Why have you chosen computing?

Posted on December 3, 2013


As part of the development of the Excellence in Communications project, we’re planning an NZ-wide survey of students and industry to get a deeper understanding of IT student and industry values and educational expectations.

At the beginning of 2014, CITRENZ will be undertaking a benchmark survey of all incoming IT/computing students: the “Values and Educational Expectations of Computing Students Project” (VEECS).  We plan an anonymous survey but with a self-generated identification code to allow for possible longitudinal research.   Minimal demographics will allow segmentation by gender, age etc.

We’re trying to keep it as short as possible so trying to maximise the punch into a few areas (hopefully with 5ish Likert or short answer questions each).

1. Importance of communication

This is the raison d’être. The proposed  communications book is based on the premise that students think that industry doesn’t care about communication. We need to confirm and explore this premise. (In a companion survey we want to find out more from industry about what they think is missing. Every IT industry survey ever has identified “soft skills” as deficit, we need to go deeper on what this means. It would be good if the surveys aligned!).

2. Life/career goals

What are those people who have chosen computing as a career hoping to achieve?

How many of them hope to be game developers and why?  Similarly, intentions for entrepreneurship.

3. Motivational responses

Mikey Goldweber argues that we’re missing the trick by focussing on engineering/business when the students want a wider conception of doing good. Possibly aligning with the CIRP Freshman Survey sections on self perception and career goals (eg the habits of mind work from Austin College).    What motivational messages (ie marketing slogans) resonate? (possibility of comparing with the existing wider survey of school leavers to compare people who have actually chosen computing with their larger cohort).

Using the NEP worldview would put the research in context of many others (and allow comparison with earlier work 20092010) but adds 15 questions.

4. Ethical understandings

In our 2008 values of student intake survey, we asked for agreement with statement that “the code of ethics for my discipline places loyalty to my employer above all other concerns including responsibility to society and environment”. Most of the students agreed despite no code of ethics saying such a thing. We want to confirm and expand this finding.

5. Learning expectations

Furthering Lopez and Lopez’s (2009, 2013) work on learning expectations.  What does learning mean to you? 

6. Ability self-rating

We imagine findings such as “x% of incoming students think they will need remedial help in maths” would be interesting.

7. What have we missed? 

What else do we need to know about those people who have chosen computing as a career?  Let us know…