Computer science skills are becoming a larger part of mainstream education with the emergence of Computer Science Education Week and efforts to introduce students to coding and programming.

Part of those efforts focus on actions states can take to ensure that computer science education is a priority year-round. After all, many of the jobs today’s students will hold in the future will require computer science and IT knowledge.

To keep the momentum behind computer science education moving, the Southern Regional Education Board, led by its 2015-16 chair, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, convened a group of state legislators, secondary and postsecondary education leaders to formulate policies and actions that positively support computer science.

Those discussions resulted in a report detailing actions states can take to bridge the computer science education gap.

Jobs in computer science, IT and related fields are a large and growing sector of the nation’s economy. The Association for Computing Machinery estimates that by 2020, as many as 4.6 million out of 9.2 million STEM jobs will be computer-related.

By 2020, nearly 3.8 million jobs will be computer science-related, with about 70 percent requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Millions more jobs in fields like advanced manufacturing, business and medicine will also require individuals to possess high-level computing skills in areas like software development, programming and network maintenance. These jobs are sometimes characterized as requiring “double-deep skills”–significant computing expertise in addition to knowledge of the field.

(Next page: 5 computer science education actions for states)