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This article makes the claim that:

While computer science course take-up had gone up by over 90 percent in the past 50 years, electrical engineering (EE) had declined by the same amount. The electronics graduate has become rarer than an Intel-based smartphone.

While I understand that Computer Science is a highly popular field, has there really been such a drastic change in the number of CS vs EE students? Is there any data to substantiate this claim?

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  • What country is this claim about? Mkay it seems to be about the US theregister.com/2022/07/08/semiconductor_engineer_shortage
    – Fizz
    Jul 20 at 17:52
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    FYI - I graduated from MIT about 50 years ago in 1970 and there was no such thing as majoring in computer science or getting a degree in the subject. I followed a newly existing path petitioning to have classes in computability, modern algebra, etc, substituted for classes in antennas and waveguides to get an EE degree. Jul 20 at 19:14
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    Yeah, I graduated in electrical engineering in 1972. That was the first year that my college offered a computer science degree. Jul 20 at 20:14
  • @DanielRHicks I don't know where you went to college, but your alma mater's computer science department most likely was spun off from its electrical engineering department. That's how the comp sci department at my alma mater formed, shortly before I started college the year after you graduated. Jul 21 at 13:00
  • @DavidHammen - Speed Scientific School at the University of Louisville. Yep, the comp sci department was gradually spun off of the EE department, first just producing "specialists" (I forget the term they used) with EE degrees. Jul 21 at 13:06

1 Answer 1

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Not in absolute numbers, but possibly in percentage points.

The origin of the claim comes from a presentation by Raja Koduri at Intel during a panel titled Building the 2030 Workforce: How to attract great students and what to teach them? at the 2022 IEEE Symposium on VLSI Technology & Circuits.

The original presentation does not seem to be freely available (yet) but the slide is available at SemiWiki:

College Enrollment: EE vs CS

Since the original presentation is not available, I could not find exactly how this data is measured or what the source is, but speaking as an EE it does not seem surprising and matches what my colleagues and the head of the EE department at my university told us.

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    It's not your fault, but without context this chart is just weird and incomprehensible. What does "popularity" (in percent) mean? It can't be showing the relative popularity of EE and CS because then, the two lines would have to add up to 100 percent at any time. It can't be showing the changes in EE popularity and CS popularity relative to 1964, because they both would have to start at 100 percent. The only way this makes sense to me would be if it was showing enrollment in one specific college that only offered EE in 1964 but expanded to offer CS and other undisclosed subjects over time.
    – Schmuddi
    Jul 21 at 6:21
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    @Schmuddi I agree with all your objections, and hopefully the full presentation will be released with more information. I still think this answers the question and clears up some of the confusion. I just now noticed the very faint watermark that looks like Source: U.S. Dept. of Education ????. Couldn't make anything out of that.
    – pipe
    Jul 21 at 7:18

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