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There are more than 250 UW computer science students in one class — intro to coding. Photo via
There were more than 850 students in UW’s introductory programming class during the spring quarter this year. Photo via Helene Martin.

Demand for computer science education at the University of Washington is reaching record levels, and now the school is taking action to accommodate for it.

The UW today submitted an official request to architects interested in designing a second computer science and engineering building that “will allow a dramatic expansion of our activities in education, research, and interaction with the campus, the region, and the nation,” according to the nationally-recognized CSE department.

The school is requesting money from both the state and private donors to fund the project.

UWDiscussions around a second building have been ongoing for several years now, particularly as The Paul G. Allen Center, which opened a decade ago, is currently operating at full capacity.

The CSE department notes that the new building will double the number of computer science degrees annually from 300 to around 600, expand introductory course enrollment, and allow the school to offer upper-level CSE courses for non-majors.

“These students will then be positioned for far greater success in whatever career they may choose (because every field is becoming an information field!), and additionally will be well qualified for employment at the many hundreds of companies in the region that are challenged in competing with the Amazons, Microsofts, Facebooks, Googles, and hot startups for top computer science graduates,” the department wrote today.

We documented the exploding demand for computer science education not just at the UW, but across the nation, with this in-depth feature back in June. The chart below tells the story, as the blue line shows how interest in computer science from freshmen at the UW has skyrocketed since 2010 compared with other engineering fields.


You can read the full request for architectural services here, and read more about the nationwide computer science education demand here.

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