No seats in computer science class? We’ve got seats

As an educator and someone who believes in the strength of academics, particularly when matched with real world experience, there are few things I enjoy seeing more than a classroom full of students. When they return after a long break and fill the hallways with discussions, debate, and often raucous laughter, students bring life into the classrooms and study spaces at Pace University. And as a University, it is our obligation and responsibility to provide them with classes to attend. So when I saw Natasha Singer’s recent New York Times article “The Hard Part of Computer Science? Getting Into Class”, I was surprised. No seats in CS? I should probably stop recruiting, then!

Joking aside, Ms. Singer is probably correct. There are so many students wanting to take computer science that, at many universities, they really don’t have the faculty to teach them. Here at Pace, though, we have seats. You heard it here first.

Some of the stellar young academics at Pace University’s Seidenberg School, with me, ready to welcome new students

The combination of theory and hands-on, practical skills that you get in our bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science have equaled almost guaranteed success. At Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems — the little school I’m honored to lead — our students get jobs within one year of graduation at a success rate of 96%. They go on to obtain six figure salaries at top companies like Google, Facebook, MasterCard, PwC, Verisign and IBM. Some of them start their own companies and go on to do amazing things. And they get there not just because they took a seat in class but because of the type of student that is attracted to Pace University: smart, ambitious, scrappy, entrepreneurial. In a city as ruthless and as motivated and as hectic and as non-stop as New York, you have to be all of these things. Add being a computer science major to that? You’ve got a great job waiting for you after graduation.

If you can get a seat in class.

I felt compelled to respond to Ms. Singer’s article for purely selfish reasons. I wanted to let her know, hey, we have seats. In fact, if she wants to stop by and see what we’re all about, we’ll even save her one. We’ll save a seat for all of our new students, because — I may have already mentioned this — there are few things more pleasing than a classroom full of students who are eager to learn. Perhaps a classroom whose demographics reflect the streets of one of the most diverse cities in the world. I am glad to say that we have that, and I am particularly proud of our almost 30% female population, which is at least ten points higher than the national average.

So we have seats. And those students who take a seat in our classrooms go on to sit in great seats at great companies. Seats that are probably much nicer than our plastic (but stylish) ones. But I did say our students were scrappy.

About Jonathan Hill

Dr. Jonathan Hill is the Dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University. As Dean of the Seidenberg School, Dr. Hill brings a combination of experience in both academia and the private sector that spans nearly three decades