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Michael Schutzler in GeekWire: “Computer science education is key to our future”

computer-science-classshutterstock_92873875-620x414WTIA CEO Michael Schutzler writes in GeekWire:

“The Seattle area is home to more software development engineers than any metropolitan area in the country. More than Boston. More than New York. More than San Francisco.

“When it comes to software, we are number one. Our deep talent pool in this field is one of the reasons why Apple, Google, Facebook, and so many other global tech powerhouse companies have opened large offices here.

“The impact on our region has been extraordinary. Each software engineering job has led to seven other jobs in the wider economy. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created in a time when most communities across the nation have struggled to maintain jobs.

“Thanks to our entrepreneurial vitality, we now create software engineering jobs about ten times faster than we produce grads qualified to take those positions. This makes us a top recruiter of software talent in the nation.

“Our investment in public education, however, has not kept pace. As a result, we have an access dilemma.

“One example of limited access is the University of Washington Computer Science program, one of the best in the world and the largest in our state by far. UW graduated less than 300 combined bachelors, masters and PhD students last year. Nearly 1000 students were interested and qualified to pursue a degree in Computer Science – but we did not have the classrooms or faculty available to teach them …

“Legislators must now fund additional computer science capacity. In the near term, the focus must be on doubling the University of Washington Computer Science program and sensible expansion at a few other universities. Next, we must make computer science available to all Washington public school students at least in high school if not before. And our job is not complete until our software engineering workforce reflects the diversity in our community.”

Read more here.

Learn about two recent initiatives to address the issue here and here.