What Last Night’s Big State of the Union Announcement Means for Tech

by Collin Webb on January 13, 2016

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State of the Union AddressSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty ImageThe overall theme of President Obama’s final State of the Union Address was one of reflection, but the President also addressed a number of proposals for his last year in office that we found particularly exciting. While some viewers were not quite as enthralled by the President’s last update, we wanted to highlight a couple of points that could be critical to the immediate future of the IT industry.

 

 

Strong State of the Economy

President Obama began his address with the very positive proclamation that, “the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world.” This announcement comes on the heels of a very positive job market update from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 292,000 jobs were added in the month of December, contributing to the total of 14 million jobs that have been created over the past two years. President Obama confirmed that these have been, “the strongest two years of job growth since the 1990s.” As we have noted over the past few months, the Professional, Scientific, and Technical sector of the labor market has continued to excel in decreasing unemployment rates and creating job opportunities.

A Call for Increased Computer Science Education

While the IT industry continues to impress in terms of rates of employment, there has been a growing concern over STEM skills gaps due to a lack of proper education. In December, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke to a group of New York third graders about the importance of a computer science education. He said that schools do not currently put nearly enough emphasis on computer science and expressed his hope that coding would one day become a required class for elementary school students. Last night, the very first proposal that President Obama put forward during his address about his final year in office was to “[help] students learn to write computer code.” The goal of the President’s efforts are to have students take part in classes that will have them ready to excel in theirs jobs on Day 1. While establishing a comprehensive computer science curriculum in public schools nationwide will certainly be a challenge, the announcement of this proposal is a very exciting step in the right direction for the continued development of our industry.

Insight from Elsewhere

News outlets were all over the topic of technology and jobs during the State of the Union. Here are some other great recaps of important topics discussed during the President’s address:

NPR: The President Wants Every Student to Learn Computer Science. How Would That Work?

For some time, President Obama has relayed the importance of STEM education and the current and future need for incorporation in our public school curriculum. Taking real student/teacher perspectives into consideration, NPR portrays the real-life implications of technology education.

CNN: Solar Energy Jobs Double in 5 Years

With solar jobs exceeding coal employment, the future looks bright within the energy sector. Requiring skilled tech workers, the solar industry is now employing 209k workers and is actively extending training opportunities. Taking an active look at growth and longterm potential, CNN reveals the potential economic impact.

Mashable: Obama Touts Technology as the Answer to America’s Ills in State of the Union

Although Obama has historically clashed with Silicon Valley over tech regulations, he took a hard stance on the importance of tech innovation in the State of the Union. Examining these statements with recent White House initiatives to counter tech terrorism, the Mashable article alludes to the expanding need of IT Security professionals.

Share your thoughts!

So what do you think about President Obama’s proposal for increased computer science education? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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