Saturday, April 30, 2011

Computer Science Studies - Why Do Young People Avoid It?

 Computer Science is certainly one the most desirable academic degrees in the job market,  and enables its graduates a variety of professional tracks giving relatively high social security and a  fine financial reward.   But in the last decade (especially since the .COM bubble explosion), the Computer Science university departments across the western world suffer from continual shortage of students.
Some research has been held in order to explain the issue.  The findings point  a few clear motives for young undergraduates not to embark on a Computer Science career:

First, the common conception, that most  of the job market has moved to developing regions (mainly India but also Eastern Europe and Latin America), so there's no point of studying this field.  This has been proved statistically to be completely untrue, as the demand of Computer Science graduates has risen sharply during the last decade.

Second, the notion that Computer Science is just for 'geeks' and not for an average type of person or a girl.  This conception has been widely refuted in several researches checking the backgrounds of thousands of computer scientists and software engineers.

Third, the belief that one can work in the field without an academic degree and still succeed.  This belief received its legitimacy in the .COM bubble period, some 10 years ago, when many programmers entered the     software market without any academic accreditation.  The fact is  that nowadays, it's almost impossible to enter the software development market without a relevant degree mostly because the development capabilities of non-academic programmers fall  behind the technical requirements needed now in the job market.

Forth, the adamant claim that Computer Science academic studies are theoretical and impractical, and the student would be better-off if he/she  studies practical courses like programming languages, databases and so on.    This claim can't hold grounds because it has been evident that the theoretical basis is crucial for embedding thorough logical and numerical capabilities, which without, it's hard to have what it takes to survive in the software market for years.

Fifth, the genuine belief that Computer Science studies may lead only to a  software development career .   In fact, a large portion of Computer Science graduate find themselves in industries like the capital market or business consulting, where there is a need for highly qualified employees  logically and numerically.  The skill acquired in Computer Science studies are relevant to many  job categories across the job market.

Sixth, many people believe  that Computer Science studies are meant for people with a programming record and not for people with no programming experience.   Well, it makes sense to think that students with programming skills would have  slightly easier studies,  but it's not compulsory to have programming skills, as the academic studies don't focus anyway on the programming side but on the theoretical side.

Summary - the Computer Science field losses most of its recruitment potential due to unfounded common beliefs that deter prospect students from joining the field.  This means that rumors prevents people from having one of the most rewarding (professionally  and financially) career out there...

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