Are University CS Programs Outdated?

Critics have long lamented how slowly universities change. Computer Science, one of the fastest-growing majors across countries, is no exception. Computer science students meant to serve the world's insatiable demands for computing professionals simply aren't prepared for the industry. They learn now-irrelevant technologies through dated pedagogy and adhere to academic honesty rules that don't mold well to modern software development practices.

Courtesy Jane Pritchard

In a recent op-ed for the University of Rochester student newspaper Campus Times, I dissected the issue in comparison to a popular alternate education model, coding boot camps. I also gave some concrete suggestions on how to improve undergraduate computer science education based on case studies. Read more here.


Coding boot camps and undergraduate computer science education is a topic I've spent an extensive amount of time researching for a class and on my own. I could easily write five more op-eds on the topic if I could, but I doubt many people would be interested. Such is the nature of writing for the general public.

The op-ed raises some immediate follow-up questions. Why is tech adoption in the academia so slow? (Probably a lot of momentum and bureaucracy. In short, I don't think it's their fault.) Will coding boot camps replace universities? (Probably not, since CS grads are favored over boot camp grads in various positions for numerous reasons.) Will coding boot camps continue to grow? (Perhaps. It's hard to tell as a whole. But there are definitely trends of growing and declining technologies.) Is university for a liberal arts education, or for training? (Ask 10 people and you'll get 11 answers.) Just how are you supposed to organize the administrative nightmare to design an apprenticeship-like course in a university setting? (I don't even know where to begin.)

I plan to tackle a glaring limitation of this piece in an upcoming article.


[1] Caren A. Arbeit, Alexander Bentz, Emily Forrest Cataldi, and Herschel Sanders. Alternative and Independent: The Universe of Technology-Related “Bootcamps.” DOI:/

[2] Claire Cain Miller. 2017. Tech’s Damaging Myth of the Loner Genius Nerd. The New York Times. Retrieved October 3, 2020 from

[3] Getting to Know GitHub | Welcome to Mozilla Science Lab’s Study Group Orientation! Mozilla Science. Retrieved October 3, 2020 from

[4] Graham Wilson. 2017. Building a new mythology: The coding boot-camp phenomenon. Acm Inroads 8, 4 (2017), 66–71. DOI:

[5] Liz Eggleston. 2017. 2017 Coding Bootcamp Market Size Study. Course Report. Retrieved February 11, 2020 from

[6] Quinn Burke and Cinamon Sunrise Bailey. 27AD. Camp or College? In Proceedings of ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ’19), ACM, New York, NY, USA, Minneapolis, MN, USA., 345–350. DOI:

[7] Timothy J. Hickey and Pito Salas. 6AD. The entrepreneur’s bootcamp: a new model for teaching web/mobile development and software entrepreneurship. In Proceedings of the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ’13), ACM, Denver, Colorado, USA, 549–554. DOI:

[8] What Is Agile Project Management? | APM Methodology & Definition. Association for Project Management. Retrieved October 3, 2020 from

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