A recent survey of computer science graduates conducted by CodeSignal, a developer assessment platform, has found that Swarthmore alumni are among the most technically proficient in the country, finishing ahead of their counterparts from institutions such as Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley. Swarthmore's CS graduates were ranked tenth by the survey, which measured competency through CodeSignal’s General Coding Framework, an industry-wide skills evaluation taken by more than 50% of graduating computer science students in the U.S.
Reporting by Protocol noted that students are "excelling in more than just the CodeSignal test" and pointed to the Swarthmore programming team's recent success at the 2021 Intercollegiate College Programming Contest, where the team finished fourth at the North American Championships and the World Finals Invitational. In both cases, they competed as the lone representatives of a liberal arts college
Speaking with Protocol, Associate Professor of Computer Science and department chair Andrew Danner "speculated that the school’s focus on algorithmic problem-solving over teaching specific languages might explain its success."
“Our intro course is taught in Python, but the goal here is not to teach you Python, it’s to teach you enough Python so that you can solve some computational problems with it," he says . "We do that again in our intermediate courses too where we switch the language and teach them C and C++ so that they see a variety of different languages throughout their career. There are a lot of schools that teach Java the entire time; students know that language extremely well, but maybe they don't know how to adapt to other ones.”
Computer science is consistently one of the most popular majors at Swarthmore and its continued growth will be supported by a comprehensive renovation of Martin Hall set to begin in early 2023.