Computer science education is a key that can unlock many doors for students who gain early exposure. A Bright Future By 2020, there will be 4.6 million U.S. jobs in computing. That’s half of the 9.2 million science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs, and it represents a 22% growth from 2010. Salaries for computing jobs are among the highest. Computer engineering and computer science were ranked the 6th and 8th most lucrative majors for college graduates in 2013. Shortage of Qualified Workers While all of this is great news for those who choose to enter the field, the U.S. is projected to produce only a fraction of the computer science graduates needed to fill those jobs. For the estimated 120,000 additional computing jobs that will require at least a bachelor’s degree annually, only 40,000 students will earn a degree in computer science from U.S. institutions. Exacerbating this shortage of qualified people is the reality that women and minorities are dramatically underrepresented in the computer science field. Women are the majority of college graduates at 57% Women make up only 12% of computer science degrees These shortages don’t only reflect missed opportunities for individuals. All of this untapped potential also has ramifications for the nation’s ability to remain vital, innovative, and competitive in the global marketplace. Educational Shortcomings Education is not keeping up with the realities our students face in the 21st century. Computer science and technology are central to our daily lives, to the economy, and to our world, and yet K-12 education rarely includes computing as part of students’ core education. More than half of all STEM jobs are in computing, but just 2% of STEM education is in computer science. Less than 20% of high school graduates earn credits in computer science courses and less than 10% of K-12 schools offer any computing science coursework. What is Computational Thinking? Computational thinking is taking an approach to solving problems, designing systems and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computing. Introducing students – even very young students – to computational thinking, helps them problem-solve in all of their fields of study… and in life. Graduation Credits In a recent study the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) found that only four in ten high schools count credits earned in a computer science class toward requirements. The organization recommended that high schools begin counting those classes toward graduating requirements.