Outsourcing narrows field for computer students

Students who thought a computer-based major would produce a six-figure salary might want to consider that notion carefully.

According to an article in USA Today, in 2003 the number of newly declared computer science and computer engineering students in the United States and Canada decreased by 23 percent from the previous year.

Students are changing their majors to what they consider to be more profitable careers.

Because of outsourcing overseas by major companies, it is getting harder for students to find jobs in computer related fields after graduation. Companies are choosing to outsource because they can pay employees a lot less than they can in the U.S.

“I just changed my major from computer engineering to pharmacy because I keep hearing about there being a loss of jobs right now,” said Ezekiel Fields, 21, a pharmacy student from Fort Lauderdale. “I really can’t afford to have to compete with people overseas who are willing to get paid less than I am to work; at least I know that pharmacy is going to be an ongoing career and not just a trend.”

According to a report on http://CNetNews.com, women’s interest in computer science between 1998 and 2004, fell 80 percent.

Interest fell 93 percent since its peak in 1982, according to a report from Computing Research News.

“Computer Science is a major that you can never really be completely knowledgeable about every component, because it is ever evolving,” said Tina Bullard, 23, a computer information systems student from Palm Beach.

“It’s completely understandable that women are declining in this major because most women want to have families and steady careers, they don’t want to keep having to go back to school to get better training,” Bullard said.

A new report from the Computing Research Association shows that the United States is lacking in the information technology field compared to other countries such as India and China.

An extreme decline in females majoring in computer related disciplines is also noted in the report.

Last fall, the number of all incoming freshmen enrolled in universities who felt they would probably major in computer science was just less than 1.5 percent of all enrolled freshmen, according to the report.

“Since I’ve been reading about all of the layoffs due to overseas offshoring, I’m starting to consider whether or not I made a good decision about my major, but I started school when CIS was considered to be a good major to have, because of all of the benefits that you could obtain from a well paying career,” said Jamal Jackson, 21, a CIS student from Fort Lauderdale.

“I hope that whatever is causing this to occur stops soon, I don’t want to be someone who got a degree and has nowhere to use it,” Jackson continued.

The question being posed by the studies conducted by these associations is “What exactly is causing students to look unfavorably on these majors?”

Reports done by CRA show that the dot-com bust and offshore outsourcing are the most probable choices for the decline.

But by so many students choosing other majors when the time calls for the need of highly trained or even well-trained computer professionals, there may not be many to choose from.

Contact Kimberly S. Craft at famuannews@hotmail.com