The number of students enrolled in computer-science programs rose for the first time in six years, says a new report.
Data from the Taulbee Survey, an annual poll by the Computing Research Association, reveals that enrollment jumped 6.2 percent this year among students majoring or intending to major in computer science in the United States and Canada. The data include candidates for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
Top programs, like the ones at the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon University, have been reporting increases in enrollments in recent years, but this report makes it official: The computer science major is back.
“It definitely appears that U.S. computer-science departments are replenishing the freshman and sophomore ranks with larger groups than they are graduating as seniors,” researchers wrote in the report.
While the enrollment bump is an encouraging sign to those who believe producing more computer-science experts will help the United States stay competitive in the global economy, the discouraging lack of racial and ethnic diversity among computer-science students persists. Nearly two-thirds of students who received bachelor’s degrees in the field last year were white (Asians came in second, at 15. 5 percent), and more than 88 percent were male. –Steve Kolowich