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US CompSci Enrollment Up For 4th Year Running 101

dcblogs writes "Interest in computer science continues to grow among undergrad students, who pushed enrollments up nearly 10% in the 2011-12 academic year, according to the Computing Research Association (CRA) of enrollment and graduation rates at Ph.D.-granting universities. This marks the fourth straight year of increases. Enrollments might have been even higher if not for enrollment caps at some schools that don't have enough faculty, equipment or classrooms to meet demand. Enrollments increased 10% last year as well, but overall enrollments remain below the peak reached during the dot.com bubble. Around 2002, each school had a department with an average enrollment of about 400 students; by 2006-07, that enrollment average had declined to about 200. Average enrollments per department are now nearing 300, according to the survey."
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US CompSci Enrollment Up For 4th Year Running

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  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @10:13AM (#39630503)

    and how meany people are better off voc / tech school type training then 4 years + of CS?

    To many people are going to CS and not learning the skills needed to do real IT work.

  • by Subratik ( 1747672 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @10:22AM (#39630617)

    I can't speak for all US universities but it would seem Information Systems and Technology degrees are suited toward practical programming jobs.. I don't really see IS*T majors doing research for comp sci specific fields but that's not to say they don't exist. In my program, I learned databases, java, c#, vb.net, and the agile development process which will basically get you a job in the US as a front-end or mid-tier developer.

    The problem is most people want to come to IST because they don't want to program but find out that they should have just majored in business or MIS. This is only for certain schools however.. I have met some programmers who were better at coding than comp sci people because they have a better sense of scope...

    Which brings me back to your point... Comp Sci from my experience gears you toward PHD or masters programs where you will be doing a lot of theoretical work. They don't teach them mandatory database classes or networking which is very important in today's coding world... they also don't teach you anything about how coding fits into the business world. That's not to say you couldn't get any programming job you want.. But honestly, if you live in the US, it doesn't really matter for most companies if you got a comp sci or IST degree so long as you can prove that you know what you are doing in the domain of what they need you for. It's basically just a formality now, they check you off whether or not you got a degree... I think they frown on Votech schools over conventional bachelor's programs, but if you can prove you're proficient, they will give you the chance regardless.

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @10:26AM (#39630657)
    It seems to me that Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook et al are currently so dominant in creating 2 - 3 year consumer market-trends, then collapsing them, and pushing yet another nouveau 2 - 3 year trend into the marketplace, that new computing science graduates will have a very, very difficult time "making their mark" in the computing world. I feel that the world of computing, a few years ago, was more open to individual CompSci artisans creating seriously interesting things, and these things growing wings if people liked what they created. Today, if it doesn't get pushed by AppGoogFaceMicrosoft, hardly anyone notices that it exists, or even possible. Good luck to our new CompSci graduates. The world you will be thrown into when you graduate won't be a garden of roses...
  • by dohnut ( 189348 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @11:01AM (#39631157)

    I think there are plenty of interesting jobs out there, it's just that finding the boring ones are so much easier. I live in a midwestern town of less than 150K people. I've worked here for 17 years (2 different jobs) both doing embedded work, both small companies. There are also a few large engineering firms in the area, almost everyone goes to work for them because they are always hiring (and firing).

    Most people (especially newbies) that work for the large firms end up mainly doing (my idea of) grunt work: testing, database coding and documentation. With my employers everyone codes. And, in the embedded world, code is (almost) always interesting IMHO. And there are sooo many places that need embedded developers. Any manufacturer of any electronic device needs embedded developers -- and we are surrounded by electronic devices. Yes, most of that stuff is not made in America, but enough still is that it provides plenty of jobs even here in the states. Also, embedded code now-a-days is pretty much the same as coding for the desktop. It's not like you'll being doing everything in assembly. Most use Linux or a Windows variant (CE, XP embedded, etc).

    I guess my point is: Don't just apply to the big engineering/computer firms that everyone applies to. Look around in the nooks and crannies for software jobs. You'll have better odds of having much more job security, flexibility and satisfaction. And, the big firms are always your safety net if you can't find a job somewhere interesting.

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:29PM (#39633715)
    In my experience it ends up the other way around. Many people start out in CS because they want to program. Then they find they can't get through the math and more theoretical aspects, so they switch to MIS or similar IT programs. Then after they graduate they apply for programming jobs because they think they have the same skill set as those who made it through the CS program, but they don't.
  • by Shimdaddy ( 898354 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @01:55PM (#39634141) Homepage

    A university Computer Science degree should be an addendum to basic IT skills, not a replacement for them.

    Nope. A computer science education should be a computer science education. If you don't want fresh college grads, don't hire them. You don't hire physicists and complain they can't do "IP networking" -- you shouldn't hire computer scientists to do non-science. You especially shouldn't then turn around and tell everyone who is a computer scientist how they should teach their classes.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.