Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Outsourcing and the Future of Computer Science

How will the trend in outsourcing programming work affect computer science departments in America? In the short term not good. A lesser need for programmers and continued slow growth in the technology sector will keep undergraduate enrollments down and CS departments will have less expansion. We are still a decade or two away from large retirements of the first wave of computer scientists so for the most part new faculty get hired mostly on CS department expansion.

In the long term outsourcing will lead to much stronger computer science departments. Programming skills alone will not necessarily lead to success and technology professionals will need a deeper and broader view of the tools and ideas in computer science. CS departments will have to provide courses that cover these concepts requiring a faculty that covers many areas and knows them well. Departments will have to expand to meet these growing needs with active researchers in a broad range of expertise. As a result we will see many more universities with a strong and vibrant research-oriented CS department.

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