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Computer science is the key to America’s skills crisis

Editor's note: 

“Everyone should learn a computer language because it teaches you how to think.” - Steve Jobs

This is true and it’s also true that everyone should learn to read music, write a well researched, coherent essay, understand high school math, biology (yes, evolution) and have gym class. Mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body)

Should everyone be a coder? No! But but for the moment, this is where there is strong job growth. And, not only do we need ethnic and economic diversity in all areas of society but we need intellectual diversity as well. The humanities nerds should understand the Computer Science nerds, who should understand the business nerds, ad infinitum. If we don’t have a common language and essential understanding of each other’s domains we will not thrive in an every specializing world.

So yes, we urgently need computer science education for all our students AND we should not be cutting the arts, humanities or gym class.

What are we waiting for? Tempus fugit (Time flies)

Below are some of New York City's local groups investing, that most precious commodity, time to give our students, young adults and others access to these crucial skills:

Coalition for Queens | (NYC based, national in scope) | CS4All (Computer Science for All) | CSNYC | Girls Who Code | Mobile Dev Corp | ProPublica’s Summer Data Institute | Tech Jobs Academy | The Knowledge House

Related: The new workforce: Aligning jobs and skills in the age of tech disruption


The United States faces a global competitiveness crisis that, if not addressed, will put our nation at a strategic disadvantage for decades to come. In just a few years, there will be 1.8 million jobs unfilled in our nation because we don’t have enough individuals trained with the necessary technical skills to fill them.

President Obama’s budget proposal, which includes $4 billion for computer science education, is a welcome step, but, candidly, we need a national strategy to solve the fundamental challenge. Today, only one in 10 schools across the U.S. offers programming classes. This must change.

Organizations like, which won a Crunchie Award for biggest social impact, are stepping up to the plate and teaching students how to code. But this challenge requires a public/private partnership between government, nonprofits and the private sector.

So, what should we as a nation do to address the challenge?

First, every secondary school in America should be required to offer computer science, and those classes should count toward core science or math high school graduation requirements. We must also make sure there are robust and sustained programs to train and recruit high-quality computer science teachers. It’s not enough for students to use technology, they need to learn how to make it work.

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