SINGAPORE: A degree in Computer Science was the ticket to a high-paying job, the National University of Singapore said in 2012. Besides doctors and lawyers, computer science and computer engineering graduates had among the highest average gross salaries. An article from February this year says that computer science graduates from NUS earn a respectable $7583 per month, and graduates with the same degree from Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University earn just a little less.

However, recent tech layoffs in the hundreds from high-profile companies such as Google and Facebook may mean that CS graduates may no longer have it so easy. Business Insider published an article last week titled “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,” which quoted CS students as no longer being as confident in their career prospects as they once were.

The students shared their experiences of sending out job and internship applications by the dozen—or even as many as 100 in one case—and getting back very few responses and offers.

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The piece quotes the CEO and co-founder of NodeFlair, a job board for tech professionals in Asia, Mr Ethan Ang, saying there’s a talent surplus alongside plummeting demand. Factor in an abundance of caution on the side of employers as well.

“You have to apply for jobs now. It isn’t like in the past when you received multiple invitations from companies. Everyone is playing the short-term game right now. Everyone is trying to hold cash. Hiring fresh graduates isn’t the best strategy because you need time to train them up,” he said.

The piece also quotes Prof Ben Leong, who teaches CS at NUS, as saying there are many more qualified students in the field than there used to be. “The fact is that it’s a hard job, and getting a degree doesn’t mean you get a job,” he said.

Prof Leong posted the Business Insider piece on his own Facebook account a few days ago and engaged in a lively discussion with commenters. “Trust me that we’re currently not entirely keen to have yet more students study Computing. Our pay isn’t proportional to how many students we teach,” he said. /TISG

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