How big is your IT department?

11 Sep 2007

If you follow the recent IT-related discussions in South Africa with open ears, you will certainly have heard voices complaining about a shortage of skilled staff in the IT industry and a too low output of MSc-Graduates from South African universities on the one hand, as well as concerns about a too low level of research output in numbers of publications on the other hand. This phenomenon can easily be related to a discussion in which a “Crisis in Computer Science” (not to be confused with the notorious “Software Crisis”) was diagnosed already 25 years ago by Peter Denning in his ACM President’s Letter “Eating our Seed Corn” (Communications of the ACM, Vol.24, Iss.6, June 1981). This problem, still referred to as the “Seed Corn Problem” in the ACM Education Board Annual Report for the Fiscal Year of 1999, will lead you directly to the crucial question: How big is your Informatics department? — or, if you are an industrialist rather than an academic: How big is your company’s IT department?