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A View from David Appell

Bill Gates Is Puzzled

Bill Gates is reportedly puzzled about why more students aren’t going into computer science. Gates said Monday that even if young people don’t know that salaries and job openings in computer science are on the rise, they’re hooked on so…

  • July 21, 2005

Bill Gates is reportedly puzzled about why more students aren’t going into computer science.

Gates said Monday that even if young people don’t know that salaries and job openings in computer science are on the rise, they’re hooked on so much technology – cell phones, digital music players, instant messaging, Internet browsing – that it’s puzzling why more don’t want to grow up to be programmers.

One person at Gates’ research faculty summit, a dean of engineering and applied science at Princeton University, said most students she talks to “fear that computer science would doom them to isolating workdays fraught with boredom — nothing but writing reams of code.” I guess you have to take them at their word. I wonder, too, if stories about 40-year-old programmers being obsolete now, and subsequently laid off, might not be part of it. Software technology changes pretty fast, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any. It’s one thing for someone in their 20s or 30s to deal with; but it’s a tough pace to keep up one’s whole life. Just wondering.

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