Computer science programs growing in AL

Computer science growing in AL schools

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Computer science can affect many parts of your life, including the app on your phone or the car you drive. Gov. Kay Ivey is advocating for more computer science classes in Alabama schools.

At Eufaula High School, there has been a growing interest in computer science. The school has added more computer classes over the last three years.

"All students deserve the exposure and sometimes you see things like computer science and chess just for gifted kids. And all kids deserve the exposure so that they can decide if it's what they want to do or not," said Dr. Elisabeth Davis, the Superintendent of Eufaula City Schools.

Davis is also on the governor's Advisory Council for Computer Science Education. She says many jobs with computer science experience go unfilled.

"There's a huge demand for it and it's only going to grow based on where our world is. We are in a digital world," Davis said.

Halle Poole has taken computer science classes for a year at Eufaula High School.

"I love it," Poole said. "I really want to go into the more space, aerospace engineering type stuff. But I figured I definitely should minor in computer science.

Ivey said in 2016 there were 86 high schools with computer science classes. That number is now at 175.

Dr. Jeff Gray is a professor at the University of Alabama and the Co-Chair of Gov. Ivey's Computer Science Advisory Council. He gives a rough estimate of 4,000 computer science related jobs created in Alabama in the next five years.

These jobs pay a lot as well. For example, the median pay for a computer analyst is $82,710 according to Auburn University at Montgomery.

Gray said there are more students taking the AP exam for computer science and coming into college with experience. He said it is important that schools start teaching these classes.

"It's going to create a further gap for rural schools who that's under served that doesn't have the capability to bring that course versus the school in Huntsville," he said.

Gray is advocating for computer science courses in high school to bring awareness.

"We just want to make the kids know that this is out there," Gray said. "They may not like it, but at least they've seen it."

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