We Need CS Because Jobs, Part 2

Oy. Sitting down to write tonight’s post, I’m realizing, is the first time I’ve sat down (well, other than on my bike) in sixteen hours now, and the long post I’d been drafting in my head is just not going to happen tonight.

Instead, I’m going to leave you with this article from Wired that neatly ties together a number of threads from yesterday.  Remember all those tech jobs there aren’t Americans to fill? We’ve been dealing with some of that workload – quality assurance, in particular – by outsourcing it to countries like India and China. However, software testing prices overseas are rising. As overseas software testers cease to charge rock-bottom prices, the article explains, the tradeoff of low cost for inefficiencies of time differences and language barriers are becoming less worthwhile to, well, anybody with software to test.  The article profiles a handful of people working toward “urban onshoring,” an attempt to transform struggling communities by bringing tech jobs to them.

Sure, a lot of jobs still are outsourced; sure, testing may not be the most glamorous software job in the world (for the record, though, the article addresses both of those concerns). However – and this is what really grabbed me about this piece – it’s a job with a starting salary of $35,000 a year that requires only eight weeks of training, even for people without college degrees. Given that, what could students be ready to do after eight years of regular computing instruction in schools? We’ve seen a lot of push in the last decade to get more students into college; however, we’ve also seen student debt increase steadily to a national total of $1.2 trillion and the economic disparity grow rather than shrink. What if, instead of pushing everyone to go to college, we equipped them to finish high school employable in jobs more lucrative than waiting tables and making lattes?

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