A record number of computer science majors graduated from the College of Charleston in May 2013. It is a trend the College has seen every year since 2006, and is consistent with national trends. Every year from 2006 through 2012, the number of declared majors at the College has grown by 16.6% per year.
“It’s now socially acceptable to be a geek. Think Big Bang Theory,” notes Chris Starr, chair of the computer science department. “Students are attracted to the number of jobs available and the high pay associated with those jobs (recent College grads have earned as much as $150,000/year as a starting salary). We really saw a sharp increase in interest among students is when the mobile market emerged, starting with the iPhone in 2008.”
Areas of Growth
The Department of Computer Science has seen the largest growth in its computing in the arts (CITA) program and in Data Science. CITA involves creativity and computing in the same degree program – everyone from the entertainment industry to the Department of Defense needs computer scientists who can think creatively and can codify their thoughts. Data science is growing with the exponential avalanche of data in companies and industries who see the opportunity to monetize their corporate and social data. Dice recently recognized it as one of the top five jobs for computer scientists. Watch a video about a recent data science alumnus.
Future Predictions for the Industry
The number of computer science majors will continue to grow, reaching as many as 500 at the College of Charleston in the next few years. Starr predicts growth in software start-up companies, with many developed by teenagers as high schools begin teaching mobile app development. He thinks the data science field will grow, as even small companies will begin to value their data and look for data science services to yield value. Another prediction: the cloud will swell in size, providing more software as a service, and he believes computer programming will become the new literacy in all developed countries.
“What I’m most excited about seeing is computational thinking being recognized as a vital component of the liberal arts. The possibilities are endless when a student is immersed in a highly technical degree program in the center of a liberal arts and sciences education.”
Why Computer Science at the College of Charleston
While new publications and inventions are being made and delivered, the strategic innovation for Charleston and South Carolina is in the programs and technical talent pipeline generated by the computer science department at the College of Charleston. Computer Science is positioned to be a significant asset to companies needing software developers, designers and creative problem solvers who are technically literate. In May 2012, the computer science department was able to assist 84% of the computer science graduates into jobs in the Charleston region. This brain gain represents a new value stream for the community.
Within the Department of Computer Science are the Software Innovations Lab for the production of R&D products in software and cyber-physical computing devices, and the Computer Music Lab, generating R&D output in algorithmic music studies via mobile apps and other inventions.
For more information, contact Chris Starr at firstname.lastname@example.org.