Many college professors have recently been speaking out in favor of a universal knowledge of at least a very basic understanding of computer software. Many say computational thinking - the general concepts programming languages employ - would be a skill beneficial to most.
“Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists,” Jeannette M. Wing, head of the computer science department at a Northeast university, said in her 2006 manifesto. “To reading, writing and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability.”
At her university, students who aren't earning a computer science degree or online computer science degree, are welcome to take "Principles of Computation," which starts with the language's history before teaching students Ruby, a programming language.
Experts also are making the call for teachers to have a better knowledge of computer science and programming to ensure the next generation can better meet the industry's needs. Many say that students' only knowledge of the industry is of how to use the Microsoft Office suite of tools and programs.
“‘Literacy’ implies reading and writing, so ‘computer literacy’ suggests that writing programs is a required skill for activity under this name,” Henry M. Walker, a computer science professor at an Iowa institution, told The New York Times. “However, general citizens may or may not have to write programs to function effectively in this technological age.”
Women also are increasingly opting for degrees and jobs in the computer science field. One success story is Marissa Mayer, of Google. She earned a degree at a prestigious California university, specializing in artificial intelligence.
Mayer blazed the trail for women in the new generation of technology superstars, and now the company has more female engineers than many of its peers in the Silicon Valley - more than 20 percent.