There has been a lot of drama around the new engineering campus that Cornell and Technion will be be building on Roosevelt Island. But in the meantime New York’s exisiting universities have been seeing strong growth in the number of students interested in studying computer science.
Columbia, NYU, Queens College and the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken all reported increases in enrolment for CS classes between 30-50 percent, and a increase in computer sciences majors of 10 and 12 percent at NYU and Columbia. The best part is that students, at least the one quoted in this article, are already beginning to gravitate to New York as a place to study because they see it as a springboard to a startup hub.
“When I was thinking about schools, I wanted to go somewhere that had a start-up ecosystem—in and around cities—but I wanted a place that wasn’t unilaterally focused on technology as an engineering problem,” Arvind Srinivasan, a Columbia sophomore from Fremont, California studying computer science. “New York is really the up-and-coming place because people who don’t have traditional technology backgrounds are starting companies in completely different sectors and utilizing technology.”
Another catalyst is the antipathy to the financial sector which has bubbled over as the Occupy Wall Street movement. Brainy quants who would once have aimed for a job at a big bank may be driven by politics to try something else.
But while the supply of CS students is growing, some in New York tech believe that’s a red herring. “The problem is that NYC startups are basically unknown to students at MIT, CMU, Penn, and even (shockingly) to engineering students at NYU and Columbia (big props to HackNY for trying to fix this),” Mr. Dixon wrote on his blog. “I say this having been at dozens of events with East Coast students over the last year or so talking about startups. I’m constantly amazed that most of the students simply don’t realize startups are a viable option. What we have is primarily a marketing, not a supply, problem.”