Computer science education is on the rise in Alabama as demand for jobs that require skill sets increases. Alabama is he one of the major states that funds several programs that prepare students.
Alabama’s Computer Science Program (CS4Alabama), launched three years ago, is one factor in the success of computer science education in Alabama’s schools.
And, according to UAB’s Computer Science Division, enrollment in computer science courses has nearly quintupled in the past two years. State educators also say they hope the continued investment will keep Alabama’s children engaged and ready to pursue careers in educational institutions. growing field.
“CS4Alabama continues to be a team effort with support from the Governor’s Office, Congress, ALSDE, as well as state universities and educational nonprofits,” said Amanda, a computer science specialist at the Alabama Department of Education. Dykes said. “A strong team, legislative, policy and teacher support have made the initiative so successful,” she said.
In 2019, CS4Alabama became the sixth state to achieve this by meeting all nine Code.org recommendations to improve computer science education and training in the state. That same year, Alabama passed certification to train more computer science educators, added funding for more professional development, and launched initiatives to mandate computer science in all schools. , has launched other initiatives to boost this area.
The site curriculum is used in 32% of elementary and high schools and 34% of middle schools. Below are the demographics of Alabama students using the Code.org curriculum for the last year.
- 54% attend schools in high need
- 42% attend rural schools
- 45% are female students
- 23% are Black/African American students
- 7% are Hispanic/Latino/Latino students
Yuliang Zheng, head of computer science at UAB, stresses the importance of preparing middle and high school teens for computer science college.
“UAB’s computer science program graduates are very popular with both industry and government,” said Zheng. “They are employed as cyber security specialists, software engineers, data scientists, IT system administrators, mobile app developers, and business application architects.”
According to Code.org, Alabama currently has 9,044 computing jobs with an average salary of $86,870.
Dawn Morrison, another computer science specialist at ALSDE, said:
“Schools need CS. The phased approach has made CS requirements more manageable.”
The Pathways for Alabama Computer Science program is an Alabama state grant that just completed its first year of outreach. This is his $2.3 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to establish statewide computer science pathways for high schools.
“The PACS grant is a partnership with the Alabama Department of Education, the University of Alabama, Haney Research Assessment, Tuskegee University, and AMSTI,” Morrison said.
“The research side of this grant is about the effectiveness of introducing computer science pathways into rural high schools in Alabama,” said Dykes. In the 2021-22 school year, she will have 1,195 students enrolled, and she expects this number to increase over the next few years.
“I encourage middle and high school students to take the computing courses offered by the school to develop an interest in computer science. I encourage you to do so. [the] Computing expertise goes hand in hand with grades in these courses. ”
“UAB’s computer science program enrollment has quintupled over the past few years. We recently welcomed over 1,250 new and returning students for the Fall 2022 semester. We have the largest CS program in the world,” he continued. “Another advantage specific to the computing profession is that more and more employers are offering remote and offsite work as an incentive to attract computing professionals. will greatly expand your options.”
The next steps for computer science education in Alabama include increasing elementary school requirements and student enrollment and CS pathway options in schools.
“Computer science instruction will be mandatory in all elementary schools from 2022 to 2023. When data for each district comes back on September 30, it will be easier to determine where support is most needed. ,” said Dykes. “More than 1,000 teachers were trained this summer through A+ College Ready, AMSTI, and Tech in Motion specialists in Alabama.”
The 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 Alabama CS Expansion Reports can be found at:
- Secondary schools offering CS courses = 367
- high school = 296
- middle school = 119
- Students enrolled in CS courses = 18,171
- Secondary schools offering CS courses = 514
- high school = 316
- Middle school = 336
- Students enrolled in CS courses = 35,709