Stanford Computer Science in 2 Charts
Mehran Sahami (my friend & a professor there, plus generally a Person To Know) gave some background on what’s going on lately, and put up this chart:
That’s the chart of the # of undergrads majoring in computer science over the years. (He almost was kind/snarky enough to include my own year — I graduated in 1993. My only solace is that Mehran definitely graduated before I did.)
But this is amazing. Nearly 350 CS majors last year, compared to just under 1,700 that matriculated starting 2014.
Some things to note:
- Obviously we are in a boom, but I personally don’t think we will see a pullback like what happened after the 2001 dot com crash even if the tech economy cools off a little bit — we are in a permanent software revolution at this point.
- We are heading towards 100 female CS majors (and already are at more women majors than total majors when I was there). That’s huge progress, and due to tons of effort by many in & around the program. 25% is good, but not enough, certainly.
Which brings me to the next chart:
CS106A is, more or less, the first introduction to computer science class at Stanford. (Often called CS1 at other schools.)
The first thing to note: 1,550 students in 2013/14! Out of right around 1,700 undergrads. Realistically it’s a bit bigger denominator than the 1,700 because some graduate students take the course, but it’s still amazing to me that such a high percentage of students take CS now.
But more interesting to me is that in the past 4 years the enrollment of women has moved from about 1/3 to over 40%.
That’s real progress. And gives hope that over time Stanford will be able to increase the % of women majoring in CS getting up near more representative of the student population overall.
It looks to me like they’ve achieved a critical mass of women in 106A, and I’m hopeful that will lead to a continued critical mass declaring as majors. Time will tell, but I’m optimistic.