Computing Skills are Falling Short

Today’s college grads grew-up using technology, with 20% beginning use between ages 5 and 8.1 It’s no wonder students think they’re “all set” in the tech department. However, employers tell a different story. Tech-savvy college grads are arriving in the workplace without the real-world computing skills they’ll need to use on day-one.

87% of students never learned Microsoft® applications outside of class

Grads Not Job-Ready

In an employer study about job readiness and tech skills, 62% said college graduates were unprepared for the workplace.2 This coincides with the steady decline in Intro Computing enrollments since 2010.3

The result: a millennial population where 91% think tech skills have not hurt their job prospects, despite 58% of them having difficulty solving problems using technology.4

This leaves 13 million low-skilled millennials unaware of this fixable barrier to their success.

“Millennials struggle to use digital tools and networks to solve relatively simple problems...We need to challenge the assumption that students are digital natives, so colleges can better serve them.”
Corinne Hoisington, Central Virginia Community College

Intro Computing is the Answer

The current gap in student technical skills has an obvious fix: Intro Computing. Taking Intro Computing fulfills most of the major skills employers seek6:

Oral and Written Communication

Oral and Written Communication

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office

Attention to Detail

Attention to Detail

Problem Solving

Problem Solving

Of these top four, all qualify as communication, productivity and presentation skills—skills that Intro Computing strengthens. Plus, greater software skills lead to higher salaries within the same occupations, and also qualify workers for jobs higher up in many fields.7

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Advocate for Computing with Cengage CAREs

Cengage Computing Analytics and Research in Education (CAREs) aims to change the perception that tech-savvy college students no longer need computing instruction. By measuring the computing competency of college students, we have data demonstrating the urgent student need for Intro Computing courses.





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average student score was 44%,

In our most recent study, the average student score was 44%, yet 71% of participants have never taken a college computing course. They should!

Learn about our work and what you can do to support computing education on your campus.

“Thanks for doing this. Students thought they knew more and are looking forward to the class and learning!”

Sandy Keeter, Seminole State

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Methodology for Cengage CAREs

Cengage works with OC&C Strategy Consultants, an international consulting firm with 30 years of experience unraveling important strategic questions. They conduct annual research among two- and four-year college students, assessing their computing competency. The most recent survey was administered between August - October, 2017 to 997 students, resulting in an average score of 44%.

1 Pew Internet & American Life Project. (2002). “The Internet goes to college”
2 Career Advisory Board
3 OC&C
5 OC&C
6 IDC White Paper sponsored by Microsoft, "Skills Requirements for Tomorrow’s Best Jobs – Helping Educators Provide Students with Skills and Tools They Need", Doc #243853, October 2013