Microsoft has been taking several new approaches to the shortage of students earning a computer science degree, which is considered one of the most discerning issues in the technology industry. Job openings are expected to continue to grow at a rate of about 150,000 per year until 2020, while last year only 14,000 Americans earned a technology degree, such as an online computer science degree.
Beginning this fall, 110 engineers from some of the nation’s top technology companies are teaching computer science courses as part of program through Microsoft. The goal of the program is to get more students interested in jobs in computer science, engineering and other high-tech careers.
Currently, the company has 6,000 vacant jobs, 3,400 of which are slated for developers, software engineers and programmers. Although there are many people looking for jobs, most applicants are not qualified for the positions. For years, big technology companies have grown increasingly concerned over the lack of technical talent, which has been a large motivation for creating looser immigration rules to allow foreign engineers work in the states.
Microsoft has made efforts to encourage high school students to become interested in high-tech jobs by organizing field trips and discussing lucrative careers that are available in the job market today and in the future. A part of the project also included Microsoft volunteers teaching educators, alongside students, so that instructors could eventually teach an engaging computer science course on their own.
“Kids can see themselves in their shoes,” Kevin Wang, a Microsoft engineer who started the program as a grassroots effort, told the New York Times. “Their chances of going to college and majoring in computer science are exponentially better than getting into the NFL.”