By Walt Leung

AP Computer Science.  AP Java.  APCS.  Whatever you call the class, a key problem remains at this campus: Piedmont Hills High School resides in the heart of Silicon Valley, but does not offer a computer science course.

The relationship of the 21st century will be defined by man and machine.  The binary system with its ones and zeros has already taken its place in society, and is continuing to expand its influence.  In medicine, researchers use Perl to sequence genomes.  In finance, investors implement HTML into online banking systems for clients.  In art, designers value Java to create a multitude of graphics.

Yet, computer science is an often misunderstood subject.  Ask the vast majority of the graduating senior class: many of us express a desire to major in some form of computer science in college, but only a handful have programming experience.  And once introduced in college, some find programming mundane and attempt to move into other subjects.  We are undoubtedly forced into this field, whether from parents in engineering fields or from industry leaders such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.  We learn subjects such as calculus and physics because we are told they resonate with computer science.  But if you stop and think, how can learning integration or special relativity be critical to writing C++?

By no means am I arguing that students cannot aimlessly walk into the world of computer science, find love for the subject, and succeed in their fields; many have done so in the past, and many will do so in the future.  But for the amount of preaching we receive on landing the ideal job that makes us happy, I find irony in the sheer amount that are willing to blindly pursue a path that they don’t even know the fundamentals of.  What if you had to spend the next four years of your life learning about Greek literature?  Or even worse, mathematics?  No offense to those whom actually love these subjects—I am merely expressing my interests.

Computing is a world built by the user, molded by the imagination.  It is the ultimate medium for expression, a platform free of limitation.  A computer science course will not just offer an opportunity to thousands of students at Piedmont Hills; it will also give college-bound students a chance to explore their interests.  Whether it’s Python, Java or MATLAB, computer science boasts an incredible range of versatility and practicality.  Fortunately, some teachers have begun to express interest in teaching a computer science class; Mr. Luc, for example, is willing to lead an AP Computer Science course as an experimental class for the 2016-2017 school year, and he needs at least 30 students to sign up.

Scheduling ends in a few days.  I strongly urge those whom wish to pursue an engineering-related field—and there are many—to sign up for computer science.  Thirty students may seem like a lot, but it’s only a fraction of the students that will check “Computer Science” on their UC applications.  Enroll in a class that will hopefully shed some light on your future, and it may turn into the most valuable choice of your high school career.


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