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Programming skills are indispensable in the modern workforce


Friday, May 31, 2013

Many educators have voiced concern about standards of literacy in the 21st century education system. Until recently, the need for college students to be able to express themselves clearly and concisely was considered the most essential skill in today's competitive job market. Now, employers are desperate for other skills, most notably technological literacy and computer programming. While today's young people use digital devices such as smartphones and tablets effortlessly, few possess the skills and knowledge to program these machines. According to Smithsonian magazine, coding is rapidly becoming the unofficial "second language" of the U.S.

The changing landscape of the workforce
Demand for skilled computer programmers is outpacing virtually every other profession in America today. The news source reports that today's students must master programming skills if they are to remain competitive, and that modern employers are crying out for talented candidates with software development skills. Some experts, such as Chris Stephenson, executive director of the Computer Science Teachers Association, believe it is no longer sufficient for students to be able to use computing devices - they must also understand their inner workings.

"Being a consumer of technology - using a device - is using someone else's code," Stephenson told the news source. "What we need for tomorrow is students who know how to adapt computers to their own use and for their own interests."

Easily acquired skills
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for computer programmers will increase by 30 percent between 2010 and 2020. In light of these projections, students of all majors can benefit from the logical problem solving that underpins computer programming, whether they are liberal arts majors or business degree seekers. In fact, learning how to program does not does not require a computer science degree. A few elective courses or online tutorials could be enough to provide basic programming literacy.

The blog Read Write Web reports that employers are less concerned with where or how students acquired their coding knowledge, and instead want to see examples of a candidate's programming at work. According to Mark Lassoff, founder of programming tutorial Web site Learntoprogram.tv, the pace of modern technological development is often too fast for colleges and universities to match, meaning students must be more creative in how they acquire these skills.

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