It’s no secret that we live in a computer age. Technology is integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives – and for good reason! Tech can do anything, from helping maintain schedules to improving quality of life.
But despite computer science being one of the most in-demand fields, not to mention one of the more lucrative career paths, less than 2.4% of college students graduate with a degree in computer science. Why? Well, despite its relevance, many students are simply not exposed to computer science.
Luckily, there are numerous organizations that want to change that. They want to inspire an interest in computer science in young students. These organizations with teachers to provide quality computer science education, campaigning to put heavier attention on computer science in school curriculums, and also promoting equality in the field.
In this list, we’ll highlight five organizations that are passionate about connecting students to the rewarding field of computer science.
This organization has a host of programs for students, parents, and also educators alike. These programs work to then promote interest and success in science, engineering, and technology. By encouraging curiosity, creativity, and persistence at a young age, Iridescent is working to provide quality and cutting-edge STEM instruction in elementary, middle, and also high school education.
Iridescent’s Technovation Challenge is a global technology entrepreneurship program for girls aged 10-18, no experience necessary. The intensive 3-month program promotes women to work together in order to imagine and design a mobile app. Almost 3,000 young women from 28 countries have created mobile apps through Technovation.
2. Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA)
As its name suggests, CSTA supports and promotes teaching computer science. They work on a multitude of levels to pursue their goals – collaborating with educators, creating effective policies and standards, and also providing reference materials, among other things.
CSTA has found that computer science in college has experienced an unfortunate decline in the number of interested students. To combat this, CSTA is reaching out to administrations, generating interest in computer science at a young age, partnering with schools, and also introducing students to potential computer science careers and college courses in order to increase the number of computer science, degree-holding graduates.
With their vision of expanding participation in computer sciences, Code.org believes in equal opportunity for students to learn about and become interested in the field. Their mission is to include computer science in core curriculum classes in schools. Code.org works toward that goal by designing courses, partnering with similar organizations, training teachers, partnering with large school districts, helping change government policies, and also breaking stereotypes.
On its website, Code.org has numerous engaging and entertaining courses, games, art, and also resources for students to learn how to code. They report 6,339,186,734 lines of computer code have been written by their students.
4. FIRST Tech Challenge
As a STEM-focused community, FIRST seeks to engage children with a love of science, technology, and math at a very young age. Through mentoring programs, competitions, and scholarship opportunities, FIRST not only promotes interest in STEM fields, but also encourages curiosity, self-confidence, leadership, and other life skills.
FIRST has competition programs for kids from kindergarten to senior year. The Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr. FLL) and FIRST LEGO League (FLL) encourages the kids’ natural curiosity and then funnels it towards exploring math and science by using LEGO blocks. The programs engage students with real-life tech challenges in which they have to work together and build a LEGO robot to solve a task. FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is for high school students, in up to teams of 10, in which they design, create, and also program a robot to compete against other teams. The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is an intense challenge in which teams of 25 or more must build and program a task-oriented robot under strict rules, limited resources, and also a time limit. Both FTC and FRC participants qualify for scholarships.
5. Girls Who Code
There is an undeniable gender gap in STEM fields; Girls Who Code wants to change that. By working with schools, this organization is working hard to educate and inspire female students to pursue their interest in computing. They engage with girls to ensure they are properly equipped with the right skills and tools; thus, Girls Who Code is making sure that students are exposed to computer science.
Their Summer Immersion Program provides participants with seven-week long intensive instruction in robotics, web design, and also mobile development. The program features field trips to technology companies and academies, demonstrations, workshops, and speeches from leading female engineers and entrepreneurs. The program seeks to instill a lifelong love of STEM learning in participants. It also encourages them to pursue computer science in college and careers.