in the US economy. More than 90 percent agree that informatics can be used in many different types of jobs, that informatics help people and that they can solve important problems. This suggests that better access to computer science teaching opportunities and social connections among students may affect the performance of future talent.
Stimulating student curiosity through career research
The report’s findings also help us identify the most effective ways to continue to inspire students, support educators, and ensure that our initiatives maximize impact and reflect the creativity of teachers who use our programs. Ever since we launched Amazon Future Engineer, we have been listening to our best requests from students and educators. They said, “Help students understand career opportunities in a place like Amazon and conceptualize their journey into the technology industry.” careers and role models in the real world. The program brings virtual career talks (Class Chats) and Fulfillment Center tours to classrooms to bring students together with a diverse group of role models and help revitalize the industry.
One-hour tours of the Fulfillment Center on computer science show students what is happening behind the scenes after placing an order on Amazon.com. Students will learn how algorithms and machine learning enhance our fulfillment process. This includes the way Amazon employees and technologies work together to support customer fulfillment through selection, packaging and shipping processes. The initiative helps break down stereotypes and decode what computer science looks like, and ensures that students see how it fits into everyday life and is even permeated by pop culture. This offer is available for 3rd and higher grades and equips educators with a set of slides, worksheets and extension activities in accordance with the Computer Science Teachers Association’s K-12 Computer Science Standards.
Since its launch in April, “Meet the Amazon” has reached more than 150,000 students from more than 2,000 eligible U.S. I-class schools. for me.
“I enrolled my class on a virtual tour of the Amazon Future Engineer performance center because I’m always looking for opportunities for my students to think critically and research professions other than the normal ones they think of,” explains Jill Emery. Honors Algebra / Geometry Teacher. “It was a great way to broaden their view and help them see themselves elsewhere.”
Extending access for students who lack CS resources
Students cannot study what they are not exposed to. We want them to know how developing computer skills can help them achieve their career goals, whatever they may be.
If you are a school administrator or teacher, we invite you to register your students for a virtual tour of the Fulfillment Center Tour. The new program offer is free and open to educators across all disciplines.