Why App Developers Need to Take Action for Tech Education

April 29, 2016 - 3 minutes read

computer science for iPhone app developers

Job creation is at the top of the agenda for fixing the economy, yet half a million US-based IT and mobile app development jobs went unfilled in 2015. It’s certainly not for lack of pay (the average salary for iPhone app developers hovers around $90,000).

What’s at the root of the problem? Education.

In spite of the importance of tech to the American economy, few-to-no public schools offer any computer science courses below the college level. Meanwhile, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education lags far behind other developed nations, leaving students unprepared for serious engineering challenges even if the do decide to pursue careers as mobile app developers once they reach college.

Obviously, this is a huge problem. The tech industry is showing no sign of slowing down, and as mobile software becomes more and more important to day-to-day life, communities that support and nurture their local tech talent stand to reap huge rewards. The revitalization of formerly troubled urban centers within cities like Chatanooga, Las Vegas, and Chicago stand testament to the economic potential of the mobile app development industry. The question is: how quickly will the US government make the education policy changes necessary to take advantage of this in the long run?

Mobile app developers across the US are lobbying congress, signing petitions, and volunteering their time to make sure the US catches up on tech education. At AppCon16, leading developers lobbied for $250 million in funding to promote K–12 computer science education. Petitions like this one from Change.org find massive public approval, earning support from politicians, CEOs, and education activists alike.

While supporting tech education seems like an obvious move, the movement faces danger in the form of local and national government officials with limited exposure to digital technology. Speakers at AppCon16 lamented the difficulty of explaining tech policy needs to governors still using flip phones, and lack of understanding on the part of school officials has lead to the current informal “boot camp” system for mobile app development education.

Nevertheless, with iPhone app developers in NYC and across the US campaigning for education reform, the outlook is bright for the tech industry’s future. It’s our hope that every mobile company and tech startup will use their platform to spread the word about tech education and make computer science education a norm for K–12 students nationwide.

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