Some 120 students in Victoria may soon have this opportunity as the universities of Monash and Melbourne prepare to introduce them to a specially-designed subject based on the first year of a Computer Science degree. It’s hoped that a taste of the syllabus will help arrest a drop in Comp Sci graduates — and graduates from similar “hardcore” fields.
According to The Age, the plan has been put into motion to “reverse a long-term decline in enrolments in hardcore computer science and engineering courses”. It goes on to mention that Melbourne University today sees some 100 graduates a year in computer science and engineering, down from 300 during the “height of the dot com boom”.
The Age spoke to Melbourne Uni associate professor Steven Bird, who believes the subjects of computer science and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) are no longer clearly defined — one is about using software, the other creating it. Giving students a chance to experience the difference, even if abridged, could help improve the situation.
If memory serves, the closest thing I was offered in high school (about ten years ago) was a VET (Vocational Education and Training) course in Information Technology… but even then, that’s barely comparable to Comp Sci. I know, if offered it back then, I would have jumped at the chance. But then I was already programming as a hobby, so my interest might have been somewhat unnatural compared to that of my peers.