I was in the UK last week, where I visited a number of universities and was a keynote speaker at a conference sponsored by BCS - a leading organization of IT professionals around the world which was originally known as the British Computer Society. The conference, entitled Perceptions in Computing, focused on the challenges facing Information Technology -- specifically, the fact that despite IT's unprecedented ubiquity and importance, there has been for several years a decline in the number of students choosing careers in IT. The conference web site succinctly describes this paradox:
"A number of widely varying perceptions of computing are…
‘One of the most significant advances of the 20th century’
‘Of vital importance to the future economic prosperity of the UK’
‘The agent of chaos when projects fail’
‘Now in nearly 60% of households’
‘Not the subject I want to study at university’
… these perceptions challenge the UK academic community to deliver world-class applicable research, and exciting degree programmes producing high quality graduates that industry needs."