Stephen Wolfram thinks You Should NOT Study Computer Science in College
In a recent interview with The UIUC Talkshow, Stephen Wolfram argues that studying computer science in college may not be the best path for those interested in pursuing a career in computational fields.
He suggests that what people should be interested in is “computational X,” where X can be any field such as archeology or zoology. He believes that the future of these fields will be heavily influenced by computation, and that there will be many opportunities for those who are trained in this area.
However, Wolfram argues that computer science departments often teach a lot of low-level programming languages, which may not be useful in the future. He believes that many of these layers have been automated, and that humans do not need to know how to program in low-level languages anymore. He has devoted much of his life to building a higher-level way of thinking about computation, in order to enable people to get to computational X without going through traditional computer science.
The interview suggests that computer science as a field in colleges has evolved over time, and has various application areas that have been bolted on to it. Robotics, computer security, cryptography, and machine learning are examples of such areas. However, these areas may not fit in other departments, and the field of computer science has become complicated.
Wolfram concludes that the path to computational X is complicated and that people should think carefully about what they want to study in college. Instead of going straight to computer science, they should consider what they want to do in the future, and then think about how they can get there.
For more thoughts on whether to study or not to study CS or what Stephen Wolfram's college major would be, watch The UIUC Talkshow Interview with Stephen Wolfram.