Computer Science Access in Iowa is on the Rise

The 2023 State of CS Report was released in the fall and thanks to the legislative requirements and everyone’s hard work Iowa rose to the Top Ten in student access to computer science. Let’s celebrate that great news and hard work, and then look to the work we still have to do.

Central Rivers AEA has been working very closely with school districts to help them meet the new state requirements that have made this possible. State law required districts to offer a computer science course at the high school level last year and computer science instruction at the elementary and middle schools levels this year.  Central Rivers AEA has been working with school districts to create their required district computer science plan, and providing professional development and coaching for teachers in this new content area, helping them understand the standards, available curriculum, best instructional practices, and tools and resources that can be used in the classroom.  As teachers work to better prepare themselves to teach computer science at all grade levels, Central Rivers AEA has also partnered with UNI to provide teachers with the classes for the Computer Science Teaching Endorsement, for free. 

The reason for this push is an explosion of computer science in our lives.  In the last five years the number of devices, the access to high-speed internet, and the reach of computer science has grown at a staggering speed as it is now in virtually every aspect of our lives from our cars and kitchen appliances to the advertising we see on social media and the the internet. The release of ChatGPT and other AI tools have continued to increase our use of computer science whether or not we are aware of it.

As we struggle to adapt to how technology is impacting our lives so is industry.  According to the State of Computer Science Education Report from and other organizations, so far in 2023, there has been an average of 4,641 open computing jobs each month.  These jobs have an average salary of $91,730.

Learning computer science is more than just learning how to program computers.  It is that, but it is also learning about how computers are put together and function, and how networks and the internet function to relay our information. Computer science also studies how computers and technology have impacted our society and how they may impact our society in the future. The last piece of computer science is learning about how to structure, work with, and understand data which is especially important as our use of artificial intelligence grows.