360 Students in '00 - Largest Class Ever
The undergraduate class of 2000 is more than 360 strong - the largest in the Department's history and double the size of the class of '96. About 224 sophomores are pursuing BSCpE degrees and 139 are pursuing BSEE degrees.
Indications from the College of Engineering first-year students are that the class of 2001 will be even larger - perhaps as large as 435.
This dramatic increase in the numbers of students pursuing computer and electrical engineering degrees is fueled by the information and communications technology industry boom nationwide and particularly in Virginia.
"Nationwide, estimates are that there are 190,000 unfilled positions in the technology industry, and one-tenth of those are in Virginia," said Department Head Leonard Ferrari. The Greater D.C./Northern Virginia region is now ranked second in the country for technology workers, according to a study by Wefa Inc., a Pennsylvania consulting firm. With an estimated 241,000 technology workers in 1996, the region is second only to Los Angeles, and larger than both San Jose and Boston. The Virginia suburbs, with a job creation rate of 4.2 percent, are, according to the Virginia Employment Commission, also among the nation's leaders in job creation.
"Since Virginia Tech produces more than 50 percent of Virginia's information and communications technology graduates, the statewide business community has asked us to triple our graduates in these areas during the next five years," Ferrari said. "Industry needs workers who are skilled with both developing and using computer, networks and communications technology. We have found that the greatest demand is for students who can apply information technology skills within an area of expertise such as wireless communications.
"We are working on several fronts to answer this need," he said. "Two years ago we removed the cap on enrollment imposed by constraints outside the Department that limited the numbers of students who could pursue computer engineering degrees. As soon as the cap was removed, we saw a dramatic increase in CpE students, from a total of 354 in 1996 to an expected 624 next Fall.
"We have also revised our curriculum to more accurately reflect recent changes in the field, we are instituting new programs in different regions of the state, and we are actively recruiting for new faculty to help with this effort."
The Bradley Department of
Electrical and Computer Engineering