This week we are celebrating Computer Science Education Week around the globe.
In this “age of acceleration,” in which advances in technology and the globalization of business are transforming entire industries and society itself, it’s more critical than ever for everyone to be digitally literate, especially our kids.
This is particularly true for women and girls who, while representing roughly 50 percent of the world’s population, account for less than 20 percent of computer science graduates in 34 OECD countries, according to this report.
This has far-reaching societal and economic consequences. Here’s why:
- By 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be 1.4 million computing jobs but just 400,000 computer science students with the skills to apply for those jobs.
- Computer science is a top-paying college degree and computer programming jobs are growing at a rate that is double the national average, according to a National Association of Colleges and Employers report.
- While 57 percent of university bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, just 12 percent of computer science degrees at major research universities are awarded to women, according to this National Center for Women in Technology infographic.
One issue sometimes cited for the dearth of women in computing fields is the lack of professional role models who could inspire girls to pursue their STEM dreams. We’ve attempted to counteract this by asking 17 women within Microsoft’s global research organization their views on what’s likely to occur in their fields in 2017. Since it’s prediction season, we also asked them to tell us what’s likely happen 10 years from now.
We hope you’ll enjoy their breadth of knowledge and also take a moment to share this feature on your social networks. If that simple act of sharing inspires just one more girl or boy to pursue their STEM passions, you will have contributed to the spirit of the week. Finally, if you believe every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, you can make your opinion known here.