In a recent article by Arik Hesseldahl he writes that jobs in the technology industry are increasing in numbers and the salary just keeps getting better, so high school and college students should think about majoring in either computer science or engineering to be ready to get a job with computers. When I first read this article my initial reaction was that: a) I don’t need another person telling me my English literature degree is worthless, and b) that it would have been very poignant fifteen years ago when we were pretty sure this whole internet thing might take off. However, one very staggering statistic presented is that there is a, “20% drop in the number of students completing degrees in computer-related fields, and the number of students enrolling in these programs is the lowest it’s been in 10 years…” (Computing Research Assn.) Now this isn’t fifteen years ago and we all know the importance and job opportunities that technology presents, so why as Americans are we so unwilling to see the reproductions in the lack of interest in tech jobs from our youth?
The problem starts in our schools. With cutbacks taking place across the board in education many schools are left without any sort of technology at all, and anyone who has skill in either science or math can make a lot more money doing something other than teaching. Bringing computers and internet connections into schools is important, but it is completely worthless without the proper education behind it. The solution then comes from making teaching jobs more competitive in the market. As it stands right now, if someone majors in either English or history they have very few job opportunities after college, so teaching becomes a reasonable solution; however if you major in a science or mathematics you can make significantly more money elsewhere even if you aren’t very good at what you do. So as it stands right now schools are much more likely to get better history or English teachers than science or mathematics teachers, so children are going to be naturally inclined to like the humanities more. By bringing more money into a teacher’s salary we are going to see better skilled math and science teachers, and then a larger job pool and more properly trained employees in the technology field.
If we don’t act, and act fast, America will soon be surpassed as the most powerful country in the world simply because we didn’t want to pay the taxes to give our children the tools to compete in the modern world. Other countries like India see the progression of the world and are staying on top of it while we quickly fall behind. Many companies bring in foreign employees not only because they are more readily available but because they are simply better; they are better trained and have a stronger work ethic than the majority of people here. If our priorities aren’t changed, we will soon be known as the once great nation of America. But if it’s any consolation, at least the poetry written about our past importance and excellence will be very well done.