With more and more jobs beginning to require an understanding of computer science, many schools are considering adding this subject to their curriculum requirements. Giving students a solid foundation in coding can benefit them throughout their lives in several important ways.

Improved Problem-Solving Skills

Coding even the simplest program requires careful analysis of the available methods to make the most efficient choice to accomplish a given task. Computer science teaches kids how to approach problems critically and be economical in their solutions.

Although computer science does involve learning to write code, it’s the thought and structure behind that code that makes up the bulk of the discipline. Learning these skills at a young age makes it much easier for students to grasp the more difficult concepts presented in an in-depth college degree program.

Balanced STEM Participation

Large gaps between genders and ethnicities still exist in the U.S. when it comes to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. Women and minorities such as blacks and Hispanics make up a large chunk of the workforce, and yet only a fraction are employed in STEM-related jobs. These gaps echo similar discrepancies when it comes to STEM education. Some schools hope that making computer science courses mandatory will eliminate the problem of minority students skipping out on it as an elective and encourage them to continue with the STEM track in college.

Better Career Opportunities

Businesses, healthcare establishments, government offices, software companies and creative agencies are just a few of the places where a computer science major can get a job. Providing kids with the chance to learn the ins and outs of coding in high school gives them a strong foundation to build on when they pursue a degree. With the basic knowledge of the field already in place, they’ll have more time to develop skills in specific disciplines.

Regardless of their chosen career tracks, kids who focus on computer science have a wide range of jobs waiting for them after graduation.

Ability to Compete Globally

Several countries around the world either already require computer science classes in their grade schools or are working on programs to implement this requirement. Estonia began teaching computer science to kids as young as six in 2012, and England now requires some form of coding to be taught to students ages five to 16. The U.S. currently has no such policies, but some cities are beginning to take the initiative in local districts. Chicago plans to introduce mandatory computer science classes over the next three years, and other cities are likely to follow suit to help students prepare for careers in a market that is quickly expanding around the globe.

Greater Earning Potential

Computer science majors can earn around $60,000 right out of college, and the average salary across the field in 2011 was $103,160. Even those in the lowest bracket made $56,800 a year. Working for the government or a high-powered company may pay over $150,000. This gives students with computer science background great opportunities for growth in many fields. Just about every industry needs people with computer science knowledge, so job availability is likely to remain high for the foreseeable future.

As an increasing number of industries begin to rely on computer science to grow, employers will expect the workforce to be prepared with the necessary knowledge. Mandatory computer science classes in high school can help students start out with the foundation they need to pursue a STEM degree in college and head out into the job market with the skills that today’s companies are looking for.

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