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New Programs Aim to Lure Young Into Digital Jobs

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Harvard Medical School CIO Dr. John Halamka

Dr. John Halamka is the chief information officer at the Harvard Medical School, a practicing emergency-ward physician and an adviser to the Obama administration on electronic health records.

Credit: Jodi Hilton / The New York Times

Educators and technologists say both the image of computing work and computer science education in high schools need to change to fill what are expected to be the new American jobs of the future. Professional organizations like the Association for Computing Machinery and the National Science Foundation are working on this effort, as are major technology companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Intel. These organizations participated in National Computer Science Education Week, which took place during the week of Dec. 7, and was marked with events in schools and online activities.

Technologists want to highlight the steady march and broad reach of computing so that their message resonates with parents and school administrators enough to convince local school districts to expand their computer science programs. Labor experts say that a solid grounding in computing can generate rewards well beyond computer science, noting that hybrid careers that combine computing with other fields will increasingly be the new jobs of the future.

Robert Reich, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and former labor secretary in the Clinton administration, says, "[m]ost of them will not be pure technology jobs, designing computer software and hardware products, but they will involve applying computing and technology-influenced skills to every industry. Think Geek Squads in other fields."

The Washington Post, meanwhile, quotes ACM CEO John R. White in a recently posted YouTube video for Computer Science Education Week that explains why the number of jobs for software engineers and network systems analysts is growing fast. "Computing is fueling countless advances," says White, "from improving communications and advancing health care to protecting national security and improving energy efficiency to helping understand the depths of the universe."

From The New York Times
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