Words By:
Laurie Medina
Customer Success
Posted On:
February 12, 2016

Technology takes the Lead

The goal of every parent is to have a happy, successful, and safe child, is it not? It’s natural to want your child to achieve their full potential and become well rounded. One-way in doing so is utilizing their left-brain skills, that being logic and math. A career in the field of technology is almost always guaranteed to be stable, lucrative, and exciting. STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math is one of the most up and coming, as well as innovative, fields. This is due to our everyday use of advanced technology. Finding a job after college, with only a bachelor’s degree, can be a difficult task. STEM essentially provides job security due to the high demand for workers in this field and the availability of jobs. Along with this comes higher pay, much higher pay. Who wouldn’t want to automatically have a salary about 10,000 dollars greater than everyone else after their undergraduate studies? Along with securing a job and getting paid more for that job, STEM also provides the opportunity for using multiple skills across different areas of study. Becoming a jack-of-all-trades, in a certain field, will make your child more marketable to employers and will allow them to look into a vast array of career paths. With more jobs, comes less competition. There is also less of a gender gap in this field; therefore women have just as equal of an opportunity for making the same amount of money. This field, unlike others, does not have limitations but gives them room to purse whatever they desire. Growing your wallet is a source of motivation for anyone, but growing your mind is priceless. STEM develops minds to think critically and innovatively.

These fields are typically not introduced in preliminary or elementary grades. Computer and engineering skills are typically seen as too advanced to be taught to the children in younger grades. Not a lot of focus is placed on these fields at all in a child’s early stages of schooling. Technology has become such an essential part of everything we do. The majority of communication is now done through the use of a cellphone or computer. Creating, implementing, and even imagining can all be done virtually. In high school, you are encouraged to become tech-savvy. Books and other programs to aid in learning are now offered on I-Pads. A computer is required in order to have access to the Internet and complete assignments as well as write papers and do research. The days of pen to paper are now considered “old fashioned”. We have evolved and in order to keep up, new generations must be given the tools to be successful in this continuously modernized world. With all of these advancements it is time that elementary aged children are taught, at least, the basics of computer skills.

Fortunately enough there may be a change sooner than we thought. President Barack Obama calls for 4 billion dollars to be put toward computer science education in grades K through 12. This initiative included in the 2017 budget proposal is called “Computer Science for All”. The New York Times reports that only 25 percent of U.S. elementary, middle, and high school grades currently offer computer classes. This is an extremely small percentage compared to how great of a demand there is for this knowledge. The fact is that college aged students use computers everyday in and outside of the classroom. If college is where your child aspires to, they will be blind sighted walking into their first class not having had extensive computer knowledge in their prior education. President Obama has also proposed that the National Science Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service spend 135 million dollars on teacher training in computer science. In order to prepare students properly for a career in computer science, it is crucial that their teachers can instruct them to the best of their ability.

A computer science major makes more money at an entry-level position than most other majors. The demand for these skills can’t be fulfilled because there is a limited amount of students with extensive knowledge of this field. Because it is not taught early on, many college students tend to struggle with the major or choose not to purse it at all due to the lack of previous education about it. Technology is constantly evolving, and therefore requires consistent and repetitive education. Computer knowledge does should not cease after one typing course or a year of coding classes. More than 60 school districts, as of 2014, have committed to offering computer science classes to students, which is a big accomplishment for the field.

The advantages of learning computer science are numerous. Curriculum is so focused on the three r’s, that being reading, writing, and arithmetic, that it is difficult for some schools to transition to teaching something outside of their knowledge. Schools tend to have a traditional way of teaching and are apprehensive to incorporate classes that are foreign to them. Tradition is not a bad thing, but when the school begins falling behind, they are only hindering the potential success of their students. Although it may be difficult diving into unknown territory for some school districts, there will always be a need to keep up with the times, especially the technological advancements. Teachers who do not have experience with computer science may have trouble teaching it right away, which is a large concern for school boards. They may be uncomfortable with teaching something they have no experience in. That is why funding for teachers to learn these computer skills is critical. Like with anything else, time will help them to become proficient teachers in the field. The benefits of learning computer science outweigh all of the doubts and concerns.

One question a parent may have is: how can computer science classes be beneficial for my child if they show no interest in technology or learning about computers? This question is valid, but should not be a grave concern. Computer science incorporates logic, analytical comprehension, sequential thinking, creativity, and even group work. Many of these skills can and are applied to other subjects and even everyday life. Also, a child does not have to be particularly interested in technology to benefit from these types of classes. These classes open doors to learning other skills that a child may enjoy. Students may have never had the opportunity before to design a graphic, create a successful code, or have the opportunity to solve a series of problems so complex. This field challenges the way a student thinks and therefore allows them to get a fresh way of thinking. It is never a waste of time to learn new skills, especially ones that are transferable across several areas.

Computer programs require several steps in order to make big changes. Generally, primary school students are taught to solve problems in a single step. This multiple step method is valuable in adding a new thought process into curriculum. Some may think that computer science is a very independent and solitary field, when in fact; there is a lot of teamwork involved. To solve any problem, there must be collaboration. In order to develop new software or write codes it can take a whole group of people. Different people can also add a variety of skills to the particular project. Someone may be better at graphic design while someone else might be better at writing code. Algorithms are a big part of computer science, and being able to work through a process from beginning to end is a valuable skill. Once students have the basics and are able how algorithms work, they will be able to effectively carry them out. Problem solving is an important skill for anyone to have. When learning computer science, problem-solving exercises are used frequently. It provides an interactive environment in order to work through problems independently.

Technology is all around us, whether we want it that way or not. It is something that has helped our work grow. There are a lot of benefits to technology and a lot of ways that we use it, at times, without even realizing we do. All of this practice with computers helps students to understand technology better. Many new businesses are technology based. Companies are expected to be in tune with the newest and the best. These companies also expect the same of their employers. Classes of this type at a preliminary level can gives students the knowledge they need to make them more confident and applicable in the future when finding a job. Technology aids in many different tasks, specifically in schools. Computers and projectors are used to make learning more effective and efficient. New technology has even made the dismissal process in schools easier. Phone applications assist in making tasks faster. A whirlwind of products comes out every week solving some kind of problem we didn’t even know existed. How could we not take advantage of educating students on all of these new advancements?

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Laurie Medina  -  Customer Success

Laurie is a recent graduate from the University of South Florida; she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies. Before moving to the US, she lived in South Korea and Honduras. Laurie is experienced in Human Resources and Customer Service. She loves to volunteer for non-profits, travel the world and try new foods.