Big growth in CS in NYC

December 22, 2011 at 7:25 am 5 comments

Interesting piece that takes a regional perspective on undergraduate CS enrollment. The suggestion is that New York is seeing a big growth in computer science because the focus there is across disciplines, not just technology for technology sake (as in Silicon Valley). It’s based on a notion that computing is “a basic skill in the 21st century.”

The number of declared undergraduate computer science majors at the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science jumped 12% this year over last year; at New York University, the number rose 10%. Queens College and Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., also reported jumps in the number of computer science majors. At the same time, the number of students enrolled in computer science classes has surged between 30% and 50%, professors said.

via Students Shift to Computer Science – WSJ.com.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bonnie  |  December 22, 2011 at 7:53 am

    We’re seeing an increase here at St John’s in Queens, but it has absolutely nothing to do with computing as a 21st century skill. In fact, most of our students, who come from local schools without AP CS, have only the vaguest notion of what computing is about. The surge is purely due to economic desperation. IT is about the only area that is hiring in the NYC area, and the students (or more typically, their parents) know that. I suspect similar reasons hold at Queens College and Stevens, perhaps less so at Columbia and NYU.

    Reply
  • 2. Alfred Thompson  |  December 22, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I tend to suspect the economy myself. I do wonder about outreach efforts. I know that Stevens has been active in out reach to local high schools and annually (at least) has a big event that brings many students and their teachers to campus. While probably not the whole story by any means it would be interesting to know if outreach events are having an impact. Not just for the schools having the outreach but are students who can’t get into a Stevens or Columbia taking CS at other universities? Just a wild thought.

    Reply
    • 3. zamanskym  |  December 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      I’d also agree — the economy. We aren’t doing anything in the city to increase the pool of students interested in studying CS prior to college.

      All the outreach I’ve seen (and I’m pretty up on the scene being a 20 veteran CS teacher at Stuyvesant High School) preaches to the choir — it’s for students already interested in tech.

      We need to expose to real CS in their high school classes just as their exposed to most other fields.

      Reply
  • 4. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  December 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I looked at http://planning.ucsc.edu/irps/majors/2010/Historical_3QtrAve_UndergraduateDeclaredandProposedMajors(HC).pdf to see the trends here. I added computer engineering and computer science, since one of the figures there did also (the one with the least growth). UCSC’s numbers are up last year (I’ve not seen any figures from this year), showing steady growth since the minimum in 2006–07, and just short of the peak in 2001–02. Adding in computer engineering smooths out the peaks a bit—computer engineering has followed the same roller coaster, but with only a 1.6-fold difference between peak and trough, rather than over 3-fold.

    At UCSC, a lot of the recent growth has been in the computer game design major, which now has almost twice as many majors as the traditional computer science major.

    Reply
  • 5. Interesting Links 26 December 2011 | MSDN Blogs  |  December 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    [...] being on the rise. Is this Geek-Chic education taking off: Mark Guzdial also has come comments at Big growth in CS in NYC with others replying to it [...]

    Reply

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