Official, provable, corporate funded marketing lies from Code.org

Official, provable, corporate funded marketing lies from Code.org

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Code.org is funded by the tech industry. They are a lobbying group that wants more K-12 students spending time studying “computer science” and less time spent on other subjects. (It is never presented that way but if more time is spent studying X then less time is going to be spent studying Y – they rarely say what courses we should drop.)

They have this poster on their web site (link below). The information presented ranges from outright lying to misleading. Can you spot the lie?

The lie is the 544,449 computing jobs open nationwide[1]. That is a model forecast of the total number of new hires expected over the 10 year period from 2014 to 2014. There are not now, and never have been, 544,449 jobs open. In reality, the forecast is for an annual growth rate over the ten year period of 54,445 jobs – per year!

Now compare that to the 49,291 figure and then see footnote [1] below. Further, the 49,291 figure is hopelessly out of date. In fact, there were over 60,000 such degrees granted in 2015.

They were called out for this lie back in 2017, but online, a propaganda lie will live forever. In fact, code.org has almost certainly had this figured quoted in the news media since then (I’m not going to spend my time searching for it). Back in the dot com/dot bombed era, the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) made a misleading claim of there being 1.6 million IT jobs open. This was picked up by the since bankrupted ITT Technical Institute in a long running ad campaign. The claim was a straight up lie. The ITAA actually forecast they industry would see 1.2 million workers leave/change jobs, and 400,00 new jobs would be created, leading to the 1.6 million figure. In fact, in no year were there even 400,000 new jobs. Indeed, during that era (outside of recessions) it was rare for the U.S. to create 2 million new jobs TOTAL per year, making the claim that 1.6 million of 80% of all new jobs in the entire country would be in IT, laughable.

These sorts of lies are common place by activist organizations. Code.org gets a free pass because “its for the kids”, which is the oldest crutch of lobbyists ever. Always proclaim its for the kids:

Only 1 in 4 schools teach computer science. To fix this, sign the petition.

Source: Promote Computer Science | Code.org

This is a great example of how corporate public relations engages in propaganda campaigns using lies to promote their interests. Because Code.org is “for the kids” and supported by a large group of dominant industrial corporations, the lies are given the “appeal to authority” treatment. This also reinforces that you should never – ever – trust anything that comes from a public relations person, staff or organization.

[1] A second claim of “49,291 computer science students graduate into the workforce last year” is also a lie, based on using old data and misleading implying that only computer science students can fill these jobs. In reality, historically only about 25% of new software jobs have come from computer science graduates. New hires also come from information system programs, MIS programs, software engineering programs and a host of other subjects and many have no degree. This figure is a misleading “red herring” designed to make it look like there is a terrible shortage. In economics, a shortage means you can not find what you want, at the price you are willing to pay. In this case, they are pretending that the only supply to their need is “computer science graduates” which is false both historically and during the present time.

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