Kitchen table conversations

This election cycle much has been made out of what should be left to families to discuss over “kitchen table” conversations. Should it be racism? Should it be sex education? Should it be New Jersey’s LGBTQ inclusive curriculum? Here are the topics we discuss in my family with our two kids — one in middle school, the other in high school.

Not a day goes by when we ask ourselves whether we should be paying off our mortgage or saving for their college. What should they major in for the most successful future?

Here is what I tell my kids.

I’ve been coding since I was 12. I have both bachelors and masters degrees in computer science. I have never been unemployed in the 21-years post-college, and in fact, I’ve been working in IT since my freshman year.

They don’t have to major in computer science, but they need at least a minor. In-depth computer literacy should be a societal requirement, much like driver’s education is. Much like you need to be an excellent driver to get to work, you need to effectively be a computer programmer to remain employable.

There is not one high-paying job out there that does not benefit from knowing how to automate it. As I learned from my 25 years of a software engineering career, if I don’t automate my own job and move on to solving more complex problems — someone else will.

I want America to succeed on the world stage. As an immigrant and naturalized US citizen, I’ve entirely and absolutely renounced my allegiance to whatever country I am from. I take my pledge seriously.

There once was a time when the rest of the world was buying technology from America. While we are debating whether “Critical Race Theory” is being taught in public schools (it is not), China is taking the lead on the world stage in artificial intelligence, among other things.

While America’s global competitors want us all fighting cultural issues amongst ourselves, we must not fall for their tactics. They want us to argue at kitchen tables over bathrooms, the role of gender in sports (there shouldn’t be any), and whether or not all kids should follow the same rules and have the same nurturing environment at school (they should).

We must focus our energies on raising a next-generation workforce to keep and increase America’s technological dominance.