- Sep. 26th, 2006
- 8 comments
This recent article cites that many universities are experiencing a sharp drop in computer science student enrollment. Many attribute it to outsourcing scares and a final acknowledgement that the dot Com bubble did indeed pop. It is no longer totally rad to be a computer scientist. I'm a computer scientist, so I can reflect on why I still have a job, and perhaps what the future has in store. For now:
"This fall, Vanderbilt University's computer science department is less than half the size it was in 2001. This year, enrollment fell again, to 61 students from 78 a year ago. Computer engineering has dropped as well."
But I am not worried about employment. I don't think certain categories of computer science majors should be worried, either. These categories are as follows:
1. Those who are extremely talented and can produce academic-quality research in computer science theory & algorithms.
2. Those who have a decent handle on the former, but also have some business acumen.
3. Those who have everything in 2 & 3.
I would argue I'm in category 2. I'm a decent programmer, and I actually retained some of the theory that the professors at my university attempted to bang in to my head. This guy, Stephen Bloom, is the one who made me realize I'm definately not at the top tier of category 1. Or maybe I'm just not that interested. I managed to scrap a "B" in both the classes I took with him. Stephen Bloom is in category 1. Here are some of his notes.
Warning: You may rapidly begin to feel stupid after reading these notes!
But I'm doing quite well even if I'm not in category 1 because I have a mix of business skills and technology skills. I would argue that people who understand business in the context of technology will be in demand for a long time to come.
I don't think I'm delusional, either. We're pretty useful. I can code an SE-friendly site, write copy, and author link-bait. I'm a hybrid. Like hybrid cars, we'll likely only get more popular. Too bad the ladies aren't influenced by the same criteria. I'm still rather single :(
Anyway, I doubt Stephen Bloom is in category 2 (or 3), as I've actually heard him tell a really stupid student "you! get in the garbage" when he got frustrated with him. Smart people can be very mean — and just plain weird. Nevertheless, the guy is brilliant. And I doubt he'll be panhandling any time soon.
Then there is category 4:
4. I did it because it looked lucrative. I'm not interested in it, I suck at math, and I can barely write a "hello world" program.
Those "scientists" are screwed; and a Dell operator will probably be replacing them soon.
But me? I'm not worried :)
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