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Computer Science Majors Increase at Most Significant Rate Since Dot Com Boom

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The number of computer science majors enrolled in U.S. universities rose 8.1 percent in 2008, the first increase in six years, reports the Computing Research Association (CRA) in its 2007-2008 annual CRA Taulbee Survey. Total enrollment in computer science classes, including majors and pre-majors, rose 6.2 percent.

"The upward surge of student interest is real and bigger than anyone expected," says Peter Lee, CRA's incoming chair. "The fact that computer science graduates usually find themselves in high-paying jobs accounts for part of the reversal. Increasingly students also are attracted to the intellectual depth and societal benefits of computing technology."

The survey polled the computer science and computer engineering departments of 192 Ph.D.-granting universities in fall 2008. The survey found that the average number of computer science majors per department is up 9.5 percent from the same period a year ago, as greater numbers of freshmen and sophomores are entering computer science programs.

Meanwhile, computer science bachelor's degree production dropped 10 percent this year, after falling 20 percent last year. This year's graduating class will be the smallest in 10 years. "Competitive advantage, driven by innovation, has never been more important," says current CRA chair Daniel A. Reed. "U.S. businesses must continue integrating new computing technologies to remain globally competitive."

From Computing Research Association
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