The Market For Computing Careers

There are lots of myths about computing careers. One of the most ridiculous is the myth that all the computing jobs are going overseas. By contrast, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (US-BLS) predicts that computing will be one of the fastest-growing U.S. job markets in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for the foreseeable future, as indicated on the following chart:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that Software Engineering, Network Specialist, and Systems Analyst will be the top 3 sources of new STEM jobs between now and 2018

(Click on the chart for a larger image.)

As you can see, the US government is predicting that the vast majority of the new STEM jobs will be in computing; only one other area (civil engineering) is expected to generate more than 5000 new jobs per year. By contrast, the US-BLS predicts there will be over 25,000 software engineering jobs each year, over 20,000 network specialist jobs each year, and over 10,000 systems analysts jobs each year.
If we aggregate the US-BLS numbers by STEM area and compute them as percentages, we get the following chart:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor predicts that between now and 2018, 71% of the new jobs in science and engineering will be computing jobs

(Click on the chart for a larger image.)

For the foreseeable future, nearly 3 out of 4 new science or engineering jobs in the U.S. are going to be in computing! By contrast, just 16% will be traditional engineering jobs, and even fewer will be in the sciences or mathematics.
What kind of “computing” jobs are these? The pie-chart on the right breaks the “computing” jobs down in the different career categories, and shows that the US-BLS is predicting:
  • 27% (295,200 jobs) of the new STEM jobs will be in software engineering alone as compared to 16% (178,400 jobs) in the rest of engineering combined!
  • There will be far more new jobs in network analysis and administration (235,700) than in traditional engineering.
Note that basic computer literacy (i.e., knowing Microsoft Word, Excel, or Powerpoint) or CAD-design will notqualify you for one of these jobs. These jobs require skills that you will only gain by studying computer science, information systems, and/or software engineering.
With all of these jobs out there, you’d expect students to be flocking to computing. Unfortunately, the opposite is true, as the following chart shows:
Nationwide, computer science enrollments declined roughly 50% between 2002 and 2007

(Click on the chart for a larger image.)

So demand for software engineers, network administrators, systems analysts, and other computing-related professionals is exploding, but fewer and fewer students are choosing to study what is needed to get these jobs. As a result, salaries for these professionals are climbing. To see current ranges, check out these salaries reported by U.S. News & World Report for software engineersnetwork administrators, andsystems analysts.
If you’re not convinced, this final chart compares the number of graduates vs. new jobs in broad science and engineering (S&E) categories:
Nationwide, there is an oversupply of graduates in every field except computer science

(Click on the chart for a larger image.)

The yellow bars indicate the total number of job openings in each area per year, and the orange bars indicate the number of graduates in those areas. In engineering, the physical sciences, and the life sciences, there are more graduates than there are jobs. This means the graduates from these programs will be competing for the available jobs, when tends to keep salaries flat.
But in computer science, there is a huge undersupply of graduates. As in any situation where demand exceeds supply, companies are competing for the (relatively few) available graduates that have advanced computing skills, driving salaries up. This is creating a “perfect storm” for people with suitable gifts in STEMand degrees in computing-related fields, as they have a wealth of career options from which to choose.
The Calvin College Department of Computer Science offers:
If you think God might be calling you to a career in computing, we invite you to join us. We will do everything we can to help you realize that calling.
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