If I were to offer you the opportunity to start a real career immediately after your four years as an undergrad with a salary of over $50,000, would you take it? The resounding answer on campuses everywhere has been a big fat no.
With just over 15 percent of the student population majoring in computer science and engineering, about half of the student population is paying an estimated $20,975 a year for a major that will net them just $32,457 once they leave college.
Digging deeper into these numbers, it becomes readily apparent that one demographic in particular avoids computer science and engineering: women. With the ‘glass ceiling’ in play, women have long complained about the pay disparity that exists between them and men.
With the average college-educated woman making $44,200 a year, as opposed to the college-educated male that makes $61,800 a year, it’s no wonder.
Part of this lies in the traditional view of the engineer and computer scientist, similar to the medical profession that once was. In 1975, just 9 percent of doctors were women. Today, there exists an equal ratio of men to women in medical schools. Medicine is no longer strictly a male profession.
Computer science and engineering are relatively new disciplines that continue to be seen on the fringe of acceptability for women. Just 556 of the 2,763 students in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering women and just 189 of 1,307 students in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences are women.
And it’s true: girls in these majors receive special attention in lab. A girl raises her hand for help and a swarm of guys will leap to her aid. I raise my hand … and I’ll be lucky if the TA makes his way over in less than five minutes.
That’s not to say that all girls rely on other guys to pass their classes