National Computer Science Education Week: December 5-11

Headline: National Computer Science Education Week: December 5-11

Subhead: Universities across the country promote fastest growing career field

The idea that computer science involves nerdy men, sitting alone behind monochrome terminals doing boring work is very far from the truth. In reality, there are all types in the field ranging from mathematicians to artists to environmentalists and entrepreneurs.

In recognition of the field, more than two dozen computer science departments from every province have planned activities the week of December 5-11, which marks the first Computer Science Education Week held in Canada. At Queen’s University, the School of Computing will offer an opportunity to see the amazing research projects undertaken by their faculty and students.  The Open House is open to everyone and we expect a couple hundred people will attend.  There will be research demonstrations in Goodwin Hall, at the EQUIS Lab (140 Collingwood Street) and the Human Media Lab (third floor of Jackson Hall).

It’s a field hungry for graduates. The demand is so high, that students are getting multiple job offers,” says Dr. Ken Barker, the president of the Canadian Association of Computer Science / Association d’Informatique Canadienne.

“Students live and breathe computers from YouTube and their iPods to Facebook and instant messaging but they don’t realize how much more there is to learn about the science of computing and how much of an advantage that extra knowledge could be in so many different careers,” adds Barker, a computer science professor and the Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary.

Unfortunately, while enrolment in most institutions has recovered after a few slow years following the dot-com bust, it is nowhere near where it needs to be to meet the demand.

Projections by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) in its 2008-2015 outlook suggest that by 2015 up to 179,000 new ICT jobs approximately will be created. The study notes that half of these jobs will require a university education. A further 30 per cent will require college training.  It says that the number of students graduating will not meet the demand of employers.

In its report, ICTC notes that occupations in the ICT industry are desirable careers that drive innovation and social change in our communities.  “The impact of these careers needs to be communicated to attract workers from all disciplines.  ICTC believes that current enrolment levels must be maintained and increase at levels that match the changes in demand. ICTC believes that encouragement for elementary and secondary school students to take math and science is crucial, not only for the ICT labour market, but for Canada as a whole.”

More than two dozen computer science departments across Canada are holding events from Dec. 5 to Dec. 11 to highlight the variety of job prospects and educational opportunities at universities. The events taking place during Computer Science Education week range from open houses to public lectures and hands-on activities.

“Many of these events are designed to inspire high school students about the exciting ideas in Computer Science and its connections to so many other disciplines,” says Michelle Craig, the co-ordinator of the Canadian Computer Science Education Week and senior lecturer at University of Toronto.

For more information about the events taking place across the country: http://www.cacsaic.ca/computerscience_educationweek_2010 Website Contact: mcraig@cs.toronto.edu

For the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) report:  http://www.ictc-ctic.ca/uploadedFiles/ICTC_Outlook_e_Summary.pdf

Media Contact:

Dr. Selim Akl,

Director, School of Computing

(613)533-6000 ext 77468

akl@cs.queensu.ca

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