President Obama has called for "a Deeper Commitment to Computer Education," (January 30), proposing that $4 billion be invested in computer science education. In the past, these proclamations were based on the assumption that there is a serious shortage of technology-trained workers in the US. This claim has been shown to be false. In fact, there is a surplus.
Now the message is that computer knowledge is needed in many professions. (The president mentioned auto mechanics and nursing.) But this is computer use, and does not require knowing how to program and design software. It requires knowing how to use specific programs. It is not "computer science," just as driving a car does not require deep knowledge of auto mechanics. Nevertheless, the president emphasized programming and learning to code, "computer science for all."
My daughter has pointed out to me that to learn how to use many programs, all you need is a good friend to show you how.
I was not surprised to read that the president of Microsoft thought the president's proposal was a good idea.
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California
Original article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/us/politics/obamas-budget-urges-a-deeper-commitment-to-computer-education.html?_r=0
Sources: Salzman, H. & Lowell, B. L. 2007. Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education, Quality, and Workforce Demand. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1034801 Salzman, H. and Lowell, L. 2008. Making the grade. Nature 453 (1): 28-30.Salzman, H. 2012. No Shortage of Qualified American STEM Grads (5/25/12) http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-foreign-stem-graduates-get-green-cards/no-shortage-of-qualified-american-stem-grads. Teitelbaum, M. 2014: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-teitelbaum-stem-fears-20140420,0,120851.story#axzz2zYCn7SCA; Weismann, J. 2013. More Ph.D's than the market can absorb:The Ph.D Bust: America's Awful Market for Young Scientists—in 7 Charts. The Atlantic, Feb 20, 2013. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/the-phd-bust-americas-awful-market-for-young-scientists-in-7-charts/273339/