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Computer science week
Kelly Foss
computer keyboard

Computer Scientists cover a broad range of areas of expertise, from mathematicians and artists to environmentalists and entrepreneurs. In recognition of the importance of the field, nearly two dozen computer science departments from universities in every province across the country have planned activities for the week of December 5-11, marking the first Computer Science Education Week held in Canada.

At Memorial University, the Department of Computer Science will hold an open house today, Dec. 7, from 2 to 5 p.m., in the Engineering Building in rooms EN-2036 and EN-2022. Visitors can check out three stations, hosted by faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and the Computer Science Internship administrator, which describes the work opportunities for people specializing in the field.

“It’s a field hungry for graduates,” says Dr. Ken Barker, president of the Canadian Association of Computer Science/Association d'Informatique Canadienne. “The demand is so high, that students are getting multiple job offers. Enrolment in most institutions has recovered after a few slow years following the dot-com bust, but it is nowhere near where it needs to be to meet the demand.”

Projections by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) in its 2008- 2015 outlook suggest that by 2015 up to 179,000 new ICT jobs will be created. The study notes that half of these jobs will require a university education. A further 30 per cent will require college training but the number of students graduating will not meet the demand of employers.

In its report, ICTC notes that occupations in the ICT industry are desirable careers that drive innovation and social change in our communities.

“The impact of these careers needs to be communicated to attract workers from all disciplines,” reads the report. “ICTC believes that current enrolment levels must be maintained and increase at levels that match the changes in demand. ICTC believes that encouragement for elementary and secondary school students to take math and science is crucial, not only for the ICT labour market, but for Canada as a whole.”

The computer science education days taking place in university departments across Canada are will highlight the variety of job prospects and educational opportunities at universities. The events range from open houses to public lectures and hands-on activities.

"Many of these events are designed to inspire high school students about the exciting ideas in Computer Science and its connections to so many other disciplines,” says Michelle Craig, the coordinator of the Canadian Computer Science Education Week and senior lecturer at University of Toronto.

Information about events taking place across the country can be found at www.cacsaic.ca/computerscience_educationweek_2010. The ICTC report is available at http://www.ictc-ctic.ca/uploadedFiles/ICTC_Outlook_e_Summary.pdf. To find out more about events taking place at MUN email compsci@mun.ca.

Dec 7th, 2010

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