The Logic of AP Computer Science Principles

Elective Courses

Haley Fitzgerald

Saint Ignatius College Prep students are able to take Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles as an elective starting their sophomore year. This class teaches students about the basics of computers and data analysis. 

Many jobs require a background in computers, whether it be a major in college, or a class taken in high school. Matthew Haffner, the teacher of this class, and head of the computer science department says, “I encourage students to take a computer science class because it teaches real-world skills, not just computer skills. Unlike other classes, this class teaches students how to find things, not just memorize things. It teaches them the logic and thinking behind what they are trying to find, which is an essential skill in life and in whatever job you have.”

This class is popular among students interested in a science-based career. Haffner says, “Especially for kids who want to major in a STEM-related field, this class will help with a computer science requirement they might have in college.”

Many of these students go on to learn other languages, such as Java, which is offered as an AP class. In this class, Haffner decided to teach Python, a high level programming language that emphasizes organization and readability in code. He says, “I wanted kids who take the Java class to have an opportunity to learn two different languages that are commonly used in real-world [computers].” 

While Saint Ignatius College Prep has yet to do so, some high schools and colleges are now requiring students to take a computer science class. These schools recognize that the skills one needs to be successful in the workforce are evolving due to the world’s evolving technology and more computer-based jobs.