K-12 students celebrate Computer Science Education with free tutorials and workshops

By Erin Eagan

Last year, there were more than 500,000 computing jobs available nationwide. By 2020, that number is expected to reach 1.4 million. Not only are computing jobs in high demand, they are high-paying jobs with low-unemployment rates.

Despite this, computer science is largely absent from K-12 education. Sadly, 40 percent of U.S. schools do not teach computer science at all. 

To give students the opportunity to further explore the world of technology, the first week of December has been designated as Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek). Created by the Computing in the Core coalition in 2009, CSEdWeek is geared towards activities that encourage K-12 students to learn more about computer science. 

During CSEdWeek, millions of students from around the world are encouraged to try an Hour of Code. To support this effort, Microsoft, a founding member of CSEdWeek, has created a Minecraft coding tutorial with Code.org called the Minecraft Hour of Code Designer. Last year’s Minecraft tutorial set a record with more than 30 million people worldwide using it to learn basic computing skills. This year, with the ever-popular gaming title, Microsoft hopes to reach tens of millions more kids to show them how exciting coding can be.

Microsoft is also hosting hundreds of free hands-on classes, camps and tutorials in its retail stores around the world. Students can sign up by visiting Microsoft’s YouthSpark website.

As technology continues to find its way into every aspect of our lives, computer science is a critical skill for all students to learn, regardless of what career they ultimately choose. The Wisconsin Technical College System provides a list of information technology careers and a video to learn more about IT careers.