On the ROM Path

I rely on technology, as do all Andover students. In this digital age, we cannot live up to our potential without the computers, tablets, cell phones and other devices that surround us, yet most of us do not even know how these gadgets work. It is imperative that our generation understands the technology that is so indispensable to us so that we can effectively harness and utilize it. Andover needs to educate its students on the uses and capabilities of technology by making Computer Science a required course. In the October 4 issue of The Phillipian, Tyler Lian ’16 wrote, “To pique student interest, Andover should strive to broaden the scope of computer science classes.” He continues, adding that computer science courses should be made a diploma requirement for graduation. I agree with this, and would even go so far to say that changing the diploma requirements is not only a good idea—it is a necessity. Technology is the focal point of today’s world, tying together not only mathematics and science, but also the economy, government and industry. In his article, Lian writes, “In the 21st century, technology is the new byword for innovation and progress. Employment in all computer occupations is expected to increase 22 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics… yet, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Education, the percentage of high schoolers taking computer science has fallen from 25 percent to 19 percent since 1990.” These statistics show that the students who took computer science courses in the 90s contributed to the current tech boom, becoming top engineers and innovators in technology-related industries. A decrease in the number of students taking computer science now will lead to slower technological advances in the future, a real threat that we are facing. A decline in the growth rate of technology would likely lead to a smaller job market and a weaker economy overall. This may seem overly dramatic, but the future of the technology industry is in the hands of our generation. To argue that Computer Science should not be a required course ignores the fact that computer science has broad applications far beyond the technology industry. Claiming that a computer science class is only relevant to future programmers is like saying that only individuals interested in becoming writers should take English. Outside of the technology industry, computer science has applications everywhere. Take world communication as an example. Not only has computer science improved accessibility from a technological perspective, but computer science allows messages to be exchanged in a secure environment. Encryption is a major security advance, and understanding how it works requires computer science. Technology is becoming more ingrained in our lives with each generation, and if we want to ensure a future in which technology continues to develop, we need to prepare students now. Leaps made in the technology sector can greatly improve all aspects of human life. But as of now the number of students who receive this preparation is declining every year. Though it may seem radical, making computer science a requirement is a necessary change. By making computer science a required course, Andover will help its students pave the road to the future.