by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 1st 2008 2:29am
There's some talk these days about how the financial crisis on Wall Street may be driving some students back to computer science. You may recall that during the dot com boom, enrollment in CS programs boomed, as it suddenly became a fast track to getting rich (or so some folks thought.) But, of course, the end result was that a lot of folks in CS weren't really that into actual computer science, but were just looking for the fastest ticket to getting rich. After the dot com bubble burst, many shifted their attention back to Wall Street, which had been the get rich quick path prior to the dot com boom. So, now that Wall Street seems to be imploding, there's talk again about students coming back to CS. While some see this as a good thing, you're again left with the same question: are these the types of folks who we really want in CS programs? If their sole determinant for area of study is what's likely to make them richest as fast as possible, they're not necessarily the folks who are really going to contribute very much to the space. There's nothing wrong with making labor decisions based on how much it may pay, but folks who focus on getting rich as fast as possible have a habit of screwing things up for everyone else pretty badly at times.
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