Ranks Of Campus Geeks Declining — Or At Least The Declared Geeks

from the skipping-class dept

Fears are mounting that the US is losing its tech edge, with the Computing Research Association now adding its voice to those who say the computer-generated sky is falling. A new report by the group says the number of college students intending to major in computer science has plummeted in recent years — not surprising considering the dot-com crash. But you have to wonder what the CRA study really indicates about current trends. Namely, just because students are less interested in computer science does not necessarily mean they are less interested in technology and, ultimately, tech careers. They grow up steeped in computing, so perhaps that makes devoting their major to it less appealing. But they still might pursue IT jobs in the future. Also, the lure of dot-com riches probably attracted way too many people to the field, so perhaps interest is returning to rational levels. Either way, we’re guessing the success of Google will have more influence in boosting those numbers again than any university or government can.


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Comments on “Ranks Of Campus Geeks Declining — Or At Least The Declared Geeks”

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9 Comments
Michael (user link) says:

Re: Java and C++ is the reason.

I don’t know if that’s right. C++ and Java (especially the latter) aren’t that hard for the motivated student. (Read: they’re not x86 assembly, which is daunting enough to drive away all but the hardcore.)

As a former comp.sci major myself, I still enjoy coding and appreciate the logical thinking it introduced to me, but I joined it for the “hacker mystique” as a freshman.

What eventually turned me away from it was the realization that you can study the languages on your own time spending US$50 on a book as opposed to hundreds of dollars on a semester-long class; and that computer science really is more about algorithms than anything else. It’s *science*. Kids that aren’t interested in algorithm-tuning can still learn how to code and make a great living for themselves. In most American universities that are geared for comp.sci and IT majors, these days offer other related majors that aren’t actually computer science but offer courses in programming that are more practical and less theoretical. Just my $0.02.

Scott says:

Re: Re: Java and C++ is the reason.

Java itself isn’t that hard, but all the tech wrapped around it certainly is. We are installing a large J2EE product and I can tell you that all these “standards” that build upon each other make the process hard beyond reason.

Even the guys that wrote this monster admit that the learning curve required for Enterprise level work is insane. Several years worth to effectivly work with all that is required. And new “standards” come out every year making it increasingly more complex. For what we are doing it should be simple. We are only passing XML strings back and forth for pity sake. But having worked with several different groups now it would seem this is the norm for J2EE work and it is damn hard for what it does.

VonSkippy says:

Go Figure

Soft job market, extremely long job hours, no down time, zero respect (my brother’s nephew’s neighbor’s kid is into “puters” too), mediocre pay, no one listens, bosses dumber then bricks, you’re always to blame, no job security (two words, out sourcing), etc, etc.
Those wacky kids today, hard to figure out how they could pass up such a great future.

Anonymous of Course says:

Re: Re: Go Figure

At one time many programmers were language, music or math majors. They were also well paid. I tell students that they should love engineering if they pursue it. The pay-back for getting an engineering degree and for the long hours they’ll work isn’t very good.
You can make a decent living as an engineer but you’ll be expected to work your ass off. Engineering is an expense, engineers are treated like an expense. As one company president said to me “When the horses leave you just get more horses.”
On the plus side I look at it as a very expensive hobby which I’m paid to enjoy- that’s not bad.
As far as forecasts go, IEEE is a shill for businesses and colleges. Take any predictions of shortages or salaries with a grain of salt.

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