Cracking the Code


by Matthew Zilvetti

I am writing this letter to the editor to write about a large gap that I see in our high school education. While almost all jobs today require that students have a solid background in computer science, Glen Rock High School does little to help prepare students for these careers. It is extremely important that the technology classes in Glen Rock High School are greatly improved so that these students have the skills they need to enter today’s workforce.

Computer skills, especially programming, are extremely important to know in today’s world, where computers and technology are a critical piece in almost every field. On the most basic level, knowledge of computer software like Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc, is necessary in every field today. Glen Rock Middle School and their technology classes take this process a step further, teaching students how to use these programs like Paint, Photoshop, and Publisher to their full capacity. This prepares students for high school, college, and possibly even their future careers. However, most jobs require more technological ability than knowing how to use programs.

Hadi Partovi, the creator of, estimates that over 1 million jobs go unfilled each year because few people know how to program computers. In today’s economy, it can be difficult for somebody just out of college to find a job. Being able to read and write computer programs can be a valuable asset to anyone looking for a job. The earlier they start learning, the better.

Glen Rock High School currently has three web design courses that teach students how to build a website. These students learn how to use HTML, CSS, and eventually learn how to use languages that are more complex like PHP, JavaScript, and ActionScript. However, these classes take the wrong approach. Instead of learning all the capabilities of a language, the students focus on specific uses of the language to run part of a website. The objective that needs to be met is to teach students how a programming language works, and the many different uses that it has.

Languages like Java (not JavaScript), C (including C#, C++, and Objective C), and Python, are all considered the most popular programming languages today. Learning languages like these can greatly increase one’s chances of getting a job in the future. Furthermore, the general principles for programming languages are similar. A student who learns a complex language like C++ or Java will not have a difficult time learning python, ruby, PHP, or any other easier language.

Programming isn’t a hard skill to learn. All it requires is basic math, English, and technology skills. All of which the students at Glen Rock already have when they enter the high school. There is no reason why, then, that a programming class would not be available to all students, as long as they were willing to learn.

I believe that learning to program a computer is a necessary tool in today’s world of technology, where almost everything we do is run by computers. Without a class that teaches the fundamentals of programming, the students that pass through Glen Rock High School will be at a disadvantage when they are looking to apply for a job. Therefore, I think it is very important that a Programming class be offered at Glen Rock High School.