Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Computer science enrollments soared last year

Computer science enrollments soared last year, rising 30%

Tech studies are cool again as students see degrees leading to jobs in many fields; Ph.D. enrollment reaches new high, survey finds

The number of new undergraduate computer science majors at Ph.D.-granting U.S. universities rose by more than 29% last year, an increase that the Computing Research Association called "astonishing."

It was the fifth straight year in which the number of students enrolled in computer-related degree programs increased, according to the CRA's annual survey of computer science, computer engineering or information departments at Ph.D.-granting institutions.

Each year, the CRA report includes the change in enrollment numbers at schools that also participated in the survey in the previous year. In the latest survey, number of new undergraduate computer science majors at schools in that category grew nearly 23% from the 2010-11 academic year to the 2011-12 academic year.
The 2011-12 academic year also marked the third straight year in which the percentage increase in bachelor's degrees awarded hit double digits. In U.S. computer science departments, the year-over-year increases were 19.8% overall and 16.6% among those departments that participated in the survey this year and last year, according to the CRA.

Computer science enrollments "are somewhat cyclical based on the perceived strength of the IT sector," said Peter Harsha, the CRA's director of government affairs.

He noted that CRA members have said that the recent upward trend is due at least in part to the fact that "students are much more aware of the importance of computational thinking in just about every other field of science and technology."

Harsha said that many fields "are increasingly data-driven and computationally-driven, and students see that a degree in computer science gives them access to a wide range of well-paying careers."

In 1999, with the rise of e-commerce, enrollments hit new highs; that year, the survey found that the average computer science department had an enrollment of about 400 students. But with the dot-com crash, enrollments started to fall and hit bottom around 2007, at 200 per department.
The average enrollment per department today is just over 300 students.

Women remain underrepresented in computer science, but latest survey did show an uptick in new female graduates.

In the 2011-12 academic year, women accounted for 12.9% of the students graduating with bachelor's degrees in computer science, up from 11.7% in the 2010-11 academic year. But in computer engineering, the percentage of female recipients of bachelor's degrees decreased from 11.8% to 10.6% during the same time frame.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Why the IT skills shortage may really be about compensation

Why the IT skills shortage may really be about compensation

Some IT industry watchers claim there is a critical talent shortage, while others feel it's more of a pay/wage issue and that companies advocating for more immigrant visas and green cards to acquire needed skills just want to pay less compensation. Peter Cappelli, professor of management and director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School, said the talent crunch is more an affordability issue than an actual shortage of skilled IT workers. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Study: U.S. not prepared for cybersecurity battles

Study: U.S. not prepared for cybersecurity battles

The U.S. military is not prepared to battle a full-scale cyberattack and needs to shore up its tactics, according to a Defense Science Board study, which recommends a revised strategy, revamping priorities and boosting both defensive and offensive measures. 
The Washington Post

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Former President Clinton: Technology is key to improving health care

Former President Clinton: Technology is key to improving health care

Technology is essential for gaining efficiencies and saving money in the health care sector, and price transparency is a must, according to former President Bill Clinton. "The absence of technology, in part, means consumers have no way of knowing what they're going to be charged, what their options are, in place after place in America," Clinton said.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dell, Intel, Red Hat, VMware Team on Linux for Health Care

Dell, Intel, Red Hat, VMware Team on Linux for Health Care

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Yahoo bans telecommuting ahead of Telework Week

Yahoo bans telecommuting ahead of Telework Week

The trending workplace story late last month was Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to discontinue the company's telecommuting option. The news was oddly timed, as last week was Telework Week, an annual initiative -- endorsed by Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., author of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 -- that encourages government agencies, businesses and individuals to pledge to telework.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tips for Doing Business in the Healthcare Sector

Four Tips for Doing Business in the Healthcare Sector

For just about everyone on the outside looking in, the healthcare sector can be a strange and puzzling place. It raises big picture questions, such as how can the U.S. spend twice as much as other countries on healthcare and yet do worse on key metrics such as average life expectancy? There are also practical questions, such as why are so many paper forms still in use? Then there are head-scratchers, such as why do some hospitals that treat heart disease have a McDonald’s in lieu of a cafeteria? So many questions.

Nonetheless, for IT solution providers willing to invest some time and energy, the healthcare sector can provide a wealth of opportunities. CompTIA recently published its 4th Annual Healthcare IT Insights and Opportunities research study to take the pulse of the small- and mid-size physician practice to better understand where opportunities may lie. A few key takeaways include:

1. Connect the Dots Between Technology Solutions and Healthcare Provider Needs.

The importance of information technology to healthcare providers continues to trend upwards – a net 89 percent of physicians and other providers now rate IT as important/very important to their practice. And yet, when asked about key strategic priorities for the year ahead, technology initiatives do not make the top five. Healthcare providers cite needs such as controlling operational costs, improving workflow efficiencies, enhancing staff productivity and implementing better risk management/compliance safeguards at the top of the list. The takeaway: It’s imperative to connect the dots between technology solutions and business objectives.

2. Satisfaction with IT is Good, but Not Great…Which Means Opportunity.

Healthcare providers give generally satisfactory marks for the core IT in use at their practice. Sixty-six percent report being very or mostly satisfied. These are solid marks. However, it does mean one in three healthcare providers are at least somewhat dissatisfied with some aspect of the technology in use at their practice. Areas of greatest frustration include: EMR/EHR systems, computers (general), billing and collection systems, fax machines, networks / slow Internet / downtime and printers.

IT solution providers able to deliver superior reliability, performance, customer service or cost savings can capitalize on the segment of customer most receptive to improvement.

3. Recognize the Two Primary Types of EMR/EHR Customer…and Target Accordingly.

The transition to electronic medical records ) remains a critical step in modernizing the U.S. healthcare system, as does the broader concept of electronic health records. Several years into the transition, significant progress has been made on many fronts. The data suggests there are now two primary types of customer:

Customer Type A: Healthcare practices in this category have deployed some form of EMR/EHR system. According to CompTIA data, 43 percent of practices report having a comprehensive system in place, while 20 percent have a partial system or modules in place. Many adopters in this segment are now in the phase of optimization and working towards stage 1 or possibly stage 2 of meaningful use. According to the research, one of the most challenging aspects of achieving meaningful use stems from interoperability requirements, such as information exchange or integration with outside systems like an e-prescribing application. Targeting this customer segment may entail focusing on troubleshooting, end-user training, integration work, refining compliance and security protocols and adding capabilities such as mobile access.

Customer Type B: Practices that have not yet adopted EMR/EHR tend to be very small – often one or two physicians. They tend to be classified as independents – the segment of approximately 39 percent of practices unaffiliated with a hospital or health system. And, demographically, they tend to skew towards older physicians, according to the CDC. Many practices are not fully prepared for an EMR/EHR deployment – two-thirds of healthcare providers acknowledge this. Additionally, 40 percent indicate EMR/EHR implementation was worse than expected. Keeping in mind the next wave of EMR/EHR customer will be even less tech-savvy, IT solutions providers should be prepared to spend plenty of time explaining the implementation process, keeping technical complexity behind-the-scenes, proactively troubleshooting and building in time for end-user training.

4. Managed Services is a Good Fit for Many Healthcare Providers, but Awareness is Low.

In the healthcare sector, like most industry sectors, management of the IT function is highly correlated with size. Small healthcare practices, without the resources for full-time IT staff, tend to manage IT with a do-it-yourself approach, occasionally calling in an IT solution provider for more sophisticated work. Despite approximately one in five healthcare providers reporting utilizing some form of managed IT services, the research suggests awareness and understanding of the managed services model is on the low side. In some cases, there is even a slight negative perception of the term managed services because of its similarity to managed care, which is viewed unfavorably by some healthcare providers.

While the managed services model may not be suited for everyone, it does address a few key requirements of healthcare providers: The need to maximize system/software reliability and uptime, security, predictable costs and defined customer support. Unfortunately, there is no easy path to raising awareness of the managed services model other than investing the time in customer education and relationship building. MSPs taking these steps improve their odds of success.

For many more insights from the research, CompTIA members can access the full report at no cost by logging into the CompTIA member resource center and visiting the research page.

CompTIA SmartBrief