Renaissance geeks needed?

An article published today by The New York Times is the latest to argue that computer science as a career these days requires more than coding chops.

The story coins a new phrase to describe the way college students in technology today must blend computer savvy with knowledge in another arena: they must become "renaissance geeks."

From the story: "They have to understand computing, but they also typically need deep knowledge of some other field, from biology to business, Wall Street to Hollywood. And they tend to focus less on the tools of technology than on how technology is used in the search for scientific breakthroughs, the development of new products and services, or the way work is done."

This shift is seen as a response to the offshoring of tech work, where programming and other tasks can be sent to lower-wage nations.

There are some who predict that global free trade in software and tech services will generate greater demand for workers with information technology skills and proficiency in the U.S. This dovetails with the view that U.S. techies will gravitate toward higher-skill, higher-value tasks.

On the other hand, there's growing evidence that higher-level research and development work is being sent overseas.

And there's concern that offshoring "basic" coding and engineering tasks eventually will lead to a situation in which U.S. students and workers lack sufficient tech skills. In both cases, the fear is that the United States could lose its tech leadership to emerging Asian giants India and China.

 

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