Computer Science Curricula in a Global Competitive Environment


Computer Science

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Computer Science enrollments are off nationwide, due in part to the tech downturn, and due in part to the well-publicized movement of tech jobs overseas in a global economy with instantaneous communications. Computer Science program coordinators and curriculum committee's are in a quandary: the organization and content of a science education should not be dependent upon the whims of the marketplace. Yet this new technology environment contains forces beyond the control of governments, let alone curriculum committees, and marketplace effects are playing out in academic environments in terms of enrollment and faculty positions. Current research from the Information Systems discipline analyzed the "global sourcing" movement, and concluded that IT-related business enterprise functions differ markedly in the ease and success in which they can be outsourced. Functions and knowledge areas that are of strategic importance to the enterprise and those that are critical to a firm's competitive advantage, are less likely to be successfully out-sourced. Unfortunately, the traditional entry-level career step for computer science graduates in basic programming has been identified as relatively easy to move offshore with great success. By examining computer science knowledge areas in light of these observations, a strategy to position computer science curriculum to counter the outsourcing movement is revealed: CS programs can emphasize higher-level knowledge areas that tend to be both critical and strategic to a business enterprise, in order to make the curriculum more attractive to, and of more value to career-minded students aware of the global employment competition they face. Based on the opportunities and strategy developed in this paper, a graduate CS curriculum has already been implemented at Kennesaw State University, and a revised undergraduate CS program is being developed that implements this concept while retaining compliance with ABET accreditation guidelines and criteria.

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