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Kids rush to study computer science

by on25 January 2019

Now there is a teacher shortage

US college students are rushing in record numbers to study computer science creating a problem for universities.

According to Apple's favourite press office, the New York Times, campuses across the country, from major state universities to small private colleges are seeing a surge in student demand for computer science courses and that is far outstripping the supply of professors, as the tech industry snaps up talent.

At some schools, the shortage is creating an undergraduate divide of computing haves and have-nots -- potentially narrowing a path for some minority and female students to an industry that has struggled with diversity. The number of undergraduates majoring in the subject more than doubled from 2013 to 2017, to over 106,000, while tenure-track faculty ranks rose about 17 percent, according to the Computing Research Association, a nonprofit that gathers data from about 200 universities.

Economics and the promise of upward mobility are driving the student stampede. While previous generations of entrepreneurial undergraduates might have aspired to become lawyers or doctors, many students don't want to invest the time and six figure debts, to join those professions.

By contrast, learning computing skills can be a fast path to employment, as fields as varied as agriculture, banking and genomics incorporate more sophisticated computing. While the quality of programs across the country varies widely, some computer science majors make six figure salaries straight out of school.

At the University of Texas at Austin, which has a top computer science program, more than 3,300 incoming first year students last fall sought computer science as their first choice of major, more than double the number which did so in 2014.

Last modified on 25 January 2019
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