Surviving The Future Through Computer Science

How many of us have that one computer friend who knows everything?

A tool in the hands of many to combat when it’s a weapon in the hands of few.

You know, the one you call when your email suddenly erases all your contacts, or your hard drive fails when you’re on the last page of your dissertation.  You call in a shrieking panic and they ask you a bunch of questions you can’t answer.  Then they sweep in, crack their knuckles, plunk down in the chair and start typing.

Fifteen cups of coffee (and likely a few colorful metaphors) later and voila! Your work is saved!  All thanks to the skills and knowledge set forth by your computer savvy friend and their super computer skills.

How did they do that?  How do they even know how to fix that?  Why aren’t they wearing a cape (like all superheroes should)?

These days it seems like computer skills and knowledge are vital in many professional fields, but being an expert?  Now that’s a desired set of skills.

In more ways than one.

Think about it.  Computer scientists are not the odd men and women out in the social equation.  As a matter of fact, they’re becoming a necessary constant.

There’s a reason that computer person is a day-to-day techno-hero.  There’s a reason you feel so overwhelmingly glad to have them in your life when things go wrong.  There’s a reason what they do is important, because what they do is fix and improve the elements of our lives that are omnipresent and vital.  They are the doctors, maintenance crew, mechanics, researchers, diagnosticians and inventors of our technological world.

They are computer scientists.  And they are building the digital future around us.

See, this is why educating our kids on how to survive and thrive in this ever-evolving technological environment is such a good idea.  It teaches the leaders of the future be thinkers and doers.  It integrates innovative thought and flexible problem solving skills into daily life.  These digital survival skills could very well be more important than you’d think.

Which is exactly what Computer Science Education week is all about.

Well, that and a particularly fantastic woman named Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.

Would you check out that computer. Now *that’s* a robust machine.

Admiral Hopper was a visionary in the field of computer science, not to mention a really phenomenal U.S. Navy officer.  Her engineering in programming languages and computer system standards laid the foundation for advancements in computer science from the 1940s – 1970s. CSEdWeek is designated as the second week of December to honor her birthday, December 9, 1906, as well as her extraordinary contributions to the field.

They even named a destroyer after her.

There’s a reason she was often referred to as “Amazing Grace”.  Her work in computer science, and her passion for it, sparked this week long campaign designed to encourage education and interest in one of the most integrated and collaborative professional fields.  And it’s never too early to start learning.

Kids these days are practically immersed in technology.

It’s not like it used to be.  I remember typing away on my Commodore 64 on an awesome green screen and thinking it was the greatest thing in the universe.  Now toddlers can pick up an iPhone and FaceTime grandma without missing a keystroke.  Let’s face it, technology is all around us.  It’s not like it’s going away anytime soon.  Apocalyptic life ending events notwithstanding.

And even then…

Parents, friends, educators:  take some time this week to introduce your kids to computer science.  Expose your students to critical thinking and problem solving.  Instill an understanding of computational thinking – something that could be necessary for success in the digital age.  Train kids for computing careers that are exciting, plentiful and often financially rewarding.

And, perhaps most importantly, teach your kids computer skills can prepare them to tackle the world’s most challenging problems.  That doesn’t mean installing the printer or syncing the WiFi, either.  I mean real problems that need real solutions from real IT superheroes.  That starts here, with a little interest, some learned skills, and a dedication to understanding the technology that drives our society.

Don your capes, kids.  It’s time to take on the world.

Let’s start with Java.

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Learn more!

- Take the CSEdWeek pledge! Register your support and share your plans to celebrate by selecting the Red Ribbon here
- ‘Like’ CSEdWeek on Facebook
- Follow on Twitter
- Post videos on YouTube
- Network with CSEdWeek on LinkedIn
- Visit www.CSEdWeek.org for other suggested activities and resources.

Information for this post provided by www.csedweek.org

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Jessica L. Tozer is a blogger for DoDLive and Armed With Science.  She is an Army veteran and an avid science fiction fan, both of which contribute to her enthusiasm for technology in the military.

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