See the New Pathways Report

Computer Science Education Is Critical to a 21st Century Workforce

In March 2014, the ACM Education Policy Committee issued a report urging states to provide more opportunities for students to gain the skills and knowledge needed to compete for these high-wage positions. The report, Rebooting the Pathway to Success: Preparing Students for Computing Workforce Needs in the United States, calls on education and business leaders and public policy officials in every state to take immediate action aimed at filling the pipeline of qualified students pursuing computing and related degrees, and to prepare them for the 21st century workforce. The report provides recommendations to help these leaders join together to create a comprehensive plan that addresses K-12 computer science education and that aligns state policy, programs, and resources to implement these efforts.
Computing jobs are among the fastest growing areas of employment in the United States. By 2020, one of every two jobs in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields will be in computing. These occupations pay extremely well, providing opportunities for U.S. workers to embark on dynamic careers, enjoy a good standard of living, and contribute to the innovation that drives the country's economic growth. High-skilled, high-wage computing jobs are found in all regions of the country and in every significant industry sector. Moreover, computer science knowledge and skills are becoming increasingly important to success in virtually every career.

  • The projected number of job openings in the United States needing a computer science or computing-related background will average about 150,000 annually for the next decade. Most of those computing jobs will require some type of postsecondary education.
  • In 2012, less than 3% of the one million high school students who took Advanced Placement (AP) exams in STEM subjects took the AP Computer Science A exam.
  • In 2012, less than 20% of AP Computer Science A test-takers were female, even though females represented 55% of all AP test-takers.
  • In 2012, only 18% of Bachelor's degrees in computer science were awarded to women.
 
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