Friday, June 05, 2009

We Need More Programmers

Lack of Programming Skills Puts U.S. Security at Risk
The former head of the U.S. Air Force Cyber Command believes the lack of interest in computer programming among U.S. youth is creating a very serious vulnerability in the nation's security.

The lack of American kids who actually know how to program computers is resulting a shortage of "cybersoldiers," according to Air Force General Robert Elder, who told author and media studies professor Douglas Rushkoff that the U.S. could find itself surpassed in cyberskills within the span of a single generation.

"General Elder has no problem attracting recruits ready to operate robots or fly drones using controllers modeled after the ones that come with the Sony PlayStation. Hell, they love playing videogames already," Rushkoff wrote on The Daily Beast. "His problem is finding high-school graduates with any experience or interest in actually programming all this stuff."

Rushkoff said U.S. kids aspire to become game designers while kids in India, China and Russia are learning how to write the code that will actually run those games. As a result, he wrote, "Our competitiveness in war, as well as in the high-tech market, is already being propped up by outsourcing contracts only as durable as the bank loans they're being funded with."
[Emphasis added -MQ]

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