Fewer college students choose computer majors

Fewer college students choose computer majors

Tech firms might be rebounding from the dot-com bust, but enrollment in college computer related programs keeps dropping. San Jose State University in Silicon Valley enrolled 417 full-time computer science undergraduates for the fall semester, down from 525 last year. The University of Texas at Austin expects about 1,275, down from 1,465 a year ago. The University of Notre Dame should have 50 ? better than last year, but down from 60 at the peak. Ohio State University is down 30%. Blame the bleak tech job market.

In the past, a computer degree meant "instant riches, or at least a well-paying, secure job," says San Jose computer science chair David Hayes. "Now, the perception is jobs are going overseas, and people are being laid off."
That's not necessarily a bad thing, says Peter Lee, an associate dean at Carnegie Mellon University. His elite undergraduate program received 2,000 applicants this year, compared with 3,200 at the height of the boom. But the students are often of higher quality, motivated more by love of technology than dreams of stock options, he says. Many educators worry there won't be enough workers when the industry rebounds, crimping growth, but I imagine we'll find that quantity doesn't always mean quality. Perhaps it is better to have less computer science engineers and more quality computer science engineers.

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