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A Need for Interdisciplinary STEM Education

Cengage
Cengage

If you follow our blog, and what we post in our Computing forum, you know about the current Skills Gap - the unfilled tech jobs and how companies are losing $1 Million each year because of it.

 

But could these stats actually be higher than what's reported? The US Bureau of Labor Stastistics organizes their Occupational Handbook in a very modular way -- Computer Programmers, Dental Hygienist, Marketing Manager, Computer Network Engineers, etc. I went to the dentist last week, and the Office Manager used a computer, the Hygienist used a computer and the dentals used a computer and a tablet.

 

I'm a marketer and I use a computer every second of the day -- from Excel to WordPress. Could all jobs be considered STEM jobs? To address the skills gap, tech skills must be incorporated throughout other disciplines that maybe aren't what we traditionally consider STEM.

 

An interesting fact from Change the Equation: Approximately 8 million Americans use computer skills at their jobs, roughly double what the Bureau of Labor Statistics would have classified as STEM computing jobs. Read the article here.

Stephen_J_Padilla
Mentor

As I was performing my last job search, I was finding a huge number of IT positions in San Antonio that require a background in medical work.  To me, it was quite the interesting juxtaposition.  Historically, some emplyers will advertise a job with "computer skills" as one of the requirements.  Now, there are computer jobs listing non-computer skills as requirements!

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Cengage
Cengage

And this is why I love this Computing Forum! @Stephen_J_Padilla , I hadn't thought of that -- STEM jobs requiring non-STEM skills. 

 

But now that I think about it, I recently read an article about what Google employees say all tech students need to succeed in the work force -- clear written and verbal communication skills, a desire to constantly learn and problem solving skills -- that absolutely trancends all education disciplines and ultimately career fields, right?! 

Stephen_J_Padilla
Mentor

I live in a part of the country where ELLs are having a significant impact on the use of English, but the worst of it still doesn't top what is being done with things like chatspeak and alternative spellings.  In fact, the use of incorrect alternative spellings is confusing the ELLs and degrading their ability to assimilate!

Scholar

I'm definitely considering developing a new course for all the AA students to take called Interdisciplinary Computing - do any of you offer something like that at your colleges?

Cengage
Cengage

@Stephen_J_Padilla not sure if you saw Sandy's response to your last comment.  Also, chatspeak?? What is that?

 

@Sandy_Keeter how close are you to developing this course? Maybe this is something Cengage could shadow you on as a Case Study or Success Story? I think this is a real need across the board!! 

Stephen_J_Padilla
Mentor

@CassieC,  chatspeak is when people write like this:  "r u ok?" and "c u l8r"

 

Scholar

Not close to developing, sorry!  Still in the "chat" phase with Dean, VP and other Departments on where Office Apps classes are headed.  I tossed it out at our Welcome Back this semester as a way to revive the current course and get other areas to require it..:).  Will keep you informed!

Stephen_J_Padilla
Mentor

Before I got this job as an IT instructor, the VA put me in a program where I earned Microsoft Office Specialist certifications in Word 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Excel 2016, and Office 2016.  When I was taking the exams, I was informed that these are becoming requirements at community colleges for Intro to Computing instructors.  Have any of you in this forum heard of such?

Scholar

Not required at our college...

eshepard
Valued Contributor

Not required by our college but encouraged. I only teach one class a year that uses all the apps though.