CS Needs Women

The good news is that majoring in computer science, information technology, or software engineering is cool again. Which means that it was cool once before… a cultural high point for my field that I clearly slept through. Still, it’s comforting to know that I was once one of the cool kids, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

Undergrad Computer Science majors are up 8.1% in 2008. Of course just like last time, the uptick only includes males who are white or Asian. There still doesn’t seem to be much of an allure for other minorities or girls as those numbers are flat. As a consequence, there are apparently lots of scholarships available if you are from one of the under represented demographics. Which is great if you’re a geeky Hispanic woman looking for a free ride to a good school, but does kind of raise the specter of reverse discrimination. It’s also pretty inequitable as short guys are pretty under represented on Division I basketball teams, yet you don’t see a lot of recruitment and scholarship efforts going on there.

And no, I’m not suggesting that women or minorities are genetically less capable technogeeks. Just that there may be reasons (biological, sociological, cultural, or other) that draw people to certain fields. This notion that every way we slice society that it needs to look uniform is not just goofy, but damaging in it’s own right.

But I digress… we were celebrating how cool my kids will be. Dateless, but cool.

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