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It's starting to look like majoring in computer science isn't the road to the promised land of money and job security after all

cat

Stupidman
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It's starting to look like majoring in computer science isn't the road to the promised land of money and job security after all​

Kwan Wei Kevin Tan
Nov 8, 2023, 8:30 AM GMT+8

Joel Wong (pictured) is in his senior year at the National University of Singapore. The computer science major told Insider that job hunting has been challenging.

Joel Wong (pictured) is in his senior year at the National University of Singapore. The computer science major told Insider that job hunting has been challenging. Joel Wong
  • Many computer science majors say job hunting has become tougher after layoffs hit the industry.
  • Ben Leong, a Singaporean computer science professor, said getting a job was never easy.
  • "The fact is that it's a hard job and getting a degree doesn't mean you get a job," he said.


Joel Wong remembers looking through the graduate employment survey by Singapore's education ministry six years ago. At the time, he was in junior college, the equivalent of the last two years of high school in the US. The survey, which is done on an annual basis, provides the employment rate and average salaries for different college majors in Singapore.

He chose computer science.

Wong, 24, is now in his senior year at the National University of Singapore. He told Insider he picked his major because he was interested in technology — and also because of the industry's salaries.

"Even back then, the salaries for computer science graduates already were among the highest," Wong said. "So that definitely contributed to me studying computer science."

But that was then, and this is now. The tech industry is in turmoil. Tech giants like Facebook and Google have laid off tens of thousands of employees.

And for college students like Wong, job hunting has become a lot tougher.

"A lot of the tech companies in Singapore that used to hire a lot of the computer science majors from local universities are no longer hiring," Wong said. Wong told Insider last month that he's applied to 17 jobs and has heard back from five companies. None of those responses has turned into a job offer.

And it's not just jobs: Internships are proving elusive, too.

Bryan Ho, a 23-year-old junior studying computer science at the National University of Singapore, told Insider he's applied for roughly 100 internships.

"I think it's definitely become harder because if so many companies are cutting jobs, they will not take as many interns," said Ho.

Out of his 100 applications, Ho said he received four offers.

Too many students chasing the same jobs

Ethan Ang is the CEO and cofounder of NodeFlair, a job board for tech professionals in Asia. The Singapore-based startup has about 40 employees across Southeast Asia. Ang told Insider that today's slump appears outsized because of tech companies' hiring sprees during the pandemic.

"When it comes to recruiting, there is always this demand and supply question. In 2021, the demand was sky-high and there were just not enough people. So that drives up the salary and the demand," Ang said. "People were getting five offers on the table at one go."

"Right now, the demand has died down. Companies are extremely cautious and what you have left behind is this surplus of talent," Ang continued. "You have to apply for jobs now. It isn't like in the past when you received multiple invitations from companies."

Ang said these conditions have dampened the hiring demand for fresh graduates at tech companies.

"Everyone is playing the short-term game right now. Everyone is trying to hold cash," Ang said. "Hiring fresh graduates isn't the best strategy because you need time to train them up."

Ben Leong, an associate professor of computer science at the National University of Singapore, told Insider it isn't so much a job shortage as it is an increase in students in Singapore who are qualified for computing jobs.

According to enrollment statistics from the National University of Singapore, the number of freshmen opting for computing degrees in 2022 was 1,042 students. That's a 57% increase from 664 students in 2018.

Leong said students today need to be realistic about what tech employers are expecting.

"The fact is that it's a hard job and getting a degree doesn't mean you get a job," Leong said, adding that being a skilled software engineer is no different from being a lawyer or doctor.

"Lawyering and doctoring are professional skills. Unfortunately, computer science will be the same, whereby there are people who will major in it but cannot do the job and they probably have to find other jobs. So that's the reality," Leong continued.

Not just Singapore

It's not just Singapore. In the US, some students and recent graduates with computer science or engineering degrees say they have lost faith in the industry following the deluge of Big Tech layoffs.

"It's the worst time to be a junior engineer since 2000, when the dot-com bubble burst," Aline Lerner, the founder and CEO of Interviewing.io, an interview training platform for software engineers, told Insider's Kali Hays in May.

Dimmer job prospects have also resulted in reduced interest in the subject. The number of computer science graduates at MIT, for example, dropped by 12% in 2022 to 260 students, down from 297 students in 2020.

Ho, the junior from the National University of Singapore, said he was considering taking a leave of absence from school to pursue additional internships. This, he says, could put him in a stronger position when he starts applying for full-time roles later on.

"I can delay my graduation a little and hopefully by that time, it'll be easier to find a job with high pay," Ho said.

But NodeFlair's Ang is less optimistic. He said the high salaries of the pandemic tech boom are unlikely to return.

"Other than the generic year-on-year increase in salaries all across the board, I don't think we are going to see anything like in 2021 again," Ang said.
 

Willamshakespear

Alfrescian
Loyal
Many graduates foolishly believes that with high education comes with high pay, WITHOUT realizing that high pay only comes with PERFORMANCE TO the employer.

One is either an asset or a liability in the company. It is cruel but only a fact of life, as employers TOO, need to survive.

Graduates do have a better choice than non-grads, as they have a better ability with Critical thinking, to assess the company that they decide to work in for long or short term.

For long term, they would need to comply with the ethics & working environment in order to progress to greater heights.

For short term, if the company is not to one\s expectations, to form contacts to catapult to higher higher heights for the next job.

Ultimately, no perfect job exists in this World. It's only how one calibrate one's expectation to that of the employer, whom is an entrepreneur whom had plough his life savings to create employment for returns, whom equally have expectations of employees, for a sustainable future TOGETHER.
 

bigozt

Alfrescian
Loyal
It is about skill supply and demand, and the economic structures. I would advise youths in SG today to train for technical trades - electrician, plumber, builder, hairdresser etc. Work a while and tahan the low pay in SG. With the experience, apply for Australian 189/190 skilled PR. You will soon be making A$100K or more and working towards house and car in Australia while your white collar peers still banging head from rejection letters from 'prestigious' firms in SG. PS. Australia min wage today is A$23.23 per hour.
 

red amoeba

Alfrescian (Inf)
Asset
Computer science ? It’s a dumping ground. How to fight w CECAs and pinoys ? If he is wise he will study law and medicine. But I guess he is not from elite JCs and will not score enough to enter.
 

Leongsam

High Order Twit / Low SES subject
Admin
Asset
He can start a porn site or find a partner to perform with on onlyfans.
 

sbfuncle

Alfrescian
Loyal
Only Dumb sinkies will enrol for comp science.
Comp studies used to be only available at ngee Ann polytechnic with a diploma.
They think that with the advancement in technology it will be good to have a degree but this is pure stupid mindset.
Anyone could easily get a IT major cert in security, cloud, etc within 3 mths to 12 mths and takeover their position.
 

congo9

Alfrescian
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Hahaha.
It's good all the way when a certain country from North Asia produce too much of the same kind.

Got to compete with so much costs, yet have to compete with such low costs nation. I feel sorrowful
 

birdie69

Alfrescian
Loyal
Many graduates foolishly believes that with high education comes with high pay, WITHOUT realizing that high pay only comes with PERFORMANCE TO the employer.

One is either an asset or a liability in the company. It is cruel but only a fact of life, as employers TOO, need to survive.

Graduates do have a better choice than non-grads, as they have a better ability with Critical thinking, to assess the company that they decide to work in for long or short term.

For long term, they would need to comply with the ethics & working environment in order to progress to greater heights.

For short term, if the company is not to one\s expectations, to form contacts to catapult to higher higher heights for the next job.

Ultimately, no perfect job exists in this World. It's only how one calibrate one's expectation to that of the employer, whom is an entrepreneur whom had plough his life savings to create employment for returns, whom equally have expectations of employees, for a sustainable future TOGETHER.
Out IT graduates just can't compete with CECA Shitskins, the HR and HOD of IT and even the CEO, are all from CECA India, so very naturally, they will bring in their own native Shitskins.
 

birdie69

Alfrescian
Loyal
Only Dumb sinkies will enrol for comp science.
Comp studies used to be only available at ngee Ann polytechnic with a diploma.
They think that with the advancement in technology it will be good to have a degree but this is pure stupid mindset.
Anyone could easily get a IT major cert in security, cloud, etc within 3 mths to 12 mths and takeover their position.
The next victims will be our medicine graduates, once the doctors from CECA India flooding Stinkapore.
 

nightsafari

Alfrescian
Loyal
Many graduates foolishly believes that with high education comes with high pay, WITHOUT realizing that high pay only comes with PERFORMANCE TO the employer.
that should be an ironclad statement. However some tech companies actually did just pay lots to have people sit around. I remember something about facebook...
One is either an asset or a liability in the company. It is cruel but only a fact of life, as employers TOO, need to survive.

Graduates do have a better choice than non-grads, as they have a better ability with Critical thinking, to assess the company that they decide to work in for long or short term.

For long term, they would need to comply with the ethics & working environment in order to progress to greater heights.

For short term, if the company is not to one\s expectations, to form contacts to catapult to higher higher heights for the next job.

Ultimately, no perfect job exists in this World. It's only how one calibrate one's expectation to that of the employer, whom is an entrepreneur whom had plough his life savings to create employment for returns, whom equally have expectations of employees, for a sustainable future TOGETHER.
otherwise everything else you said is good sense. :thumbsup:
 
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