MSNBC has some interesting coverage of an important but oft-overlooked part of our IT workforce: students seeking vocational rather than research-oriented IT training. The article covers the recent AAAS report entitled Preparing Women and Minorities for the IT Workforce: The Role of Nontraditional Educational Pathways. The article begins:
Pop quiz: Which schools produced the most degrees in computer science in 2001? MIT? Carnegie Mellon? Georgia Tech?
If you guessed any of these, youre wrong: try Strayer University and DeVry Institute of Technology.
If you guessed [the typical student is] a young geeky guy with a pocket saver, guess again: try a 35-year-old African American or Hispanic woman who already has a full-time job at a company where information technology (IT) skills are a key to advancement.
Shes the one taking the night courses at one of the for-profit institutions like Strayer or DeVry that have a wide variety of locations, and offer courses in the early morning and evening, as well as on-line courses.
The study found that women, minorities, and non-traditional students were especially likely to take advantage of CS/CE educational opportunities from for-profit institutions. It is a helpful reminder that the future of computer science and engineering in the United States is dependent not just on researchers but on a non-research oriented IT workforce that can deploy the advances of CS/CE research and development throughout all areas of society.
CRA’s Taulbee Survey maintains information about women earning CS/CE degrees from PhD-granting institutions. Results from recent years: