Computer Science Education and the Implications for Small Business

By Nathan Van Ness, Xerox Corp.

A recent Seattle Times story discusses the current lack of computer science course offerings in our public school system’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curricula. More importantly, the story also profiles an ex-Microsoft manager and current venture capitalist who, with his deep pockets and help from his brother, is trying to do something about it.

Why is this important to small businesses? Because even companies that aren’t high-tech in nature rely on technology to help them gain efficiencies, promote their products or services, store and analyze data, collaborate with business associates, etc. Without a large enough pool of local computer-science talent, many small businesses are forced to outsource their IT needs. And outsourcing, as discussed in a Houston Chronicle story, often has its own unique set of challenges that can negatively affect your small business.

I’d love to receive feedback about the sorts of issues you’ve encountered with regard to America’s lack of early-education offerings in computer-science disciplines. Have you had trouble finding qualified applicants for IT-related positions? If so, how has that impacted your business?

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One Comment

  1. Marisa January 23, 2013 - Reply

    There are plenty of qualified applicants but I work in a school that would really love to teach more computer science classes and other technology related courses. But school budgets are LOW country-wide unless you’re lucky enough to be in a well-endowed school.

    The hard part is not only hiring the right IT personnel to manage all the technology at a fair salary, but also affording all the technology needed to teach that subject and pretty much most others as well. It’s a struggle that only promises to grow over the years and outsourcing isn’t a fair solution.

    These kids will be your staff in the not-too-distant future.

  2. Nathan Van Ness January 23, 2013 - Reply

    Marisa, thank you for your thoughtful comment. Your experience in education and with the budgetary limitations therein reinforces the need for business leaders, such as those profiled in the Seattle Times piece, to step up and help our schools evolve.

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