MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Thousands of computer science-related jobs need to be filled in Alabama. To help, a new law will require all K-12 public schools offer computer science courses within the next three years.
“You go into any business, into any class, and any realm, you’re going to be using some sort of computer assisted engineering,” said Pike Road Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Ledbetter.
- Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, each public high school shall offer at least one authentic computer science course from a department approved list.
- Beginning in the 2021-2022 school year, each public middle school shall offer instruction in middle school computer science courses approved by the department.
- Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, each public elementary school shall offer instruction on the basics of computer science and computational thinking.
Nearly 60 percent of middle schools and high schools offer at least one computer science class.
“And so we’re going to be building a pipeline of people who are prepared for those jobs of the future,” said Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, who helped push the legislation.
Dr. Jeff Gray is the Co-chair of Governor Kay Ivey’s Computer Science Advisory Council. He said it is difficult to tell how many computer science jobs will need to be filled because the field is constantly changing.
“We need to make sure we fill that pipeline,” Gray said.
It’s estimated that local Alabama starting computer science jobs are around $70,000.
Alabama public schools have continued to offer more computer science courses. Only three schools had teachers offering the AP Computer Science course in 2007. In May of 2018 more than 1,200 students took the AP computer science exams.