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US College Students Still Aren't All That Interested In Computer Science 306

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-fail-it dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Despite the hot job market and competitive salaries, the share of Computer Science degrees as a percentage of BA degrees has remained essentially unchanged since 1981, according to data from the National Center for Educational Statistics' Digest of Educational Statistics. If history is any indication, it will take a cultural phenomenon to shift the percentage higher: Blogger Phil Johnson point out that there were 'two distinct peaks, one in 1985 (4.4% of U.S. college degrees) and one in 2002 (4.42%). These would represent big increases for the classes entering school in 1981 and 1998 respectively. The former year corresponds to the beginning of computers coming into the home and the release of things like MS-DOS 1.0, all of which may have increased interest in programming. The latter year was during the dot com bubble, which, no doubt, also boosted interest.'"
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US College Students Still Aren't All That Interested In Computer Science

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  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:05PM (#47005671)

    Computer Science is not IT and at some time / schools not even coding, web site work and more.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:49PM (#47005931)

      Computer Science is not IT and at some time / schools not even coding, web site work and more.

      Upon reading this comment, I suddenly understood why my university required me to take all those painful semesters of writing courses.

    • This is very similar to what I was going to say.

      Computer Science and Programming Job are often related, but also often not. And Computer Science and IT often don't even very much resemble one another. And I've done all 3.
      • All I've got to say is I hope they aren't interested in either. Less competition, less supply, equilibrium settles on me with more pay :).

    • by ArmoredDragon (3450605) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @10:51PM (#47006197)

      Try telling that to HR departments around the world. All too often I've seen jobs posted looking for LAN technicians saying they want you to have a Computer Science or related degree; a few of them pass on my resume when they see my degree is in Network Systems Administration (I'm not entirely sure if a person is doing it, because in these cases I get an email saying I don't meet the minimum requirement even though I meet ALL of their requirements listed, including their bonus/preferred requirements, just I don't have a CS degree, nor am I interested in getting one.)

      • Try telling that to HR departments around the world. All too often I've seen jobs posted looking for LAN technicians saying they want you to have a Computer Science or related degree; a few of them pass on my resume when they see my degree is in Network Systems Administration (I'm not entirely sure if a person is doing it, because in these cases I get an email saying I don't meet the minimum requirement even though I meet ALL of their requirements listed, including their bonus/preferred requirements, just I don't have a CS degree, nor am I interested in getting one.)

        All the more jobs for the rest of us who realize that having a CS degree opens doors...

        Personally, I'll never understand this attitude. Why would you not want to get a degree if it will open doors? It doesn't have to be expensive (most companies just check for the degree and the school rarely matters), you can do it online, and, if you investigate it, your employer may even pay for it.

      • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday May 15, 2014 @06:23AM (#47007557)

        For a LAN technician job, a network systems administration degree clearly counts as "related" to a CS degree. Therefore, this is a situation where blatantly lying on your resume is ethical (just explain once you get to the interview).

      • by Drethon (1445051)
        Time to lie on resumes? Or tell the truth that HR doesn't recognize?
      • by jbolden (176878) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @06:41AM (#47007629) Homepage

        Network System Administration is a trade. Computer Science is an academic discipline. Those aren't related degrees or at least shouldn't be. A computer science undergrad degree I'd expect the person to be familiar with ideas from history / philosophy of science about the limits of positivism. I'd expect them to have taken theoretical math courses. I'd expect many of their programming courses to be in languages which teach them about computer languages not in practical computer languages. Languages like Oz are good for Computer Science while Network System Administration I'd want C, Java... In short I'd expect them to be prepped to go to grad school. On the other hand I'd have no expectations that they have any particular skills to a meaningful extent. Network System Administration I'd expect skills but not necessarily an education suited for academic work. Narrowly focused and more practical.

        Now. Don't get me wrong 95% of employers want the Network System Administration degree not the computer science degree. But in the abstract they aren't equivalent at all.

    • by s.petry (762400)
      I don't get it either, I'm assuming a translation to English issue. The "insightful" score just makes it more confusing.
    • Computer Science is not IT and at some time / schools not even coding, web site work and more.

      Indeed, with the current state of technology, it is MUCH easier to design some algorithm and proof it correct, than it is to write a working website/app, that is guaranteed to not break at some point in some browser on some platform.

  • I have tried (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:09PM (#47005695)
    I have tried to teach a handful of people how to program. Generally it either takes or it doesn't. Some people would lose their minds at how hard it can be to get some new library to compile and I think they could see that coming. The whole concept that a single wrong letter could mean the difference between success and 200 error messages just made them ask, "You do this all day?"

    I don't think that it is that these people can't learn but it is simply something that is completely not part of their brain's make-up. Many people like things like writing reports where you are making a generalize persuasive argument which will be backed up with meeting and maybe even some time on a golf course; things that generally drive most programmers insane.
    • Re:I have tried (Score:4, Insightful)

      by InsultsByThePound (3603437) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:31PM (#47005823)

      Many people like things like writing reports where you are making a generalize persuasive argument which will be backed up with meeting and maybe even some time on a golf course; things that generally drive most programmers insane.

      Most antisocial programmers I have seen are stuck on bullshit jobs after 40 because they can't take shove their OCD aside but at the same time aren't smart enough to realize "No, I'm not a genius like Carmack who can afford to act 100x as OCD as me without repercussion."

      Then they steam and stew while less able programmers get promoted, because they can hob nob with a bunch of managers on the back nine without missing a beat.

    • by s.petry (762400) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @12:06AM (#47006461)

      Please don't take this as an argument against you, it's meant to argue against this chronic message that we see every month or so that everyone in the US needs to be a programmer. I agree that it takes a certain mindset to be a programmer, just like it takes a certain mindset to be a Fireman, or Soldier, or Doctor, or Plumber, etc... I'm not a programmer for a living for the same reason I'm not a graphics designer. Doing either of those things for a living requires the ability to remain in abstract thought for long periods of time, very much like an artist.

      Honestly though, I don't see the big deal. If everyone in the US was a programmer we'd be naked and starve to death in short order. Our houses would burn down and our country would be invaded and taken over. The Allegory of the Artisan is very fitting here, and as with most things Socrates explains this dilemma very well.

      A secondary issue is that the a large portion of the population does not want to work any more than necessary to survive. It's not laziness for most, this is a normal and rational way of thinking. I have food on the table and a roof is over my head, life is good. It's takes exceptions to move beyond that, thankfully we have always had those types of people to spare.

      I agree with your points, and am more disagreeing with this latest "everyone needs to be a programmer" message. Society needs all kinds of people thinking all kinds of ways in order to function. I'm just fine with that.

      If society really wanted to change things then there would be incentives to do so. Who does society compensate better, a Lawyer or a Lead Developer? Lead Graphic Artist or Politician? Technical writer or Paralegal? I could go on and on with that one all day, so will get to the point. People that are above average tend to try and get the most compensation for their abilities. If being a Lawyer has better compensation than being a Lead Developer, guess where most people will gravitate? Society does not want change, or at least executives in companies don't. If they did, they would be paying programmers with 6 years experience more money than their latest marketing "Rock Start" who just got his MBA. They don't! If you want to make the big bucks you go into the business side of the house, period.

      • by Miseph (979059)

        In summary: if you're talented and exceptional and want to make the most money you can, you become a specialist in the art of making money, not in the art of making code. The business people are the ones calling shots and signing checks... any genius should be able to see how this leads to them getting all the shots called in their favor and all of the biggest checks being written out to them.

        • Solution: spend 5 years making as much money as possible.
          Then, spend the rest of your life enjoying your hobbies.

      • by ranton (36917)

        I agree with your points, and am more disagreeing with this latest "everyone needs to be a programmer" message.

        I hardly think that wanting the number of CS students to go up a little from 4.4% is the same as wanting everyone to be a programmer.

        If society really wanted to change things then there would be incentives to do so. Who does society compensate better, a Lawyer or a Lead Developer? Lead Graphic Artist or Politician? Technical writer or Paralegal?

        Society doesn't really care that much how many CS students there are. But plenty of people who are interested in advancing society want more of them. That is why they are trying to fix some of the issues that are hindering smart people from entering the field. Compensation is the factor they have the least control over, so it is rarely part of their solutions (even though it w

    • Re:I have tried (Score:4, Interesting)

      by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @12:24AM (#47006509)

      Some people would lose their minds at how hard it can be to get some new library to compile and I think they could see that coming.

      Alan Kay and John McCarthy would lose their minds had they tried to compile C libraries. Fortunately, they were also very fond of removing accidental complexity from programming. The one of the crappy tool kind for sure, but not only that.

    • I find the biggest problem with teaching people to program is keeping them interested. They start learning keywords, etc, then they get bored. I've figured out how to break it into problems that are small enough if the person has interest to keep learning, but most people don't have the motivation to keep going. They don't have any interest.
    • I agree with you (that either you get it or you don't), but it's on a deeper level than "get a character wrong and it doesn't compile." Some people are just fundamentally incapable of understanding the concepts involved. You can tell because they'll be 11 weeks in to their 12 week "intro to programming" class and still can't tell the difference between declaring a function and using it, or you'll ask them what the type of a variable is and they'll tell you its value instead, or things like that.

    • by idji (984038)
      In the last 16 months I ran workshops around the world for over 200 technical consultants working for IT companies. Less than 10 of them would be able to write recursive or sort functions or other problem-solving algorithms. Most of them were what I call "configurers". A massive amount of the problem-solving burden falls on me because i learnt how to program in the 1980's before the internet and code libraries appeared.
    • Re:I have tried (Score:4, Insightful)

      by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:44AM (#47008399)

      The whole concept that a single wrong letter could mean the difference between success and 200 error messages just made them ask, "You do this all day?"

      shrug Some people just can't hack jobs where attention to detail matters. A missing semi-colon in software isn't much less messier than an accountant misplacing a decimal, or a millwright putting an extra turn on a depth wheel, or a carpenter cutting an inch short.

  • by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:15PM (#47005739)
    CS degrees aren't the only game in town. Lots of programmers come from C.E., E.E., or Math degrees. I would say the number of programmers, in total, are going up, just that CS degrees are less prestigious or desirable.
    • by Thantik (1207112) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:30PM (#47005817)
      Well, given that CS degrees lately consist of having students reimplement all the sorting methods learned since the 1970s, I can certainly understand why CS degrees are less desirable. I know many college kids who took up CS classes, who thought they were going to learn to code, learn awesome things, and it turned out to have much less to do with computers, and much more to do with general math/logic.
      • by DutchUncle (826473) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:55PM (#47005971)
        That's part of the problem. Architecture is not piling bricks and nailing boards, it's physics and math. Automotive engineering isn't driving cool cars, it's *designing* cool cars. And most of the crap software around is precisely because people slapped some code together without design and engineering and planning and logic.
      • by Nemyst (1383049) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @10:31PM (#47006117) Homepage
        And I find that a lack of understanding of mathematics and logic (this is college level mathematics for CS we're talking about, so rather basic in the grand scheme of things) quite heavily correlates with an inability to structure code in a logical and mathematically sound way. Funny how that works, right?

        It's not that CS is less desirable and especially not less prestigious, it's that we had grossly inflated head counts in CS for a long time because degrees like software engineering didn't exist. Now that they do, the people who want to program and engineer code can go there, and they'll find that what they do is much more in line with what they expected to be doing. CS is reserved for a much more theoretical perspective, and I don't see that as making it the lesser discipline, quite the contrary in fact. It does however mean that a CS degree won't automatically net you a job at a big software company, since the skills learned in CS are at best parallel to what they require.

        A good CS student will however be able to adapt quite easily and can even outperform a comparable SE student because of their better theoretical knowledge.
      • by tompaulco (629533)
        Well, that is why it is called Computer Science. If they want to learn to code, they should go to a vocation institute. If they want to be a well rounded, well educated person that understands the theory of how algorithms and computation work, then they should get a Computer Science degree, if they want to learn how computers function, they should get a Computer Engineering degree. If they want to manage computer people, they should get a MIS degree.
        Two steps to getting the right people in the right jobs
        • by kthreadd (1558445)

          Where I come from we don't actually have computer science, only computing science. I've always liked that name better and used it as a reminder that what I'm doing is not really about computers although the tool I'm using usually is one.

    • by m00sh (2538182)

      CS degrees aren't the only game in town. Lots of programmers come from C.E., E.E., or Math degrees. I would say the number of programmers, in total, are going up, just that CS degrees are less prestigious or desirable.

      I think getting a CS degree to become programmer is overkill. It is like getting a Mechnical Engineering degree to be a mechanic.

      Anyway computer science degrees as it is right now is disappointing. There simply isn't four years worth of material to be learned. There is a lot of fluff that is half outdated and half not used anymore. There are courses on compiler design, OS design, computer graphics that is difficult it is more of using tools rather than learning some CS fundamental. Since a lot of programm

    • Agreed. In my experience, physics majors tend to be excellent programmers, better than many CS majors. Perhaps it's because they're mostly just smart a heck, and that matters more than having taken a bunch of CS courses.

      Engineering majors, in my experience, tend to be capable enough, but their code is hard to read / maintain. It's kind of like they're would-be CS majors who didn't take the CS courses.

      • by gander666 (723553) * on Thursday May 15, 2014 @07:54AM (#47007989) Homepage

        Agreed. In my experience, physics majors tend to be excellent programmers, better than many CS majors. Perhaps it's because they're mostly just smart a heck, and that matters more than having taken a bunch of CS courses.

        As a physics degree holder, I would counter that. Yes, we are really good at algorithms, and the like, but without a lot of re-education we make terrible developers (I am not one, but I work with a dev group that has 3 PhD Physicists). They write cool code, but are fuck-all at doing error checking, bounds checking, and other mundane things that are important in production environments. Physicists would rather spend hours grooming their input data than have their code do some reality checks.

    • I started in CS, but quit after a semester because I realized I didn't need to pay for a 4 year degree to learn to code (I know, I know there's more to it than that, data structures and blah blah blah). I could teach myself programming out of a book and trial and error. I switched instead to EE because I knew I would have a much tougher time understanding computer hardware and what was actually inside those semiconductor chips without a college to teach me. I focused on computer architecture, and my deep un

  • Is a CIT degree counted in the numbers? The list of degrees by subject seems to be Computer Science and Technology...

  • BA Degrees? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jmstuckman (561420) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:22PM (#47005763) Journal

    I would expect Computer Science degrees as a percentage of BA degrees to be low, as almost all Computer Science degrees are of the BS (or Bachelors of Science, if you will) variety.

    The original article doesn't even have "BA" anywhere in it, though, so I have no idea where the submitter got that detail.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      They used to be B.A. degrees when I was in school, but I took Computer Engineering instead which was a B.S. degree. Later they combined it, still two degrees but you chose whether to get B.A. or B.S. (with many more math/science requirements and electives for B.S. of course).

    • The point they were making was CS degrees vs other degrees like BA's (philosophy, art, fashion design, communications, history, english literature, music, etc).
    • The original article doesn't even have "BA" anywhere in it, though, so I have no idea where the submitter got that detail.

      I don't think it's a "detail," and my guess is the submitter didn't even mean "Bachelor of Arts."

      It's less common usage these days, particularly among science and engineering folks, but "BA" is used by some people as a generic abbreviation for saying "bachelor's degree," regardless of the specific variety. You used to be able to ask someone, "What did you get your BA in?" regardless of field. Nowadays, mostly you only tend to hear this among humanities types.

      For a little history: today we tend to view

  • Follow the money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:24PM (#47005787)

    Let's be honest here, CS is not the easiest kind of degree you can get. And you also need to understand the crap you learn, sponge learning (soak up the crap, squeeze it out for the test, rinse with alcohol afterwards to get rid of the residue) doesn't cut it, this ain't law or business administration.

    And since it ain't law or BA, it's also not the prestige and/or money that could possibly make it attractive. What's left is these people who study it because they WANT to. It's not where you go when you don't know what to study but your parents want you to go to the university, and neither is it what you study when money is your only reason why you want a degree. CS is what you study when you want to study CS.

    And the number of people who're interested in computers, who have the mindset AND who have the required brains to make it doesn't change. Why should it?

  • When I went to college I changed from Computer Science to Business. I feel there are a couple reasons of this and why it hasn't changed... First off it takes a certain person to program, as stated above some people will take it in like a sponge and some people will just never get it right. (I had that part down)
    Secondly the poor funding and options in this area for colleges, I think sports teams get more funding than Computer Science. (That's how it was at my school.) I learned more off the interweb than
  • by Rinikusu (28164) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:43PM (#47005885)

    And with the ever present threat of off-shoring (to hire non-computer science degree holding Indians), why saddle yourself with mountains of debt just to get a degree that's basically worthless for the "real world," and getting in on the bubble2.0 money? I don't mean this to say that Computer Science is worthless, but that for the vast majority of monkey work out there, it can and is being done by folks who wouldn't know a design pattern from their bosses' assholes. This is mainly because the smart guys doing the real CompSci are building the tools that make it possible for that fucking idiot in the next office over to look like a real fucking genius because he could modify a report someone else wrote to change the text a different color.

    Yes yes, devs could potentially benefit from a real CompSci education. Sadly, most universities don't even teach that anymore; they've become vocational schools for the java/.net sweatshops out there. So, if you're going to be an easily replaceable cog, might as well go ahead and get in the workforce and get paid before the bubble bursts again.

    • by pla (258480)
      why saddle yourself with mountains of debt just to get a degree that's basically worthless for the "real world,"

      Mountains of debt? Worthless?

      I went to a state school (admittedly one with a good rep for engineering), finished with a few $K in student loans that I paid off in my first year after graduating. I made double what my highschool and college friends did just in my internship. I had a job offer the day I graduated, as well as a non-stop stream of recruiter calls.

      And today as a seasoned prof
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @10:08PM (#47006021)

    There is just no way to compete with 3rd world wages. If a job can't be offshored, it will be filled by a visa worker - unless the job requires a top secret clearance.

    I am doing contract work for IBM. There are barely any Americans left. And IBM is doing everything they can to eliminate what few US jobs still exist.

    I am amazed any Americans want to study CS.

    • by Kagato (116051)

      H1B consultants are now reaching the $100+/hr rate for developers. Supply and demand at work as the result of companies not investing in college hires. The pendulum is shifting that hiring from college is actually economical again.

      I make a crap ton of money off shops that got burned with H1B and offshore and need experts to fix the systems.

      • As of 2012, A major houston based food distribution company laid off over 400 IT people and replaced them with offshore / onshore employees of a major Indian INFOrmation SYStems firm with 110,000 employees.

        The indian company used a combination of offshore (at $30 an hour), onshore ($60 an hour) and a novel "physically here in the US but legally employed in India ( at $30 an hour)..

        The employees lacked the promised Sucky Ass Program skillset. Didn't matter.

        The Sucky Ass Program is enormously late (as often

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Because technically, the visa workers are supposed to be paid the same as citizens. Ok, I'll wait until people stop laughing... The other thing is that when employers try to find the cheapest employees they end up with bad employees. Offshored programmers or engineers are the worst of the worst, often because you go through a broker or large IT house so that you have no opportunity to interview the actual workers, and the foreign companies have zero incentive to provide quality (especially since American

    • by Drethon (1445051)
      Because I spent three years fixing the results of software outsourcing?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @10:24PM (#47006087)

    All the big computer-related firms in the US (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, etc) are working VERY hard to end the limits on importing high-tech workers from abroad and several of them are currently involved in a court battle that includes the tactics they were using to suppress the wages and benefits of all the computer-related workers in the US (As the "big guys" in the industry, THEY set the "industry standards" for wages and benefits, so their collusion to rip-off thier own workers actually hurt ALL computer people in the US).

    The Democrat party is full-on in support of the "immigration reform" these big businesses want (the Democrats currently control the White House and the Senate) and the so-called "Establishment" Republicans (the party bosses in D.C., many of their wealthy funders, the "money is EVERYTHING" people from the north-eastern region, and most of the long-time office holders) are also on-board for these "reforms" and are promising/threatening to do them late this year (the Republicans currently control the House) so, without regard to what the American people may or may not want, the "fix" is pretty-much in; sooner or later the wages of high-tech workers are going to plunge further downward. Government clearly DOES NOT WANT AMERICANS DOING HIGH-TECH WORK. This is a fact, no matter what they SAY. Government TAXES and REGULATES the things it wants to reduce. Government SUBSIDIZES and DE-REGULATES (removing limits is a form of de-regulation) the things it wants to increase.

    Any young American who wants a career it's impossible to be fired from, with a good salary and benefits, and with an absurdly unrealistic retirement package that will never be reduced, should major in some nebulous "public policy" field and get a job in the federal government regulating all the people who were stupid enough to try to be productive citizens. You don't have to KNOW anything or have any experience doing anything productive to be well-paid stopping other people from being productive... AND you'll be swimming WITH the currents (doing what government wants)

    • by meta-monkey (321000) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:51AM (#47008451) Journal

      Mod this man up. He knows what he's talking about.

      Not even related to computer jobs, I would not want to be working for a for-profit company in the US, at all. The pendulum has swung so far in the direction of capital and away from labor that people are basically slaves these days. The management squeezes you for every penny, no raises, no bonuses, doing the work of three people they've already laid off, because they know you'd have a hard time getting a job elsewhere. All the while conspiring to depress your wages through illegal collusion ala Steve Jobs and crew or through H1-B immigration. And it's not because they're evil (although they are frequently evil) it's because their job description demands it. They are required to "maximize shareholder value." You don't maximize value by handsomely rewarding employees, you maximize value by squeezing the maximum performance you can out of them for as few dollars as possible. If they don't, the shareholders will fire the CxO or just dump the stock.

      I'm very glad I work for a non-profit organization.

  • Wow, I can't wait to be dead at 40, right around family having age. Sign me up!

  • Here's the general (paraphrased) statistics from the article:

    Percentage of degrees that year being "Computer Science"
    1981: 2.2%
    1985: 4.4% (noted as a peak)
    2002 4.42% (noted as a peak)
    2011: 2.76%

    Number of graduates in a particular field during 2011:
    Computer Science: 47K degrees
    included Art & Performance: 96K
    Communications and Journalism: 83K
    psychology: 101K

    The article make no mention of how many different "categories" of degrees there are, so a percentage means absolutely nothing. The article also compares the number of "Computer Science" graduates (a very specialized field) to categories like "Communication and Journalism" which include everything from newspaper reporters and tv anchors to video streaming technicians and cameramen.

    These statistics actually look pretty good when you consider how man

  • Is that a bad thing? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Brulath (2765381) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @10:57PM (#47006211)

    Why is it a problem that the percentage of computer science graduates, as a fraction of all graduates, isn't increasing? The number of students is increasing, so there are more graduates now than previously, but it's a problem because the proportion of those graduates completing computer science isn't higher? There are more degrees now than there were 30 years ago, that it hasn't decreased could be evidence of growth.

    <capitalism>We should all panic if <our field> doesn't reach <arbitrary metric> within <arbitrary time period></capitalism>

    • This does sound a bit like the "there aren't enough [gender] [job title] in [field]!" stories you get from time to time.

  • by GrahamCox (741991) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @11:10PM (#47006253) Homepage
    So people aren't flocking to become programmers?Good. It's not like the current rate has held technology back in any way - there are plenty of programmers - certainly enough to keep up with the rate that technology itself demands. More programmers wouldn't increase that, it would only make salaries lower. And that's probably why there seems to be a push from industry to get more people interested: more programmers = cheaper wages.
  • The words floating around /. and elsewhere there's going to be/is a glut of these with Computer Related degrees. If they listen to all these helpful hints, most should be looking at the Medical career, (where I started); as it's going to be big.

    The way the hospitals are growing here (Three cities, three Hospitals) I tend to agree, never saw those with medical background buy land like they are now.

    Also with or without obamacare there is no more single physician clinics anymore, they've had to be brought into

  • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @12:37AM (#47006551) Journal

    Where is this "hot job market" exactly? The SF Bay area, where a typical salary is just enough to share an apartment with 3 other people, unless you're willing to do the 3-hour commute thing?

    It's always a fight for me to find work, usually 100 miles away from the previous job, most likely because HR rejects every resume lacking any keyword on the job reqs, and I'm one of the GOOD ones, with a resume that includes senior positions in big companies you've heard of. I swear HR has gone underground in the past few years, and is recruiting exclusively from LinkedIn or something.

    You're in for hell if you've got a student loan hanging over your head, and you're trying to break-in to IT with a blank resume. Hell, those companies that even ASK for any education specifically say they'll consider years of work experience as a substitute, so why go deep in debt for 4 years when you could be earning money instead?

    And those "competitive salaries" aren't that great when the companies expect 80 hour work weeks that burn-out their employees in 2-3 years, or with the above difficulty in finding positions when desired, and whatnot. A smart kid in the middle of flyover country studying IT will just be the most qualified janitor in the local McDonalds.

    Don't forget some lovely hoops, like companies requiring you meet recruiters in-person before even submitting a resume, or the horde of foreign spammers/telemarketers-cum-recruiters who don't know what state you're in, what you're looking for, or how much of your time they're wasting, and don't care.

    Why not have your kid learn to weld, following big construction jobs around the country, earning time and a half paid overtime, more than most IT Pros working the same total hours?

    • It's always a fight for me to find work, usually 100 miles away from the previous job, most likely because HR rejects every resume lacking any keyword on the job reqs, and I'm one of the GOOD ones, with a resume that includes senior positions in big companies you've heard of. I swear HR has gone underground in the past few years, and is recruiting exclusively from LinkedIn or something.

      You've almost got it. HR hires from consulting firms and one of the places consulting firms go is LinkedIn. That's right,

    • by Drethon (1445051)
      I work as a contractor. No time and a half but paid OT nonetheless.
    • by Ryanrule (1657199)

      If you have the skills being looked for, you will be contacted. I get an offer like once a week, many of them allow remote work.

  • by mpfife (655916) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @01:07AM (#47006651)

    People SAY that CS is this big thing - but is it the real computer SCIENCE part - or do they mean code monkeys? CS was always meant to be much more theoretical than practical. About solving really hard problems in operating systems, efficient new kinds of hardware resource management, compilers, programming languages - not just writing the next web app.

    I think computing is undergoing just as big a change now as it did when the .com era came for the first time in the last 90's. Programming is actually getting EASIER and more accessible to everyone. Heck, we've got game makers almost exclusively using engines off the shelf to make massively successful games - and most of them are barely programmers at all. They're script monkeys in Unity. Web companies are making online applications solely from java/ruby and other high-level script and database languages. None of these things require nor touch the difficult problem computer science traditionally focuses on. They're technology jobs - not science.

    If I had to predict, the more traditional need of CS degrees are going to shrink and shrink as advances no longer require the bit-twiddling madness of the early years of computing. Hardware will easily have advanced so-as even the most inefficient algorithms for daily tasks will be just fine. No special knowledge needed. The small blobs of very high-perf code that will be needed will be done by small, very skilled CS majors (drivers, OS's, database cores, distributed memory systems, etc), but the majority of code/apps will be simply scripted/assembled together on top of these high-perf, highly-accessible API's. We already see it with abstractions like PhoneGap, Unity, etc.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @05:39AM (#47007379) Homepage

    When electricity was new, a LOT of people were bitten by the bug. Electrical tinkering was everywhere. You don't see that so much now. Occasionally you will see something interesting, but those individuals who still have an interest in it are rare. For most people, electrical devices and electricity are just a part of life.

    Cars and roads and all the things that make civilization are all the same in this respect. And computers and all that? Moore's law is dead. The excitement is dead with it. More and more it is just business and daily communications and the like. It's not rare, novel or unusual and therefore not interesting to the masses.

    We're witnessing the maturing of an industry. It will remain important, but the players will be fewer. And seriously, when was the last time you saw people lined up outside of CompUSA to buy the next version of Windows? That's literally decades ago and things have seriously gone downhill since that time. It's all normal and common infrastructure now.

    It kind of makes me wonder what the next great technological wonder will be and how everyone will jump on it the way we all did with computers over the last what? 30+ years? We're kind of due for it.

    • They are standing outside the Apple store to buy the next Iphone. It remains a vibrant field.

    • When electricity was new, a LOT of people were bitten by the bug.

      The discovery of electricy being a pre-requisite for the invention of the bug zapper, of course.

    • It kind of makes me wonder what the next great technological wonder will be and how everyone will jump on it

      Slashdot Beta. Zing!

  • If you want to work nights, weekends and holidays.

    Have low status and be viewed as a "cost center" by the business unless it is a software company.

    Face regular "stack" ranking if it is a software company.

    Hit a very hard age discrimination wall at age 45 to 50.

    High likelyhood of your job being offshored or outsourced if your pay is good.

    It's amazing more students don't go into the field.

  • What hot job market? (Score:4, Informative)

    by morgauxo (974071) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @07:50AM (#47007951)

    If you want to slave away at some startup working all your waking hours for a fixed sallary just to make the company grow then sure, the job market is hot. If you think that will get you anywhere other than out of a job when the company either folds (90% of the time) or is bought up by a bigger player you are just another naive kid.

    Don't get me wrong, there are some good programming jobs out there. I found one! But they are the exception, few and far between.

    Oh, and for you program all day long 50+ hours a week types... all those hours sitting at a computer.. that is NOT kind to your body!

  • by DontBlameCanada (1325547) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:38AM (#47008359)
    Good salary base, but every day I fight with ding-dong execs to ensure my team doesn't get completely overloaded. The constant pressure to work 16hr days 365 days/year while not being compensated for OT is draining and makes life hell at times.

    I won't suggest my kids go into high-tech, unless they can get a sweet-sweet senior mgmt position.
  • by wcrowe (94389) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @10:22AM (#47009289)

    I've been out of school a long time, but the market for CS people was pretty hot in the mid-80s and this was the pattern I observed: People would head down the CS path, thinking they would cash in on the great opportunities. However, a lot of them would switch majors after their first programming class, and more would drop after their first advanced class (data structures, or something like that), I have had many, many people tell me over the years that they took some programming and didn't like it. It's just not something everyone can do, or that everyone likes.

  • With people like Zuckerberg saying that he only wants people under 30 and the reports of ageism in CS and IT fields, I can see why people aren't going into CS and IT. Some are going to do well but many are going to drop by the wayside. Why not go into a career where you are still valued are 50 or 60?

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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