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CS Overview

What is Computer Science?

As the foundation for all computing, computer science (CS) is defined as 
“the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their [implementation], and their impact on society.” 1

CS is often confused with simply using computers and other aspects of computing.

Compare and contrast CS with other aspects of computing.

Why Teach Computer Science?

A Priority for PA

Over the next decade, most good paying jobs in Pennsylvania will require some form of education or training after high school, especially in the fast-growing fields of STEM and computer science.

As detailed by the PAsmart Initiative, the field of computer science is rapidly growing in Pennsylvania. On average, compared to other fields, there are more STEM and CS jobs available, with higher salaries.


  • There are over 17,000 unfilled CS jobs (4x the average in PA)
  • The average salary for a CS job is $89,590 (average salary in PA: $50,030)

Why else?

There are many reasons for CS education, shaped by personal and shared values. 

Find your “Why” with CSforAll’s CS Visions toolkit. (The CS Visions Quiz is a great starting point.) The toolkit includes stand-alone materials adapted from CSforAll SCRIPT workshop activities. 

Go further by engaging your LEA in SCRIPT

“Why CS?” Resources

Moving Beyond Computer Literacy: Why Schools Should Teach Computer Science (NCWIT)


Resources in the CS Teacher Toolkit adhere to these principles:

Framework Informed: Content (what teachers teach) is informed by the K-12 CS framework.

Standards-Aligned: Objectives (how students demonstrate CS knowledge and skills) are aligned to the Pennsylvania-endorsed CSTA CS standards. 

Infused with Computational Thinking: Computational Thinking (CT) is a fundamental skill for everyone. CT is a problem-solving thinking process that can be promoted and integrated in CS classrooms. 

Universally Designed: The design and delivery of lessons is grounded in the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework to provide equitable access to CS for all students. 

Pedagogically Supported: Lessons are designed and delivered through sound pedagogical strategies. 

Embedded with Assessments: In light of UDL, formative and summative assessments support students in setting goals and monitoring their progress. Multiple options for expression are provided.

Connected Across Curricula: CS is integrated and taught in a meaningful context that connects other subjects across curricula. 

Supplemented with Age-Appropriate Technology: CS learning is not tool-centric but is supported by age-appropriate technology.

Connected to Physical Making: Coding does not happen in isolation; hands-on activities with physical tools helps learners construct and visualize knowledges

Supporting Research

1 “Defining Computer Science.” The K-12 Computer Science Framework, (2020). https://k12cs.org/defining-computer-science/ 


How does CS fit into the wider world of STEM education?

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education is an integrated, interdisciplinary, and student-centered approach to learning that encourages curiosity, creativity, artistic expression, collaboration, computational thinking, communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and design thinking.

Typically, CS is described as:

  • one, but not the only, component of the T (technology) in STEM
  • a priority in a comprehensive STEM education plan

In order to provide the best and most current resources and information, we continually revise our CSinPA Toolkits. You can contribute to the toolkit by submitting your questions, revisions, or resources using this form.