This post was contributed by Jessie D’Amato Ford, Director of Events and Educational Programs at TopCoder
School days used to be covering your books with recycled paper bags and sharpening #2 pencils. These days, more and more classrooms are using technology such as iPads, the Internet, and education focused apps to help kids get their learning on. We also used to play games like Seven Up in school and these days, you can visit NoNameSite.com and play Insect Colony by programming ants to complete missions. And all that time, I thought Seven Up was a cool game! But there is one thing wrong; the lack of kids going into CS-STEM related fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math with a focus on Computer Science). It’s been a problem for a while but when you see the stats, your jaw will drop. Really. When I saw this infographic, I didn’t believe it. Especially this segment of it we highlighted for you below:
Naturally, I had to look up the resources for these stats to confirm the truth. Unfortunately I uncovered even more staggering statistics:
» According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, in the next five years, STEM jobs are projected to grow twice as quickly as jobs in other fields. While all jobs are expected to grow by 10.4%, STEM jobs are expected to increase by 21.4%. Similarly, 80% of jobs in the next decade will require technical skills.
» The US Department of Labor claims that out of the 20 fastest growing occupations projected to 2014, 15 of them require significant mathematics or science preparation. The U.S. will have over 1 million job openings in STEM-related fields by 2018; yet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, only 16% of U.S. bachelor’s degrees will specialize in STEM. As a nation, we are not graduating nearly enough STEM majors to supply the demand.
» To put these numbers into perspective, of the 3.8 million 9th graders in the US, only 233,000 end up choosing a STEM degree in college (National Center for Education Statistics). That means only six STEM graduates out of every 100 9th graders. (The STEM Dilemma)
We talked last month about SoCo, the new School of Code geared towards kids ages 13-18 on our awesome learning through games site, NoNameSite.com (NNS); NNS being one of TopCoder’s efforts to help the STEM crisis our country faces. Give the kids games to play and interesting things to do in the STEM realm, show them it is fun and give them the confidence to do it. Each month NNS features a number of contests, prizes, and promotions to encourage our members to compete and keep coming back. And this is all FREE! Check out what we’re doing on Black Friday (more than $700 in prizes just for that day)! December 9 – 15, 2012 is CSEdWeek; yet another project geared towards helping with this problem our nation faces. We at TopCoder and NNS are excited to be a part of CSEdWeek by hosting more than $3,000 in prizes , t-shirts, and a grand prize iPad giveaway on NNS. Learn more here. And if you haven’t taken the pledge to support or participate in CSEdWeek this year, do so here. My motto has always been: Never assume someone else will solve the problem or be the one to help. If everyone made that assumption, no one would solve problems or help. As Gandhi said it, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” In other words do something to help with our STEM problem in the United States. Whether it’s making that pledge for CSEdWeek, telling someone you know to check out NNS, or contacting us to help with our CS-STEM projects (sponsors wanted!) Even sharing this article and our NNS CSEdWeek promotions helps too! Pass it on, get involved and let’s help bring a greater % of our kids into a brighter future by helping them discover a love for STEM at an early age.
image credit: http://visual.ly/stem-investment-effort-keep-us-competitive-global-marketplace