CEO of Code.org Talks About The Future Of Computer Science in Education

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Answers by Hadi Partovi, CEO, Code.org, on Quora.

What are the biggest social and political obstacles to getting more kids to study computer science?
There are many obstacles, but I should say we are so much farther along now than we were 3 years ago when I started working on this.
The largest political obstacle is that all the policies and regulations and funding sources that drive education (in the U.S. or in most other countries) don't include computer science. Whether it's academic standards, teacher certification rules, funding sources, all of these pieces work together to make the education system function, but they need to be revised to include computer science. Nobody is against this, but it takes time and it takes work.
The largest social obstacle is the stereotypes that adults have. Most kids love this stuff. 5 years ago being an awesome coder was geeky. Today it's popular. Girls coding is on the front page of Seventeen magazine - students aspire to be awesome coders. But most adults apply their own stereotypes, they think "not for my daughter" or "not in my classroom" or "my students can't do it." The goal of the Hour of Code campaign is to help break these stereotypes.
The largest practical obstacle is the shortage of skilled teachers. We don't need software engineers to teach C.S., just like we don't need surgeons teaching biology. But we need teachers, in every school, in every country, who learn enough about the field to be able to introduce students to it. In the U.S. alone this will take over 100,000 teachers. Code..org has trained almost 20,000 teachers to introduce computer science in U.S. schools, and in the next 12 months we will train 25,000 more. We're getting there.

What will programming education look like in 2025?
I'm not sure anybody can predict anything about technology 10 years out accurately, because things change so fast. However, I'll take my best guess, and keep it short, because it will likely be wrong:
1) I predict that in 10 years, the vast majority of America's K-12 schools will teach computer science, and the schools that do not will seem like the exception rather than the rule.
2) I predict that in 10 years the majority of America's students will start learning the basics much much younger (10% of US students are already engaging in Code..org's multi-hour courses today), which means that what we teach in high school will increasingly need to be more advanced to account for more experienced students coming in
3) Computer science is already the fastest-growing field by enrollment in schools and universities that offer it. U.S. universities are going to undergo some serious growing pains to deal with the growing demand for this field. I don't see that stopping anytime soon. I believe in 10 years we'll want every college graduate to have taken a foundational college-level computer science course, and our universities will need to figure out how to provide that.
4) All of this will be easier because there will be a lot more teachers (today's students), and also because we'll continue harnessing online platforms to make it easier
5) I wrote my answer in a U.S.-centric way, but everything I said is also happening in most of the developed countries of the world, some are even ahead of the U.S., and many are following the same path.

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