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As Computer Science Education Week nears, computer science education continues to adapt and expand

Zoe Tu
Senior Sandra Yang distributes flyers during the Computer Science Honors Society meeting on Nov. 27th, 2023. “The flyers promote our upcoming Hour of Code event, which we will hold during computer science education week,” said Yang.

Computer Science Education Week, which this year is Dec. 4 to 10, is a yearly program focused on getting K-12 students involved in computer science. Sandra Yang, Computer Science Honors Society president and senior, said the week has a deeper meaning as well.

“(Computer Science Education Week) is meant to celebrate the anniversary of Grace Hopper’s birthday,” Yang said. ¨Grace Hopper was one of the first computer scientists. She figured out how to automate and code machines before almost anyone else in her generation did. She pioneered the field of computer science.”

With Hopper and her achievements in mind, the field of computer science continues to expand. However, computer science has typically been considered an isolated field. According to Zippia, in the United States in 2021, 78.8% of computer scientists were men, and 64.2% were white. Computer science teacher Jacob Goodman said he hopes computer science broadens and different people become involved because of its importance.

“With CS education week, in spreading awareness, hopefully more women, people of color, marginalized communities and people from lower incomes will join the field of computer science,” Goodman said. “We need the best and brightest in the field and educated on it. Computer science education is important because our whole world thrives on technology and computers.”

Arielle Fotso

Junior Jessica Ding said as technology increases in prominence, so does computer science.

“Especially in a world that’s becoming more and more digital, it’s important to learn about the field of computer science and develop skills in that area,” Ding said. “It’s going to become necessary to apply those skills in a future job position in any field. You’re now going to need to be working with technology in your everyday life.”

Yang said some people may overgeneralize computer science and what it entails. 

“Computer science has crashed into the general consciousness this year with Chat GPT and artificial intelligence,” Yang said. “But there’s so much more to computer science than that. There’s cybersecurity, programming, software engineering and more.”

Along with generalizing computer science, Ding said people might underestimate its impact.

“Computer science may seem very boring and algorithmic, but it’s so powerful,” Ding said. “It’s essential for anybody looking to develop marketable skills in today’s world to understand the field of computer science.”

Goodman said computer science is so impactful for many reasons, including the benefits and skills it provides. 

“Computer programming is one of the best ways to hone your brain and logic skills,” Goodman said. “I’m almost 40 now and I’m so glad I have this as a skill and hobby. Some people might play strategy games like the crossword puzzle in the New York Times to keep their brain active. For me, I do computer science and can feel my brain functioning at a higher level.”

In particular, Yang said computer science teaches a highly necessary, yet difficult skill. 

“Computer science teaches the ability to create,” Yang said. “If you have an idea then you can actually code it, you’ll transform it into something tangible that can benefit and better the world.”

Ding said the knowledge gained from becoming educated in computer science is endless. 

“In a tangible sense, you’ll learn how computers work and the hardware,” Ding said. “You can learn how to wire things or how to navigate the system. But, in a software sense, you can learn how to actually code and build your own programs, which can be useful.”

Goodman said benefits like those are becoming more well-known as computer science does. 

“Until the last decade, CS education was not necessarily widespread in public education,” Goodman said. “Before, maybe you took a keyboarding class in middle school and then got to high school and took a programming course. CS education week has had a positive effect over the last 10 or 20 years.”

Ding said the field of computer science has also been transformed.

“We have a wider access with computer science than we used to,” Ding said. “There’s dozens more coding languages than there used to be. Technology in itself has evolved and emerged so much that computer science has the power to revolutionize the way industries operate.”

Senior Nicholas “Nick” Wu presents new events for the Computer Science Honors Society meeting on Nov. 27th, 2023. At the meeting, members discussed their plans for an upcoming Hour of Code event. (Zoe Tu)

Goodman said the available courses and education on computer science has greatly expanded.

“When I was in high school, there was only one computer science course,” Goodman said. “It was mostly goofy and nerdy kids. The course wasn’t taken super seriously. But, here at Carmel High School there’s about six sections of AP Computer Science Principles, ACP courses and intro courses. Computer science isn’t a small class in the corner that barely anybody takes anymore.”

Yang said the amount of interested students in computer science has made way for even more growth. 

“Computer science education has evolved with computer science,” Yang said. “Computer science has always been fueled by people with passion, that’s a huge aspect of it and why it continues to grow.”

Goodman said to continue looking for ways to get involved with computer science for those passionate about it. 

Goodman said there is an upcoming CS Education celebration day at the high school in SRT on Dec. 4. He said there are flyers with QR codes in the computer science rooms.

 ¨At the event, there will be stations with fun computer science activities,¨ Goodman said. ¨I encourage anyone interested to sign up.”

Events like those continue to promote computer science, which Yang said is essential as it is so important. 

Yang said, “Computer science is the foundation of the world we live in today.”

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