Computer science majors on are the rise throughout top-tier universities — particularly in NY, where Cornell University recently announced it will be building an applied-sciences campus on Roosevelt Island. The number of declared undergraduate computer science majors at the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science rose 12% this year over last year; at New York University, the number increased 10%. Queens College and Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., also reported jumps in the number of computer science majors. And the number of students enrolled in computer science classes has surged between 30% and 50%, according to the Wall Street Journal. The increase follows a national trend: Computer science majors increased 7.6% across the country from 2009 to 2010, the most recent available data, according to the Computing Research Association.
“Computing now penetrates into just about every line of business and academic discipline,” Zhigang Xiang, chair of Queens College’s Computer Science Department, told the WSJ. “It’s hard to find one field where you don’t need it.”
One reason for this surge is because NY is steadily become the hub for young techies and startups. Neighborhoods such as Union Square in Manhattan and Dumbo in Brooklyn have become incubators for start-ups, WSJ notes, as students are recognizing the city’s vast array of offerings and spirit of technological innovation. Arvind Srinivasan, a Columbia sophomore studying computer science, said he moved to NY from Fremont, Calif., because he was drawn by the city’s mulch-dimensional nature.
“When I was thinking about schools, I wanted to go somewhere that had a start-up ecosystem—in and around cities—but I wanted a place that wasn’t unilaterally focused on technology as an engineering problem,” Srinivasan told the WSJ.