The message seems to be getting through in some quarters: It pays to study computer science.
PC World reports  that the computer science major is getting hot again, at least at some of the country's top colleges. Professors at Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Harvey Mudd and the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology are seeing a surge in students declaring majors in computer science. (All four colleges top US News and World Report's list of the best comp sci and engineering programs).
Why the sudden popularity of the major? The Mark Zuckerbergs and Steve Jobs of the world have no doubt helped by giving the field a lot of pizzazz . But there seems to be a more prosaic reason: Computer science grads are getting jobs and high salaries, which counts for a lot these days.
According to an assistant dean at Carnegie Mellon, "One hundred percent of our seniors were placed last year. About 15% went to graduate school. The rest had jobs. We saw the return of the six-figure offer."
Even women are getting into the game at Harvey Mudd, where they make up 42 percent of computer science majors. Yes, that's less than half, but it sure beats 19 percent, which is the national share of computer science BAs earned by women.
At least, that was the national percentage in 2007. More recent national data on the computer science major are tough to come by.
So, does the trend at Stanford and its peer institutions represent what's going on in the nation as a whole? Are graduates of less prestigious institutions doing as well, or at least much better than they were, say, two years ago? Could women finally be venturing back into the field?
It may be too early to tell, but it sure wouldn't be surprising.