Information Week spent a great deal of its July 17 issue discussing the IT workforce shortage and a variety of issues surrounding it. One of the articles, Computer Classes Seen as Shop Class” at Many Schools, discusses an area of the talent pipeline that is contributing to the image problem of IT. The article starts:
If a kid takes a computer networking class as an elective, will college admissions departments look at it in the same spirit as an advanced physics class–or more akin to wood shop?
It goes on to discuss the different types of computer related courses that can be offered and the constraints that high schools are under as well as an example of a company program that works with schools on computer curriculum. However, it then states the disparity that while some computer classes are in the advanced placement or honors curriculum, others are often in the technical/vocational curriculum which makes parents steer their college-bound children away.
The question is, of course, a much more complicated one than just whether or not computer courses should be considered honors or vocational in high school. But it does raise the issue of how invasive the image problem that computer science suffers can be and the depth of the problem that needs to be addressed.