Honoring My Roots

It is hard to imagine that I’ve been working in my field for over a decade… seems just like yesterday I was trying to decide on my major and visiting Drexel University (my alma mater) with my sister who was trying to indoctrinate me into the field.

Years have passed, computers are faster than ever and computer scientists play a key role in all modern fields of technology. Computer scientists develop software to help medical research, design new algorithms that help find social connections, create software to penetrate nuclear projects, develop advanced algorithms that determine the best stock market moves in fractions of a second, and more, much, much more.

Programming and computer science are not exactly one and the same, but they are tightly intertwined; Programming is the application of computer science principles. This week is Computer Science Education Week and I wanted to highlight that computer science and programming have been recognized to have made an incredible impact on humankind. They are here to stay, here to make a difference, and as a society we must embrace both to compete on the global stage in innovation.

S(cience) T(echnology) E(ngineering) and M(athematics) are key in computer science and sadly, fewer and fewer high school seniors are enrolling into college degree programs in STEM. It is our responsibility as the parents of this new generation to guide and encourage that they pursue careers in STEM, that they learn programming and perhaps make a career out of computer science. It is the future. If you don’t believe me, look here for what world and industry leaders have to say about computer science and programming.

And in case you’re a bit lazy… here are some quotes…

“At a time when people are saying “I want a good job – I got out of college and I couldnt find one,” every single year in America there is a standing demand for 120,000 people who are training in computer science.“ – Bill Clinton

“Whether we’re fighting climate change or going to space, everything is moved forward by computers, and we don’t have enough people who can code. Teaching young people to code early on can help build skills and confidence and energize the classroom with learning-by-doing opportunities. I learned how to fly a hot air balloon when I was 30,000 feet up and my life was in the balance: you can learn skills at any age but why wait when we can teach everyone to code now!“ – Richard Branson

On a personal note: shortly after I graduated from college a close relative remarked that I was nothing more than a programmer and there would shortly be no jobs for programmers. We never know what will happen, we never know how economic downturns will impact our society, but as we saw in this latest economic downturn, computer scientists were hired by the dozens despite sky-high unemployment.

Finally, computer science isn’t just my job, my bread and butter – it is my passion, a craft I love. I look forward to sharing programming the very same way I share my knitting and sewing with Sophia. She is free to choose her major, but nothing would please me more than a career in STEM and perhaps computer science.

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