How computer science students feel about Duke’s most popular majors

Computer Science 201 students walked into the Bryan Center’s Griffith Film Theater to find it packed. The theater has a capacity of 500 and was nearly full the first week. As students waited for Owen Astrachan to start the first lecture, laptops were open wide, creating a seascape of screens.

Computer science was the most popular major at Duke, with over 900 students in attendance. Camelia Pierson-Eaves, the undergraduate program coordinator, stated that currently there are 734 computer science majors. She also stated that there are 1,746 undergraduate students and 376 graduate students enrolled in computer science courses. This likely includes students who have enrolled in more than one course within the department.

Computer science is the fastest-growing major at American universities. The Computing Research Association’s 2018 Taulbee Survey found that computer science majors increased 8.7% in the United States this year. This follows a 13.3% increase last year and a 24.8% rise the year before.

Computer science is a popular field that many are familiar with. As undergraduate teaching assistants, Laura Li and Abbey List are sophomores.

The list stated that CS is being more widely taught in grades school. “There are many programs that introduce computer science to elementary students.”

Computer science is being promoted in elementary schools. They use online resources to attract students who are interested in coding. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that nearly 90% of U.S. households own a computer.

Anuj Som, a first-year student, has experienced this age of greater technology access.

Som stated, “I know that young people recognize the value of technology.” It’s easy to access code nowadays, and anyone can find it anywhere. You don’t have to limit the number of resources available.

Som shared his appreciation with The Chronicle for the new resources, which included online resources and TA-led reviews.

These TA discussions are one of the many ways the department is trying to cope with the increasing number of students. List and Li each teach a weekly discussion section with 20 students.

The list stated that Strachan said he wanted to make the class a place where students can talk with each other and ask questions, rather than in lecture halls.

The department also increased its course offerings this year. This includes classes like “Algorithms and the Real World.” A new course, Computer Science 102, will be offered in Spring 2020. It is an introductory course. This course will help you to make connections between programming and other areas such as engineering, natural science, and social science. It also helps you to think about real-world problems.

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