Masters Degrees Down
The number of masters degrees awarded, however, was down 13 percent, to 8,074, in the year ending June 2006. The June 2005 number was 9,286, which was "reasonably consistent with the 17 percent drop in new masters students reported two years ago," Zweben said. Enrollment in masters programs by new students was about the same as last year, while total enrollment was down by more than 10 percentall attributable to declines in computer science masters programs, he said.More than half of new masters students came from outside North America, rising to 56.7 percent from 46.5 percent last year.On the bachelors degree front, issuance was down more than 15 percent, following the 13 percent decrease reported last year. "From this years estimates, it would appear that another 16 percent decline is looming. If this holds true, it would represent a drop of more than 40 percent over a three-year period," Zweben said. But there is some positive news. "When looking at new bachelors degree students, for the first time in four years the number of new undergraduate majors is slightly higher than the corresponding number last year. This holds true when looking at only the more robust computer science numbers," he said. Tech employers dont feel an immigration bill is the answer. Read why here. The number of new computer science pre-majors was up nearly 10 percent, a possible sign of renewed interest in the undergraduate computer science major. "One should not jump to conclusions based on one years data, but the cessation of declining numbers of new students is welcomed by our computer science programs," Zweben said. Total enrollment in computer science bachelors programs was down 14 percent from last year, echoing the drop reported in last years survey, with enrollment today more than 40 percent lower than it was four years ago, he said. But the industry is not standing still. Georgia Techs Foley said that the computing community, recognizing that demand for workers will again grow, has started taking proactive steps to project a more positive image of computing as a profession. This led to the Image of Computing Task Force, of which Foley is co-chair along with Rick Rashid, the head of Microsoft Research. Director Jill Ross is a former executive with Avaya Software. The task force has the support of six professional societies as well as the support of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Intel. "We will be rolling out some campaigns in the next few months targeting high school students, undecided college students, parents and high school teachers. The goal will be to eradicate the negative myths and stereotypes around computing as a career," Foley said. Check out eWEEK.coms Careers Center for the latest news, analysis and commentary on careers for IT professionals.