Discussion: What should be done to help lagging enrollment in Computer Science?
What got you interested in programming, waaaaay back when? For me, it was the movie Tron (especially the light cycles), but you may have a very different story. This time, though, we need your help on how to encourage young people to get interested in Computer Science and find their story.
NPR recently reported (3:32) that enrollment in university Computer Science programs is down -- way down -- in some cases programs are 1/4th the size they were in the year 2000. Issues they cite include image problems (all CS graduates do is code!), the perceived lack of stability in the software development job market, and the even sharper decline in female enrollment.
To help alleviate the situation, Jeannette Wing of the NSF indicated that National Science Foundation has started a grant program to help revamp Computer Science degree programs. One broad suggestion that is made at the end of the story is to start teaching Computer Science to kids in middle school.
Cay Horstmann has discussed how efforts to help students get acclimated to programming have helped, and Michael Kölling has put together a great blog series on how he is teaching his daughter to code: Part1, Part2, Part3, Part4. The MacArthur Foundation iseven providing $1.1 million for a Video Game school. Clearly though, we need major efforts from corporations - it is in their own best interest and governments and private donors can't do it all. (Knock knock -- Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft?)
While this discussion is not new (see Rob Walling's blog for a recent discussion) it is certainly brought to the front and center again. Please share your constructive and creative ideas of when and how we should encourage all young people to get interested in and excited about programming and Computer Science - it could make a real difference.