New engineering subjects, such as artificial intelligence, big data technology and automation, have become popular choices for Chinese students taking their college entrance exams, reflecting changes in the country’s social and economic landscape, reported Yicai Global.
AI, software engineering, electrical engineering and automation, mechanical design, manufacturing and its automation, electronic information engineering as well as computer science and technology ranked among the top 10 in internet giant Baidu’s college entrance exam subject list.
The popularity of these subjects is driven by rapid growth in these sectors which is driving up the number of jobs and income levels. The size of China’s artificial intelligence industry, for instance, has grown to RMB400 billion ($59.2 billion), with more than 3,000 companies, Yicai Global noted.
Last year’s information security major graduates were able to command a starting monthly salary of RMB7,439 ($1,100), according to the 2022 Chinese College Graduates' Employment Report released by the MyCOS Research Institute. Software engineering graduates could get over RMB7,000($1036) a month and computer science graduates RMB6,886($1019).
Engineering subjects only started to creep into the top five college exam choices from 2015, and since 2020 they have taken up four places.
Traditional engineering majors at universities, such as electrical and mechanical engineering, automation and manufacturing are still popular as such talent is under great demand in the electricity, high-end manufacturing, communications and semiconductor sectors.
This year, 31 new majors, including carbon storage science and engineering, biological breeding science, resource and environmental big data engineering as well as wetland conservation and restoration, were added to the country’s undergraduate teaching program, according to the Ministry of Education. Since 2012, some 265 new majors have been added, Yicai said.
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