Thursday, February 15, 2018

Corporate Education

First of all read the #metoo testimonial going around the TCS blogosphere. Our field is not immune.

Last Sunday Frank Bruni wrote an op-ed column Corporations will Inherit the Earth, an article on how corporations have taken on what governments used to do. Quite a bit is focused on education.
The nimbleness of corporations gives them an edge over hoary, complacent institutions, including those in higher education...In an effort to make sure that employees have up-to-the-minute technical skills--or are simply adept at critical thinking and creative problem solving -- more companies have developed academies of their own. That's likely to accelerate. "I think enterprises like Amazon and Google are going to build universities that teach coding and things the nation needs" said Margaret Spellings, former education secretary and current president of the University of North Carolina system.
Already in the universities we've seen a move towards more majors and minors in STEM and computer science in particular. The changing corporate workplace has already changed academia, putting more an emphasis on technical areas and less on the liberal arts. Will companies though take the next step, running their own schools that focus on the needs of industry? If we see continued decreased government funding for universities and academic research, we may end up with a handful of rich universities and the rest of the population getting education on the job, a future that would be a loss for us all.


  1. While I share your emotional sentiments, I am not convinced that it will be "a loss for us all." This may remove the pressure from us to teach nitty gritty syntactic details and focus on the science, math, and the art of CS. I do agree that the academic job market may look a bit different, but we should perhaps stay away from becoming ivory tower luddites.

    1. I also agree that such a change would not be a "a loss for us all." Many believe (including myself) that the purpose of a university education should primarily be a scholarly pursuit without catering to vocational trends. In this line of thinking, a transfer of industry-focused learning to industry itself would allow both industry and academia to better satisfy the core of their purposes.

  2. vocational training versus a general education with a major that can launch your career is one question

    large? subset of students treating college like an extension of high school fun times without parents around to ruin the fun and how industry schools would deal with them is another

    if all CS majors who just went into CS because of the $$$ in their eyes with no science passion in their hearts go some other training route, do we lose?

  3. I've heard it said that at universities, football and basketball subsidize all of the other sports and STEM subsidizes all of the other programs.