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December 8, 2013

Ready for Computer Science Education Week?

NORMAN — The Hour of Code is coming. It cannot be stopped. Resistance is futile. You may even decide to happily become assimilated.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, the Norman Public Library Computer Training Center is hosting a session of the Hour of Code, part of a massive campaign to recruit 10 million people to try one hour of computer science during Computer Science Education Week, which starts Monday. Call the library at 701-2697 to register.

“It’s a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify ‘code’ and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, an innovator,” said Nancy Rimassa, the library’s Computer Training Center manager. “We’ll provide a variety of self-guided tutorials that anybody can do, on a browser, tablet or smartphone. We’ll have plenty of staff on hand to show you the way and answer questions.”

Lest you think the Hour of Code is only for kids, consider the following: computer programming jobs are growing three times faster than future programmers entering the field, according to event organizers Code.org.

More than 50 percent of all projected math and science occupations are in computing occupations. Computing occupations are among the highest-paying jobs for new college graduates, yet fewer than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science. There are no age limits on graduating from college.

By the year 2020, there will be one million more computer science-related jobs than computer science students to fill those jobs. This will represent a $500 billion opportunity just waiting to be tapped. This also will represent a huge opportunity for women and minority groups.

Fewer than 20 percent of Advanced Placement computer science students are women. Fewer than 10 percent are Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino. In 2012, fewer than 3,000 African American and Hispanic students took the high school advanced placement computer science exam.

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