When it comes to bringing computer science education to Mississippi’s public schools, C Spire is all in. We’ve invested millions. And just a few weeks ago, we began a grassroots movement called Mississippi’s Future Can’t Wait that has led to the upcoming House vote on a groundbreaking Computer Science Education Bill.
As this movement presses forward, so should the truth about computer science. Misunderstandings and widespread myths have prevented Mississippians from fully grasping the impact that computer science education can have on our students’ future and the state economy. So today we are setting the record straight on some of the most common myths surrounding computer science.
No. 1: Computer science education is only for boys on a white-collar job path.
False. The skillset needed for computer science is at the core of many jobs and careers, debunking the idea that this knowledge is only valuable to those wanting white-collar jobs in Silicon Valley. All students need to be skilled in thinking critically and learn to use logic to break down complex problems into simple steps. And we mean all - including girls. It’s a fact: When computer science education reaches female K-12 students, they become interested in the field. Code.org reports that women are 10x more likely to study computer science in college if they are introduced to it at a younger age.
Did you know? Women have made a huge impact on the field of computer science. Click here.
No. 2: Strong math skills are necessary for computer science.
False. While being a math whiz is great, it’s simply not a requirement of computer science. There is math, but we aren’t talking trigonometry. Computer science most often uses math for creating the list of steps that, for example, tell a video game how to work. That list of steps is called an algorithm, and they are the foundation for coding a program.
No. 3: A career in computer science means writing code.
True & False. Many people who pursue computer science degrees want to write software code for programs, operating systems, mobile apps, etc. But a bachelor’s degree in computer science can mean much more than programming. In the IT industry, jobs include software engineers, database administrators, system support, IT auditors, cybersecurity specialists and more. And because computer science focuses on logical thinking and problem solving, computer science students also do well in non-IT careers like financial planning, law enforcement investigation and air traffic control.
No. 4: Everyone has access to computer science education since technology is everywhere.
False. Just because technology is nearly everywhere you turn does not mean that children are learning about it. Less than half of Mississippi’s schools teach computer science. However, when schools teach computer science to kids at a young age, students are more likely to pursue a career in computer science.
No. 5: Teachers must be computer science experts to teach it.
False. There are simply not a lot of computer science experts who are also teachers, especially in a state that has not put an emphasis on this subject matter. However, educators who want to teach computer science should be encouraged to do so and supported. Resources to help teachers can come from state-funded professional development and community support. A teacher who is strong in helping children solve problems is going to be successful in computer science education.
Mississippi's Future Can't Wait
Mississippi needs computer science education in all of our schools. Contact your legislator in support of computer science for every school. Text FUTURE to 50457 or visit ourMSfuture.com for more info.