With rural areas struggling, computer science education may be a part of the answer for re-invigorating our communities. At DevSquared, we want to be a leader in the region for these initiatives.
Small town America is struggling. 73% of rural counties have more people move out than stay in, with an exodus of young people being at the forefront of those leaving. There is a tremendous movement of youth to metropolitan areas due to job opportunities, better wages, more available activities, and an overall perception that “that’s the thing to do.”
Our state of Kansas has been hit hard by this trend. Predominantly rural Crawford county, where we are headquartered, is the poorest county in the state so we get to see it firsthand. However, even with these trends, there are reasons to be hopeful. Recent projects, such as Block 22 , as well as recent positive economic numbers for communities such as Pittsburg, are indicators that there are communities that can buck the trends.
We cannot remain complacent however, as there are still many struggles to overcome for communities that are not as fortunate. What else can we do to make a difference? Computer science education for K-12 may hold part of the answer. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, software development jobs are projected to increase 24% from 2016 to 2020. This may even be conservative, given the current rise in automation, AI, and the continued digital convergence of every aspect of our lives. At DevSquared, we experience first hand on a continual basis the need for good software developers everywhere we go. We can’t keep up with the demand and are ourselves in constant search of high-quality software development professionals to join our team.
What if we started to emphasize programming and computer science topics the same way that we emphasize math, reading, and writing in K-12? Preparing K-12 students for a bachelor’s degree in computer science, or even in some cases entering the workforce immediately as a programmer could bring big benefits to rural communities. Why? Remote work. At some companies, as much as 15% of the development workforce is remote. When you couple this with the fact that the average programmer’s job pays six figures (with salaries rising fast), professional developers who choose to work remotely while living in a rural community can bring a large economic stimulus to those areas. More dollars in our small towns and rural communities means more local businesses, a higher quality of life, and less reasons for people of all ages to move away.
It’s also worth noting that, most of our current K-12 kids will be working in jobs when they graduate that haven’t even been invented yet. While we may not know what those jobs are, they will most likely be related to technology, and a strong foundation in computer science will undoubtedly help to prepare them for the future.
As a company that builds software and has chosen to be headquartered in and service a predominantly rural area, we’ve made it a part of our core mission to educate anyone we can about software development, especially youth, and software developers who are just getting their start. We do this because we firmly believe in the positive impact that this can have on our local community.
To fulfill this mission, we’re launching a series of initiative over the next several months to bolster computer science education in our community. The first of these will be a series of coding camps for K-12 kids, held at Block 22 in Pittsburg KS. You can find information about those camps here. Registration will be available soon. We will share more information about second initiative, SEK Dev Connect, in the coming weeks as well.
Want us to come talk to your organization, students, or
anyone else about programming or other computer science topics? Don’t ever
hesitate to reach out. DevSquared is here to provide top-quality software
development and consulting services, but we’re also here to make our community
and state a better place!