NC Students to Gain Computer Science Skills with Passage of House Bill 8
Initiatives championed by the Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt will require all North Carolina students to gain much-needed skills in computer science before graduation. Both the House and Senate passed House Bill 8–Computer Science Graduation Requirement —with overwhelming bi-partisan support, and it now law with the Governor’s signature. This law allows schools to add computer science as part of the Standard Course of Study as early as the 2024-25 school year and be required for all students entering high school in the 2026-27 school year.
According to the N.C. Department of Commerce and its long-term employment projections, computer and mathematical occupations are projected to grow the fastest among all jobs in North Carolina. Superintendent Truitt shared how this legislation aligns with the agency’s four workforce goals to ensure that students have access to information and can explore post-secondary pathways that align with growing, high wage careers in North Carolina.
“Computer science has permeated every facet of society,” Truitt said. “By adding computer science to our graduation requirements, we are ensuring that students gain first-hand experience in this ever-growing discipline so that they can be better prepared to pursue the postsecondary plan of their choice. I commend the General Assembly for taking this tremendous step forward in terms of modernizing education in North Carolina so that we can equip students with the skills required of 21st century graduates, as well as primary bill sponsor Representative Erin Paré for her tireless efforts to see this bill through to the finish line.”
Through this law, computer science will be added to the English, math, arts, science and social studies requirements for high school graduation in North Carolina. North Carolina would be the eighth state to require a computer science course upon graduation.
In recognizing the needs of 21st century graduates, NCDPI has been ahead of the curve. The Computer Science, IT, and Technology Education discipline within Career and Technical Education (CTE) focuses on building linkages in computer science occupations for entry level, technical and professional careers related to the design, development, support and management of hardware, software, multimedia and systems integration services.
“We haven’t added a content area to the graduation requirements for North Carolina students in a century,” Deputy Superintendent Michael Maher said. “This is an important addition that will keep North Carolina graduates competitive upon graduation and entry into the workforce. Furthermore, computer science is not just one course offered to students —it’s a content area that will position students for success no matter the path they choose.”
Computer Science, IT, and Technology Education is a content discipline focused on the understanding and creation of information and technological systems to be a digital age learner. As part of the Computer Science pathway of study, students can experience:
Computing Systems and Applications
Networks and the Internet
Programming and Algorithms
Impacts of Technology
Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
Cybersecurity and Privacy
While exploring the Computer Science, IT, and Technology Education discipline, an added emphasis will be placed on exploratory options in middle school at an introductory level to cast a wide net of options available. An example of courses that could be considered in schools are multimedia and webpage and game design, data analytics, robotics, programming, engineering, and more. All courses will be approved by the Computer Science Division of the Department of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education before implementation.