Nurturing our Computer Science Talent
Published Mar 19 2021 10:20 AM 2,216 Views

By Eric Horvitz, Chief Scientific Officer


It’s that time of year when computer science educators from across the world come together to exchange ideas at the ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium. With the accelerating sophistication and influence of computing technologies comes a critical need: Computer science education. The work of computer science educators is essential in educating and inspiring our up-and-coming computer scientists.


It’s inspiring to see the innovative ways that the teaching of computer science is evolving.  And it’s heartening to see the soaring popularity of computer science. Computer science is now considered a noble profession, much like medicine and law have been viewed over the decades. Record numbers of college students are choosing computer science as their major. 


Beyond serving as a path to a career in computer science, CS education provides key pathways into professions like biomedicine, aerospace, chemistry, physics, and the social sciences—places where computing is not peripheral, but where it has become a central part of the disciplines.


With great power and influence, comes great responsibility. Today, computing advancements are framing hard questions about the influence of computing technologies on people and society, including issues around safety, privacy, civil liberties, civil rights, access to technology, and the fairness of systems. Important questions have come to the fore about the outsized influence of computing technologies on our patterns of attention, on the information that we consume, and how we spend our time. These questions and issues are growing to become an important part of computer science education. It’s wonderful to see CS educators developing and including formal content on values, ethics, and responsibilities.  


All of us can remember that moment in our life when an inner voice whispered: This is what I like doing! This is who I am. This is who I will be. Educators play such a central role for students on this path of discovery. They are not only the source of knowledge—they are the source of students’ self-knowledge, the spiritual guides behind the rising spirits. Educators play such an important role with clarity and creativity with teaching, including insightful artistry with the sequencing of concepts via curricula.


From all of us at Microsoft, I’d like to extend a huge thank you! to computer science educators across the world.  Thank you for the magic you bring to the classrooms, the engaging ideas, and the way you motivate, encourage, and excite computer science students.  


(From opening remarks at SIGCSE Technical Symposium)

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