I’m working on a lengthy article for GAMASUTRA that will be the biggest press Phrogram has gotten yet – thanks Beth and thanks GAMASUTRA!
I thought I’d blog some of the data from it, focused on the Computer Science crisis, to do my own little bit to spread the word about this – it is indeed a crisis!
Did you know that there has been a decline in US computer science enrollment of over 60 percent since 2000? Here’s the national data, from a UCLA study:
The more one examines that graph and thinks through the long-term implications of those numbers, the more mind-boggling they become. Of course, the rest of the world will be more than happy to pick up that work, if 60% less Americans want to do it. So the real question is: are computer science, software development and game design and development going to go as rapidly overseas as textiles, electronics and other manufacturing already have?Note from the graph that for women, the problem is even worse. There are many factors which are contributing to this trend, and there are a good number of people in Computer Science academia working on it – but clearly there isn’t enough visibility nationally for the issue.
If you are a blogger or a bookmarker, can you help spread the word? That’s our best way to get mainstream media to notice and put attention on this problem, which is of course the best way to get politicians to do something about it.
Other data demonstrates how ironic this decline in computer science is. For instance, computer and video game software sales have more than doubled between 1996 and 2005, and are projected to increase a further 50% from 2005 to 2010. A recent study by Nielsen is particularly stunning: 64% of all players of online games are women. Clearly, then, the lack of undergraduate interest is much more specific to Computer Science as a profession than it is to general usage of computer technology, or specific interest in computer games. Both points are most clearly true for women.
The chart is from:
Vegso, Jay. Interest in CS as a Major Drops Among Incoming Freshmen. Computing Research News, Vol. 17/No. 3, May 2005
Jay’s article is available online at http://www.cra.org/CRN/articles/may05/vegso
The GAMASUTRA article will detail out our own response to the Computer Science crisis – watch for it in a few weeks!