Earlier this year, the president included in his fiscal 2017 budget proposal a 4 billion request to make computer science a new "basic skill." The Education Department is prioritizing coding programs through a new experiment that allows students to tap federal financial aid to help pay for them. The private sector is prioritizing the issue as well, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into increased access to computers, computer science and broadband internet. Even toy manufacturers are getting in on it, dreaming up toys aimed at teaching children as young as 3 to think like a computer coder.
Notably, as with many courses taken during one's educational career, computer science also teaches many generalizable skills. Computer science is much more than learning to code, and its benefits go beyond knowing a particular programming language. Computer science teaches students about logic, understanding systems and engineering and design basics, all of which are applicable to other academic and career fields. Perhaps this is why correlational data show that learning computer science is associated with higher math achievement. Computer science coursework also naturally lends itself to 21st century skills like collaboration, problem-solving and creativity, which are valuable and highly sought-after skills in the modern workplace.
Want a computer that doesn't take up a good sized chunk of your desk? Here are a selection of PCs running a variety of operating systems -- Windows, Linux, Android, and Mac -- with price tags and system specifications to suit all needs. All the above computers are small enough that you can hold them in your hand, and many offer features such as fanless cooling and the ability to be used for embedded projects.