Tech students more likely to cheat in school

The good news is that enrollment in undergraduate computer science programs is at an all-time high in the U.S. But the bad news is the field has seen a disproportionate rise in its number of dishonest students.

The cheating trend has been noticed by computer science programs at several major universities, according to a recent Network World article.

For example, 23% of the academic dishonesty cases at Stanford reportedly involve computer science students — even though those students make up just 6.5% of the total student body.

At the University of Washington, around half of the honor code violations involve computer science tests and assignments. An estimated 1% or 2% of assignments in computer science classes are identified as violating the school’s policies in some way.

Why are tech students more prone to cheat? Explanations range from the unique pressures those students face, especially those from foreign countries, to the automated tools professors can use to detect plagiarized code.

The trend could spell trouble for companies looking to hire recent graduates for their IT departments. In the real world, that kind of dishonesty could end up getting the company sued for intellectual property violations.

To avoid hiring folks with potential ethics problems, experts recommend thoroughly checking references to learn about previous discipline issues and get more details about the candidate’s performance.

Also, when you dig for specifics in an interview, keep an eye out for inconsistencies that could tell you the person isn’t as knowledgeable as his or her credentials would have you believe.