I had the joy of going to an opera last night with a colleague at DePaul. She and I talked about a variety of topics, but one of the recurring themes in our conversation was change in the College of Computing and Digital Media. The name itself captures some of the dramatic shifts that have occurred since I started teaching there in 1996. When I first started I was in the School of Computer Science, Telecommunications, and Information Systems, but that name became too narrow when our digital media programs were introduced and blossomed. My colleague has only been at DePaul since 2002, but in that time 11 of our current 16 undergraduate degree programs were introduced. The vast majority of our students are enrolled in programs that didn’t exist when she arrived a mere 10 years ago.
This morning as I was preparing my notes for the new class I’m teaching this quarter, I realized that the dramatic changes in technology and technology education are precisely why I love the field. It’s simply impossible for me to be bored with my professional life. The classes I teach, the program committees upon which I serve, the information I give to my advisees about our programs and the field as a whole: all of this is guaranteed to change, and likely sooner rather than later. And, yes, some things stay constant. I’m still teaching programming just like I was in 1993 when I first stepped in front of a college class. But the language that I’m teaching, the paradigm that I’m using, and the jobs in which my students will eventually use the knowledge they’ve gained are all different. And I wouldn’t have it any other way because computer science is fundamentally an exciting field precisely because you never stand still.