Kids and Computer Science

The future of data science is dependent on properly educating the next generation of thinkers on properly educating the next generation of thinkers and doers, so they have the skills to succeed in computer science. As Sheryl Sandberg said, “An understanding of computer science is becoming increasingly essential in today’s world. Our national competitiveness depends on our ability to educate our children-and that includes our  girls-in this critical field.” Here, we take a look at where in the world children are being taught to code, the benefits of computer science, why the United States is so behind, and who’s working to change this.

Where is Code Taught?

Coding is not a common subject taught in schools today, but the following countries either include the subject in academic curricula or are working on offering it.

Mandatory, as part of elementary or secondary curricula:

  • Britain
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Vietnam

Optional, offered through nonprofits and other foundations:

  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Germany
  • India 

Pending , may be incorporated into school curricula:

  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Singapore

Computer Science in the United States 

Computer science is offered in the U.S. on a state-by-state basis, but many schools are not participating.

Only 1 in 10 U.S. schools teach children to code.

No states require a computer science course for graduation. 

Even when computer science is offered, many students are not taking advantage.

In 2009, only 19% of students graduated with credits in computer science, down from 25% in 1990.

Less than 1% of high school girls think computer science is part of their future.

Only 30,000 of 21 million U.S students took the ap computer science exam in 2013.

“The failure to teach computer science isn’t just impeding kids’ understanding of the digital world, but also crippling our nation’s competitiveness in business. We outsource programming not because we can’t afford American programmers, but because we can’t find American programmers.” – “Douglas Rushkoff, CNN

Teaching Challenges

In a 2013 Computer Science Teachers Association survey, 1,246 computer science teachers identified the greatest challenges in teaching computer science.

40%: Lack of support or interest by school staff
35% Lack of student interest or enrollment
31%: Rapidly Changing Technology
24%: Difficult subject matter
22% lack of student subject knowledge
22% lack of hardware or software resources
20%: Lack of teacher subject knowledge

Is Computer Science Important 

“No other subject will open as many doors in the 21st century, regardless of a student’s ultimate field of study or occupation, as computer science.” – Running on Empty: The Failure to Teach K-12 Computer Science in the Digital Age

Cognitive Benefits of Coding

Studies have also shown that coding has cognitive benefits and helps develop logical thinking skills, increases problem-solving skills, and teaches computational thinking and collaboration.

“Coding is the new literacy. To thrive in tomorrow’s society, young people must learn to design, create and express themselves with digital technologies.” – Michael Resnick, MIT Lab

Coding Engages 

  • Mathematical Ability
  • Processing Capacity
  • Analogical Reasoning
  • Conditional Reasoning
  • Procedural Reasoning
  • Temporal Reasoning

Job Prospects

Those who study computer science and fields like statistics and data science can enjoy opportunities for professional growth and long-term job prospects.


Annual mean salary for computer occupations: $83,840

Means salaries for careers in computer science:

Web Developer : $68,670

Computer Programmer: $82,690

Software Developer: $102,050

Job Growth  

1.4 Million U.S. Jobs in Computer Science Related Fields Will Be created by 2020

Only 30% of the 1.4 million new jobs will be filled with qualified citizens.

18% Employment growth for computer occupations will occur between 2012 and 2022

15% Employment Growth for Computer and Informations research scientists will also occur

Get Involved

These U.S. – based organizations are bringing computer science to the forefront of education:

1: Technology Education and Literacy in Schools provides highly trained tech volunteers to high school teachers who need help leading computer science courses 

2: Hour of code offers an hour of introductory computer science courses to educate youth about the subject and field provides curriculum, resources, tutorials and opportunities for everyone to learn computer science and coding

4: Google’s made with code is a campaign focused on increasing diversity in coding with community events and opportunities for everyone to learn computer science and coding 

5: Scratch from MIT Media Lab allows everyone to program their own stories, animations and videos.

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