November 28, 2007

Comp Sci: A dying discipline?

Writing about web page,,2209741,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=technology

An interesting article in the Guardian earlier this months notes that applications to study Computer Science at Cambridge are in steady decline, despite it being a well-respected department and (obviously) a prestigious institution. In 2000, 500 students applied and 100 were accepted. Last year, 210 applied and 70 were accepted.

Is this because of misconceptions about what a Comp Sci degree actually entails, or fears about employability after the dotcom crash of a few years ago? Nobody is quite sure, but one interesting comparison is with Southampton University, where applications are up by 20%, a rise which the department attributes to the ingenious strategy of integrating electronics and computer science, with the implied suggestion that a degree from Southampton would qualify you to build both the hardware and the software for the next iPod.

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Steve Rumsby

    I wonder what Warwick’s numbers have been like over the last few years. Anybody know?

    Software and hardware seem to be disciplines that have moved apart in recent years. I come across fewer and fewer people these days that have an understanding of how programs they write might translate into operations at the hardware level. Given the capabilities of modern hardware, it probably isn’t necessary to have that understanding to the same level, but I do find it helpful myself. I’d be surprised if bringing hardware and software back together in a single degree course was suddenly attractive again.

    Of course, Warwick have been doing this for ages, first as a “Computer Systems Engineering” degree in conjunction with the Engineering department, and now as a “Computer Systems” degree run just within the Computer Science department. Seeing recruitment numbers for those courses would be interesting too…

    28 Nov 2007, 13:38

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