Governor Holcomb’s recent proposal to require all Indiana high schools to offer a computer science course is an important step in improving Indiana’s attractiveness as a place to headquarter and grow a technology business.
As the CEO of a software company, one of the greatest challenges I face is finding qualified software talent. There are simply too many job openings for too few qualified people. In my experience, it’s a bigger drag on the growth of our state’s tech sector than any other structural issue.
There are a number of reasons for the gap between the strong demand for developers, technical salespeople, and project managers and the current workforce composition in our state. The limited number of qualified instructors, the lack of suitable equipment in many schools, and the relative newness of some technologies are just a few explanations. And like most challenges with a myriad of causes, there exists only a multi-part solution. There’s no panacea.
But increasing exposure to CS in K-12 education is an important step, because it will produce more interest in the field as a career while also raising the overall computing competency of the Hoosier workforce. It may also help democratize access to our industry, which seems out of reach for too many students who don’t have the environment, resources, or role models they need to consider CS a realistic career.
Of course, simply declaring that schools will offer a computer science class won’t educate our students.
In a world where teachers are constantly being asked to do more, meaningful success can only come with a meaningful commitment of support. That’s why I was also happy to hear Gov. Holcomb’s proposal includes a plan to support educators with the professional development they need to teach effectively.
It’s my hope that the legislature supports the Governor’s initiative to offer a computer science class in every school, and make the appropriate allocations to support it effectively. If implemented correctly, it will help align our workforce with the demands of the 21st century and make Indiana more competitive as a place to start or grow a modern business.
Mike Young, Fishers