Why Are Computer Science Degree Dropout Rates So High?

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It’s an international phenomenon – computer science degree dropout rates are getting higher with each passing year. It’s quite paradoxical. While computer science as a vocation is growing exponentially, dropout rates amongst students who enrol in computer science as a degree, seem to be steadily increasing. According to the graph below, the number of computer science degrees being completed, seemed to boom around 1985 and 2003 – 2004. Since then, the decline has been undeniable. Let’s look at some opinions on why computer science degree dropout rates are so high.

computer science degree dropout rates

Image Source: https://computinged.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/is-there-a-crisis-in-computer-science-education-decrease-in-graduation-rates-in-cs/

Unrealistic Expectations

McGoldrick and Huggard, two computer science lecturers at Trinity College in Ireland, point to misguided perceptions as the root cause of high dropout rates in the computer science department. Students choose computer science for several reasons, and the reality is that not all of those reasons are firmly grounded in fact. There’s a big disconnect, for example, between wanting to develop cool computer games because you’re good at playing them, and the skills involved in building those games, Computer science is just that – a science. And a good proportion of students simply do not appreciate the technicality of the subject. Nor are they willing to trade in their glamourised dreams of what computer science is, for the hard work and late hours that it often demands.

The Rapid Evolution of Knowledge

Joe Trubisz, an independent researcher and former college instructor suggests that computer science degree dropout rates are high due to the ever-evolving nature of knowledge on the subject. He suggests that students with hands-on experience in the field quickly realise that the knowledge and skills that are being transferred at a degree level, become almost obsolete in a year or two. The reality is that the skills you need to succeed in the field of computer science in the real world is often significantly different from what is taught at universities.

Fluctuating Demand

Demand for computer science graduates has fluctuated over time. According to Jonah Newman, “The peak in computer-science degrees, in 1985, came about four years after the introduction of IBM’s first personal computer and during the heyday of the Apple II.” A similar boom occurred during the early noughties. With a range of new IT-related fields developing alongside each other, job opportunities for computer science graduates have fluctuated. As a result, the families of students (who may be funding their studies) may become more inclined to enrol their relatives in programmes with a more stable market. Parental pressure has proven to be a big determiner of whether students remain enrolled in a programme or not. For some, computer science as a degree programme may be too much of an investment into an industry that is always changing.

Here’s How Not To Become Part of the Statistics

HyperionDev offers 6-month, part-time bootcamps in Web, Mobile or Software Development with daily mentor support. These bootcamps offer current, real-time information on the industry as it exists today. What you learn, is what you need to succeed in the world of computer science today. At these bootcamps, you will gain insights that are practical and actionable. Whether you’re looking to upskill or make a strategic career move, bootcamps are a great place to start.

A relatively short time commitment allows you the freedom to decide whether computer science is the industry for you. Bootcamps give you an intensive view into the computer science space. They empower students to be proactive about ongoing learning so that they stay ahead of the curve and evolve as developers and programmers.

Riaz Moola, founder and CEO of HyperionDev suggests that “opportunities abound in the computer science space, especially locally. And as the market begins to take shape and evolve, so must the way we approach the educational side of things. The focus has shifted away from degrees and once-off learning and towards shorter-length, transformative experiences that people undertake to upskill themselves as their careers progress.”

HyperionDev bootcamps are designed to equip students with knowledge and skills that will give them the upper hand in an industry that is always on the move. Click here to take your place in the burgeoning world of computer science.