Career Outlook for CS Students

The CACM web site has an interesting interview with Joel Adams (Joel Adams Discusses the Career Outlook for CS Students) Joel Adams’ report on The Market For Computing Careers summarized employment data and projections from a number of sources and shows an optimistic about job openings. Unfortunately the number of people being prepared for CS and IT careers is not projected to meet the need. This is a problem for the companies who need these trained people but it is an opportunity for students and the educational programs who could prepare them for future careers. The interview includes discussion on a number of topics beyond the job projections though.

For example, this exchange is related to my blog post on making CS interesting again where discussion of words like “geek” and “nerd” came up in the comments.

Speaking of the “nerd/geek” stereotype, some people, such as David Anderegg, a professor of psychology at Bennington College , have suggested that the terms “geek” and “nerd” should be banned External Link. What’s your reaction?
I agree that the stereotypes are damaging, but I disagree that the terms should be banned. I believe in responsible free speech, and generally dislike strategies to ban pejorative terms and introduce “politically correct” (PC) replacements. The PC replacements eventually become pejorative, and the cycle starts over.

So I think a better strategy is to admit that there are some nerdy/geeky computer scientists, but not let them be the standard bearers for our discipline. We need to find a way to leverage the power of mass media to create a more positive association for the term “computer scientist” in the average person’s mind.

I highly recommend the whole interview though. Lots of things to make you think about the future of the computer science field in the US and beyond.


Comments (2)

  1. Garth says:

    I really do not think the words nerd and geek have the same connotations they did a few years ago.  At my school the computer nerds and geeks are all major contributors on a sports team, are socially “normal”, and are accepted by the non-geek crowd as being cool because they know computers.  Every kid realizes the importance of computers (even if it is just as a game platform) and the experts (the nerds and geeks) have reached a status of respect they did not have 15 or 20 years ago.  40 years ago the “cool” kids were sports stars, cheerleaders, had cool cars and wore the right clothes.  The same things are still true but now add “can make a computer/technology do cool things”.

  2. Coder says:

    Garth, I totally agree with you, times have changed, and computer knowledge and experience has been accepted much better that it did 15 to 20 years ago. This day and age, you are cool if you are guru!

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