Computer programming: a valuable and lucrative skill taught at SAS

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today,” said Malcolm X. That statement is even more accurate in today’s rapidly changing world than it was when he said those words decades ago.

SAS students realize this and spend a great deal of time thinking about the paths they want to take.

“I have a lot of friends that have no clue what they want to do, resulting in them constantly tapping into new subjects to see what interests them,” said senior Gabe Zink.

The most attractive careers to some students are those that pay big bucks.  So what are those jobs?

Historically, doctors, lawyers, and stockbrokers have been the most lucrative occupations. In a recent marketwatch.com article, however, it is shown that the demand and profitability of these jobs is slowly deteriorating.

3884So if these prestigious jobs are no longer as financially secure as they once were, what is an upcoming career that is very high in demand by employers? Computer Science. According to code.org, “Over the next 10 years there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer science and only about 400,000 grads qualify for those jobs.”

Because of all of the constant advances in technology, the direction our world is going is clear. We are a digital world and computer programmers are needed for it to continue to grow. This is why many people in both the education and corporate worlds preach that the subject should be introduced at a very early age, and also why many high schoolers should consider testing the waters of comp sci.

“When I think about what we are gonna be teaching in schools 5,10,15 years from now, I definitely think that computer science or at least basic programming will be as important a skill as basic reading and writing,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Facebook.

Facebook is mainly written in the coding language "PHP."
Facebook is mainly written in the coding language “PHP.”

SAS students who have previously taken AP computer science understand how useful the skill is, and many plan to continue studying the subject in college. Senior Stuart Baker plans to major in computer science at Duke University starting in the fall. Baker’s passion for the subject was sparked when he took programming classes from Ms. Goode. “Ms. Goode really gave me a perfect introduction to the world of computer science and I understand the opportunities I will have with a degree in that field.”

Goode is currently the sole Computer Science teacher at SAS, and her students are thankful that she is here to fill that role.

“Ms. Goode was great for me! She has experience actually working in the industry (I think she worked at IBM) so she knows what com sci translates to in the real world. She’s always been really easy to talk to about anything from school life to careers down the road, especially in computer related fields, and getting her perspective was really valuable for me since I’ve decided to pursue computer science in college,” said SAS senior Rohan Singh.

Rohan Singh, sporting a fellow SAS entrepreneur's T-shirt and eager to get his computer science career started at UC Berkeley.
Rohan Singh is eager to get his computer science career started at UC Berkeley.

Goode thoroughly enjoys teaching the course, and believes that every high school student should at least give computer science a shot.

“There are so many jobs just for programmers in the U.S. and by 2020 we are expected to have over a million programming jobs with not enough folks to fill them. In addition, so many other non-CS jobs use programming as well. Folks majoring in business, engineering, finance, science often take some form of programming course. In so many fields, big data is something that has to be culled through and programming is the only way to deal with large amounts of data.”

With her firm belief in the importance of computer science, Goode tries to make the course as fun and appealing as possible.

“It is more fun than the average course because it is so hands-on. Writing code is actually addicting and very fun. When you solve a problem by writing code, you feel a rush of satisfaction, of pride. There is a lot of camaraderie amongst the students because we all help one another debug our programs.”

Coding tends to scare many young students who believe that the skill takes too much time and intelligence to perfect. Goode, however,  disagrees. “I don’t remember my first programming course being difficult, but I did work hard and enjoyed the learning! I had no idea going in that I would enjoy it so much. Some of the later courses were more difficult, but you make friends with your peers and they helped a lot.”

Like every other subject, computer science is going to present problems that frustrate many students. This, however, is very valuable when it comes to the understanding and application of the subject. Problem solving is the name of the game when it comes to programming and if you are passionate about solving real world problems, then it is definitely something to give a try.

“Everybody in the country should learn how to program a computer… because it teaches you how to think,” said Steve Jobs.

Author: Jack Albanese

Jack Albanese is a Senior and has been at SAS for 8 years. Activities include varsity golf, basketball, and football. He is also the co-writer of "The Media Lab." This is Jack's first year with the newspaper.

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