Identifying Predictors for Success in Information Technology Education


There is currently a shortage of graduates from Computer Science and Information Technology programs to meet industry demands, yet these programs have a difficult time recruiting and retaining students. Attrition in some programs range from 50 to 85% of those students who first enter. Prior studies indicate that personality attributes, learning styles, time management skills and logical thinking abilities may all be valid predictors of those students who are likely to be successful in studying computer science. The present study used a first year computer programming class to collect data on these variables at the start of the semester and then compared them with the students’ academic result at the conclusion of the course. The study found that personality attributes, learning style, and time management skills were poor predictors of future success in computer programming. However, certain groups of logical problems, particularly those requiring cognitive modeling of the problem, disjunctive logic and deductive and rule based reasoning can serve as future predictors of success in this field. These results can be used to create an admissions test for students considering studying computer science and suggest modifications to educational curricula within the primary and secondary school systems.

Keywords: Information Technology, Computer Science, programming, software development, logic, problem solving, time management, learning styles, personality traits, education