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Career Watch: Computer science enrollment on rise

Jamie Eckle | April 23, 2013
Enrollment shot up nearly 30% last year.

The Big Numbers

• 19.8%

The number of bachelor's degrees awarded to computer science majors by Ph.D.-granting universities in the U.S. increased by 19.8% in 2012 compared with a year earlier. It was the third year in a row that the percentage increase was in the double digits, reflecting an uptick in the fortunes of the cyclical IT jobs market. According to Peter Harsha, the director of government affairs at the Computing Research Association, CRA members have said that the recent upward trend is due at least in part to the fact that "students are much more aware of the importance of computational thinking in just about every other field of science and technology."

• 29.2%

The cycle appears to be on the upswing, since even more undergraduates are flocking to computer science. According to the CRA survey, the number of new undergraduate computer science majors at Ph.D.-granting U.S. universities rose by more than 29% last year, an increase that the CRA called "astonishing."

It was the fifth straight year in which the number of students enrolled in computer-related degree programs rose, according to the CRA's annual survey of computer science, computer engineering or information departments at Ph.D.-granting institutions.

-- Patrick Thibodeau

Source: The Computing Research Association's annual CRA Taulbee Survey

Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader: Zack Hicks

The Toyota Motor Sales CIO answers three questions on networking as a career choice.

I just got a degree in computer engineering and plan to go into networking, database management and, later, security. Does this sound feasible, or should I just pick one? If the latter, which one should I pick?

At Toyota, I encourage my IT associates to rotate through our different technical and nontechnical roles. My path to CIO was by no means a straight line, but I found that the perspectives gained from both technical and nontechnical roles set me up for success as a CIO. I would encourage you to get as varied experience as you can. That being said, if you find that you have a passion for networking, database management or security, you can find great success by becoming an expert in any of those areas.

And for readers currently in school, I cannot stress enough the importance of a summer internship, which provides exposure to real-life business processes and often gives you an edge when you're applying for full-time jobs.

I have a bachelor's in business administration and an A+ certification. Right now, I am a network technician, but what I really do is basic help desk support with some network stuff on rare occasions. I would like to expand my expertise and skills in networking and security for a higher-paying job. Is this a reliable route to take? What certifications would you suggest? I've been thinking of getting CompTIA Network+ certification, but I've heard a lot of people say to get a CCNA instead.

 

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