What is computer science?
“As the foundation for all computing, computer science is defined as “the study of computers
and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their
applications, and their impact on society” (Tucker et. al, 2006, p. 2).”
K-12 computer science includes five core concept areas: computing systems, networks and the
internet, data and analysis, algorithms and programming, and impacts of computing.
Computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) are foundational skills in STEM, and
are also valuable in many non-STEM careers.
Why is computer science so important?
“There were nearly 8.6 million STEM jobs in May 2015, representing 6.2 percent of U.S.
employment. Computer occupations made up nearly 45 percent of STEM employment, and
engineers made up an additional 19 percent. [...] Seven out of the ten largest STEM
occupations were computer related [...]
“Employment in STEM occupations grew by 10.5 percent, or 817,260 jobs, between May 2009
and May 2015, compared with 5.2 percent net growth in non-STEM occupations. Computer
occupations and engineers were among the types of STEM occupations with the highest job
AP exam participation is one indicator of student participation in CS. Only 3% of core-STEM AP
exams (and only 1% of all AP exams) taken in NH in 2016 were Computer Science. More
exposure, starting at a younger age is required to improve this.
More information is available in our FAQs
Our K12 general FAQ is a very concise (not complete) overview of Computer Science for K-12.
Our CS certification FAQ includes information relevant to current or prospective teachers interested in teaching Computer Science.
Director of STEM Education