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Reading, writing and computer coding — the basics of the future

By 2020, there will be more than 1 million computer jobs than computer science students.

By chance, Joshua Williams is considering a career in computer programming.

A sophomore at North Crowley High School, Williams needed an elective and there was room in a Computer Science I class.

He signed up and now he’s a student of writing code, embracing a language and culture he previously didn’t know existed.

“At first, I was just placed in this class,” said Williams, 15. “But after exploring programs and building games, I’m really considering becoming a computer scientist.”

Williams and a growing number of other students are learning to code, but many entrepreneurs, celebrities and educators — from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to actor Ashton Kutcher to pro basketball player Chris Bosh — are pushing for computer coding to join the ranks of reading, writing and arithmetic.

Gates and Bosh tout the need for learning code — writing or designing computer programs — in schools in a video for Code.org, a nonprofit that stresses the need for more computer education.

“A lot of people are scared of it because they think it is a math,” said Hadi Partovi, an entrepreneur and founder of Code.org “It’s a lot more fun than math.”

It makes sense for students to learn more about computers because they are a part of our everyday life, experts said.

“Nearly everything nowadays is based on computers and computer processing,” said Carter Tiernan, an assistant dean at the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Engineering. “My car has a computer in it. My washing machine has a computer chip in it.”

See Page 2 for details on why a computer science expert says the U.S. is falling behind technologically…

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