Are Dual Degrees in Engineering and Education the Future of Computer Science Leaders?
It is not a secret that great leaders need interpersonal skills to bring people together. However, these skills are not often emphasized in Computer Science university programs. Some students have even revealed that they have hesitated in choosing a STEM path due to its lack of social interaction opportunities.
So the question is, can combining an Education degree with a Computer Science degree create Computer Science leaders in the future?
This study by researchers from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Chalmers University of Technology attempted to answer this question.
More specifically, they aspired to know how graduates with dual Education and Engineering degrees view their opportunities in the job market as computer science engineers and how they compare with computer science graduates in pedagogical skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership.
Do Dual Computer Science and Education Degrees Create Leaders?
Before beginning, it is necessary to clarify what skills leaders should possess. These skills can be categorized into two parts: pedagogical and leadership skills. Pedagogical skills include making written and oral presentations, explaining concepts in layman’s terms, and making judgments when it comes to equality and gender. For this study, leadership skills involved the ability to work in a team; cooperate and lead others; and plan, budget, and lead projects.
Researchers compiled surveys to ask dual degree holders how holding two degrees has helped them in their careers and compared them with graduates who received only a Computer Science (CS) degree. When the dual degree graduates were asked to state the advantages of their education, they listed “good combination,” “specific skills,” “more alternatives,” and “additional competence,” which showed they appreciated the broad scope and diversity of dual education. The disadvantages they marked included “less technical depth or excellence” and “miss a specific area,” among others, which indicated that they desired more technical lessons from their programs.
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However, all respondents were employed, and more than half had jobs before graduation time. So there were no disadvantages when it came to obtaining jobs. It was interesting to discover that no CS graduates opted to work in research or education, while some dual degree holders did.
Other questions included in the survey were more telling of the effects of the dual degree program, such as:
- Did the graduates regard themselves as advantaged or disadvantaged in the job market?
- What was the most valuable skill in their education?
- How long did it take for them to get jobs?
When the Computer Science graduates were asked what they wished were taught more from their programs for their careers, they desired more focus on how to handle different opinions, how to give constructive feedback, and how to split tasks within a group, which all fall under interpersonal and leadership skills. Could a combination of dual degrees with Education have helped in closing this gap? And did dual degree graduates find anything lacking in their education that harmed their leadership abilities?