Fewer computer science majors

Well, the Cincinatti Enquirer is reporting about it! Thanks, Naomi Snyder!  Here’s hoping others pick it up, too.
The article doesn’t mention actual numbers, so I will. Is it because it’s hard to believe or hard to understand that noone is reporting there’s a 50% to 70% drop in the number of people intending to study computer science? Here’s a link to a graph of the data from the national study, published by Jay Vesgo and the Computing Research Association.

Fewer computer science majors

Computer science majors make some of the country’s highest starting salaries for college graduates, at almost $50,000 a year. Computer science and computer engineering jobs are some of the fastest-growing occupations in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Despite that, universities across the country are watching enrollments drop in their computer science programs – at almost the exact time employers are saying they can’t find enough qualified candidates.

“We’re going crazy trying to find candidates,” said Sridevi Movva, the managing partner of Nashville IT consulting firm Optimum Technologies Solutions.

This is a change from the peak of the dot-com era from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, when tech companies with big plans, wild ideas and risk-taking investors flooded the marketplace. Students showed up for jam-packed computer classes with dollar signs flashing in their eyeballs.

Some university professors think that students and their parents still are scared off from computer science because of the dot-com bust, combined with a fear that an increasing number of jobs, especially programming jobs, are being sent overseas to places such as India.

Others think universities haven’t done a good job offering the latest skills and that students are turning to technical schools and career colleges as an alternative. Career college enrollment almost doubled between 1998 and 2003, according to data compiled by the Career College Association.

“It’s not one university that’s doing a bad job, they’re all doing a bad job,” said Andy Orr, a recruiting manager at employment agency Robert Half Technology in Nashville.


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