Hollywood Spurs Surge in Computer Science Majors – NYTimes.com
It’s great for CS to get this kind of coverage in the NYTimes, but the assumptions in the article still bother me. Do we really know that it’s due to Hollywood that there’s a surge? Eric Roberts thinks it’s more due to people realizing that CS is a great career boost in a bad economy. And we still don’t know much about the commonality of the enrollment rise. NYtimes uses CRA data, which is robust but not pervasive — it’s high-quality data, but only about research institutions. The department closings in the last couple years suggest that not everyone is seeing enrollment increases.
Never mind that Mr. Zuckerberg, like other tech titans, did not major in computer science — or even finish college. Enrollment in computer science programs, and degrees from them, are rising after a decade of decreases, despite much handwringing about the decline of American competitiveness in technology and innovation from President Obama on down. And educators and technologists say the inspiration is partly Hollywood’s portrayal of the tech world, as well as celebrity entrepreneurs like Steven P. Jobs of Apple and Mr. Zuckerberg who make products that students use every day.