The Market For Computing Careers (2010)

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 fastest-growing STEM jobs will all be in computing; only one other area (civil engineering) is expected to generate more than 5000 new jobs per year. In particular, the US-BLS predicts there will be nearly 30,000 software engineering jobs, nearly 25,000 networking jobs, over 10,000 systems analysts jobs, and over 7,000 computing support jobs, each year.

If we aggregate the US-BLS new job numbers as percentages by STEM area, 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, technology, or engineering, or mathematics 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 the variety of careers that are available for students who study computing. As can be seen, the US-BLS is predicting that 27% of the new STEM jobs will be in software engineering alone as compared to 16% in the combined branches of traditional (non-software) engineering!

Note that basic computer literacy (i.e., knowing Microsoft Word, Excel, or Powerpoint) or CAD-design will not qualify you for one of these jobs. These jobs require advanced computing skills in modern software development 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 has been 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 the demand for computing-related professionals is exploding, but fewer students have been choosing to study what is needed to get these jobs. As a result of this supply-demand imbalance, salaries for these professionals are climbing.

If that's not enough to convince you, the following chart compares the total jobs in the various STEM categories against the number of bachelors degrees awarded in those 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 sciences, and mathematics, there are more graduates than there are jobs. This means the graduates from these programs will be competing for the available jobs, which tends to keep salaries flat.

But in computing, 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 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 God has gifted you with creative, logical, and/or quantitative abilities, He may be calling you to a career in computing. We invite you to join us -- we will do everything we can to help you explore that calling.