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Computer Science classes have become so popular that universities can't find enough professors...

By William Gayde ยท 11 replies
Jan 25, 2019
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  1. Going to school to become a doctor or lawyer used to be the dream of many, but computer science is quickly emerging as the 21st century's most sought after degree.

    This issue of who will teach the new generation isn't just affecting a few schools who can't afford the extra salaries. Across the country, schools of all sizes are finding it increasingly difficult to manage class sizes with a limited supply of professors.

    Lucrative Silicon Valley jobs have lured away much of the talent that would have traditionally gone into academia. The current trend is not sustainable since the number of students in Ph.D. programs has not risen proportionally to the number of undergraduate students.

    Schools have tried many different methods in an attempt to deal with the rush of students. This includes limiting enrollment of CS courses solely to CS majors and implementing randomized course lottery systems. As originally reported by the New York Times, these practices may unintentionally discriminate against women, minorities, and first-generation college students.

    If a university requires a student to be accepted into the computer science program before registering for a computer science class, this will statistically favor male, more affluent students. Low income high-schools may not have a computer science program to prepare students for college. Women are also less likely to try computer science classes in high school.

    One solution that some schools such as the University of Illinois and University of Washington are trying is dual appointments. This is the practice of professors splitting time between industry and academia.

    Other potential solutions including adding more entry level and exploratory computer science classes. These are great for a student that wants a feel of computer science, but isn't necessarily committed to majoring in it. These classes can also be taught by less experienced faculty leaving the more senior professors for upper level classes.

    The huge increase in the number of computer science students is only projected to get worse, so this problem is likely to be around for some time before it gets better.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,308   +3,715

    I'm not particularly surprised ..... the problems have become widely reported:
    1. Universities cannot and will not pay comparable to commercial opportunities
    2. The best and brightest follow the money, which again is in the business world
    3. Universities de-incentivise professorships by limiting their activities & potential outside income stream

    The future of these career's also seems to have changed drastically due to anti-competitive forces. Rarely do you see newer independent databases, spreadsheet, or word processing applications, in fact the single greatest target of the marketplace is simply games. Now, I like games and enjoy playing them but if we want to continue to have productive applications. The avocation of making gamer's highly paid, even more so than professors defeats any kind of incentive and much like professional sports, this too will get out of control and become highly corrupt.
    senketsu and Digitalzone like this.
  3. Hexic

    Hexic TS Evangelist Posts: 495   +319

    My undergrad CS classes were packed when I began college back in the day. About 1/4 to half-way through the semester, at least half of the class would wash out of the first 3 CS courses that were mandatory to take.

    Kids realizing that, "Oh ****, this is really hard" typically went to Business, Psych, or General Studies after realizing the workload that it takes. I would argue that CS, EE, and ME are debatably the three most difficult programs out there.
    senketsu and psycros like this.
  4. meric

    meric TS Addict Posts: 191   +111

    I think some programming languages (like python for eample) should be offered to high school students as a course of choice. Not just for USA, for any country. That way, kids would see if they have a "talent" in this field and if they want to advance to higher education for computer sciences.
  5. sac39507

    sac39507 TS Addict Posts: 248   +93

    But yet employers are still struggling to fill their positions, according to one article I read. I think it used to be that they had difficulty finding talented, experienced, and highly skilled people, but now they have a hard time just finding people in the field, period. I think consulting or working in other countries is more lucrative.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,290   +4,947

    Maybe it is not the popularity of Computer Science. But rather the students attitude the instructors don't want to deal with.
  7. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 865   +368

    The biggest thing I hated about my CS course were the late lifers and other students who had no experience with computers, no passion with technology, they were just there because the industry is booming and there is gold in them thar hills. CS (like other career areas) requires a general interest in the technology first and foremost, it's not a easy course, and if your not interested in tech and how it works you will wash out fast or just complain the whole time about how difficult the course is. We had 13 out of 45 drop in 4 weeks, we had 4 that were asked to leave after that since they were dramatically slowing the class down due to there lack of knowledge of basic computing. Those 4 were all non traditional college students who had next to no experience with computers other then browsing Facebook, it was ugly. I only had to do the intro courses for CS, but friends that stayed in the course had a really tough time, and these were people even more into computing then me.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,290   +4,947

    And those that are interested are turned down for loans.
  9. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 4,003   +1,177

    My first 'Computer Science' was an adjunct to AP Math. 5 out of a class of 18 learned some basic language on a teletype connection to a timeshare machine. Guess things change, huh..
    Raytrace3D likes this.
  10. I had to take one CS class, Chem major. It was also for CS Degree students. Among the students the introductory class was known as a 'weeder' class. Meaning it was so freakin' hard that only the best made it, reducing the numbers for the rest of the CS program to what the university could handle.
    Hexic likes this.
  11. Hexic

    Hexic TS Evangelist Posts: 495   +319

    I went to Purdue, and like Electrical Engineering, the first 3 semesters of our CS program were weeding out. It was a brutal culling.

    My frat actually made shirts with a limit equation stating as GPA approaches zero, Engineering degree becomes Business major. It was gold.
  12. Thayios

    Thayios TS Rookie

    I've been asked why I don't teach and my answer is always money. I'm not going to take a huge loss to teach. I've seen tuition fly through the roof, but hardly any raises for teachers or any incentives for them to come teach. You've also got to remember that technology is changing at such a drastic pace right now that for someone to truly learn those technologies and go back to teach them, they would have to have much much more time and money to do so to stay relevant in the respective fields.

    Maybe the country needs to figure out how to pay those who teach their children to be successful in life more than silly athletes throwing an inflated cow skin around. If we can afford to give NFL, etc. superstars millions of dollars to get used and abused for a year or two, then we can afford to give teachers the pay they deserve - we pay for it as in we support it, we buy tickets, and watch sponsorship ads for example.

    We have no one to blame but us as a whole.

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