Reflecting a nationwide trend, the number of students majoring in computer science is on rise at Hiram College, according to Ellen Walker, Ph.D., professor of computer science and associate dean at Hiram. Walker served on the Computing Research Association (CRA) committee, which conducted a recent survey that showed a steady growth, since 2006, of students majoring in computer science across the U.S.
The CRA survey, which examined computer science programs at undergraduate and graduate levels, suggests that the number of college students who major in computer science will continue to rise. In line with the trajectory, Hiram expects to see its graduating computer science majors double from five in 2016 to 10 this spring. Dr. Walker estimates that by 2020 the number of students graduating from Hiram with computer science degrees could climb to 15, which is a significant increase for an academic program at a college of Hiram’s size, she says.
What’s behind the surge? Jobs, say Hiram students majoring in computer science. Consider Hiram student Nathan Metze who works remotely for the federal agency at which he interned last fall, or Matt Pozderac ’16 who now works as a software developer for Avatar Fleet, or senior Greg Potts who completed an internship as a service desk technician at Swagelok Co. in Solon last summer.
“We have been extremely successful in placing students with computer science degrees,” Dr. Walker says. “In the last five years, I cannot think of a single student who has not placed in a job or in graduate school within six months of graduation.”
According to the CRA survey results, enrollment numbers among women and underrepresented minority students in computer science programs is also on an upswing. Outside college campuses, the evolution is receiving recognition.
Last month, for instance, the Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing brought together young women, professionals and educators interested in or working in computer science fields. The biannual event, which has increased its attendance by 50 percent in two years, gives women an opportunity to network and explore careers in information technology.