Numbers Not Looking Good

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-08-02 Print this article Print

Jim Foley, a professor in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology and former chairman of the Computing Research Association, agrees with Turner that the numbers for college students heading into IT are not looking that good. CRA research found that entering freshmen who indicated they would major in computer science fell by half from the high of 16,000 in 2000, which was just before the dot-com crash, to some 8,000 by fall 2006. "But the good news is that the decline seems to be leveling off; at Georgia Tech we have a slight uptick," Foley told eWEEK in an interview.
The number of U.S. students graduating with Bachelor of Science degrees peaked at 14,000 in the 2003-2004 academic year, dropping to 10,000 for 2005-2006, he said, noting that interest in computer science and computer engineering as a major has also dropped from about 3.7 percent of entering students in 1999 and 2000 to about 1.1 percent in 2006.
"Again, this does not include all of IT, but in large part these are the students whom Microsoft would like to hire, and there are not enough of them. There will be another lag until entering students realize that computing and IT are good fields with good jobs. Thats what Microsoft and lots of other companies are experiencing right now and are worried about," said Foley, in Atlanta. Microsoft has hired more than 12,000 people over the past year. Click here to read more. "Competition is fierce, and our students are now getting multiple job offers. Hiring was slower just after the dot-com crash but, you know what? Jobs for the really good students were always there," Foley said. However, the CRAs annual 2005-2006 Taulbee Survey of North American University departments that grant Ph.D. degrees in computer science and computer engineering found that the outlook is not all bad. While the results of that survey, released in May, found that the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded continues to set records, the number of masters and bachelors degrees awarded has dropped significantly. The full survey and analysis can be downloaded here. Some 235 departments were surveyed and 188 responses were received, giving a response rate of 80 percent, author Stuart Zweben said in the report. Between July 2005 and June 2006, a record 1,499 Ph.D. degrees were awarded, a 26 percent increase over the same period the previous year. Of those who reported employment, almost half took jobs in the industry, while just one-third took academic employment in North America. "As was the case during the dot-com boom years, industry is taking a much larger share of new Ph.D.s than is academia. … There was also a large increase in the number of people with Ph.D.s employed in the operating system/networks area, with a decline on the software engineering side," he said. Eric Lundquist says the answer to the H-1B visa dilemma is innovation. Read his column here. The record number of Ph.D.s has not resulted in higher unemployment among new Ph.D.s, the survey found, noting that the reported unemployment of 0.7 percent in 2006 was lower than the 1.5 percent in 2005. The proportion of women getting Ph.D.s rose to 18.1 percent in 2006 after falling to 14.7 percent in 2005, while the proportion of nonresident alien Ph.D.s rose to 56.8 percent in 2006, from 53.4 percent in 2005, underscoring Turners comments that many of those educated in North America come from elsewhere and often have to return to those countries. Page 3: Hedge Funds Luring Away Prospective Microsoft Talent

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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