If you have children and would like them to have the best chance of getting well-paid employment when they enter the job market, enroll them in computer science coding classes.
That’s the message delivered Sunday night by the TV show “60 Minutes.”
Bonnie Ross, a Microsoft corporate vice president who runs her company’s video game studio, told “60 Minutes” correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi the key to preventing girls from dropping out of tech fields is to make them more comfortable with computer science when they’re younger.
To do that, Ross thinks elementary and middle schools should make computer science classes mandatory.
“I do believe if we had it as required curriculum, I don’t think you’d see the drop-off,” Ross told Alfonsi. “Because right now you have to make a conscious thought of, ‘Am I interested in computer science and technology?’ And for many of these girls, they’re not.”
There is enormous demand for coders as the cyber age continues lightning-fast growth around the world.
The show emphasized that children who learn coding are most likely to be swept into the job market when they leave school.
Alfonsi reported on the push to close the tech skills gender gap. She spoke with Hadi Partovi, the founder of Code.org, a nonprofit that aims to teach computer science to
all American students.
Partovi also told Alfonsi that, to increase the number of women in tech, the focus needs to begin well before women enter the workforce.
Ayah Bdeir has created a successful career as a woman in the tech world.
“Middle school is roughly when girls traditionally drop out,” she said. “Women in technology say getting more women into their field requires focusing on girls’ education all the way back in elementary school.”
Educating girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) needs to start early — specifically between the ages of eight and 12.
“And if, during that time, we don’t try extra hard to keep them interested in STEM and keep them excited about science and engineering, and remove roadblocks that are either social or tactical or academic, then we lose them,” she said. “And it’s really difficult to get them back.”
The following script excerpts are from “Artificial Intelligence,” which aired on Oct. 9, 2016. Charlie Rose is the correspondent, Nichole Marks is the producer.
In a “60 Minutes” show it was reported that technology is so promising that IBM has staked its 105-year-old reputation on its version of artificial intelligence called Watson — one of the most sophisticated computing systems ever built.
The search to improve, and eventually perfect, artificial intelligence is driving the research labs of some of the most advanced and best-known American corporations. They are investing billions of dollars and many of their best scientific minds in pursuit of that goal. All that money and manpower has begun to pay off.
When I was a child, there were no computers, so I grew up and learned to work on mechanical typewriters, which eventually evolved into computers, everywhere.
So today, I’m writing on a computer, which tells me when I misspell a word or commit a grammatical error.
Typewriters were dumb, but computers are much more savvy.