The Shortage of Computer Science Majors

May 31st, 2013 | Articles, Industry News, Job Search, Workplace Resources | No Comments »

computer science majors

There is good news on the horizon for recent and prospective computer science majors. According to a 2013 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be two jobs available per every graduate with a computer science degree over the next ten years. While these statistics may be pleasing to the ears of young job seekers in the Information Technology fields, employers fear that there will be a shortage of workers with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science to fill their demand of skilled workers.

The numbers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 51,474 students per year are projected to graduate with a degree in computer science. Simultaneously, 122,300 jobs requiring a degree in computer science are expected to become available (see chart below). These trends are predicted to last at least until 2020. Unless major steps are taken to steer children towards the Information Technology fields, the growing concern of obtaining and retaining top talent will continue to be a major source of stress for businesses.

As of now, there doesn’t seem to be an ample amount of progress in the way of generating more workers with computer science degrees. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 1,650,000 bachelor’s degrees were conferred in 2010, with the largest amount comprising of majors in business (358,000), social sciences and history (173,000), health related programs (130,000), and education (101,000). Computer science majors ranked significantly lower than the top degrees earned and, sitting more towards the middle of the pack.

To further exacerbate the shortage of Information Technology workers, the number of computer science degrees fell 27% from 2005 to 2010. Employers in the field are now beginning to recruit skilled workers from abroad to fill the overabundance of positions they currently have open, a subject of controversy in its own right.

What is being done to combat this

The government, school districts, and many concerned adults have taken notice of the overall shortage of students entering the field of Information Technology. What is also a case of concern is the decreasing competitiveness of American children in science and mathematics. Compared to the rest of the developed world, American children have dropped into the high twenties and low thirties in the international ranking. These disappointing figures have schools scrambling to focus their curriculum so that more high quality STEM workers (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) can someday enter the work force.

Educate to Innovate, an initiative started by President Obama in 2009, focused on the overhaul of the education system to help equip children with the necessary skills to enter STEM fields like Information Technology. The program also granted additional funding for science based programs as well as training to more than 100,000 new math and science teachers. The goal was to place US children higher in international test rankings, all the while creating more skilled professionals, but the full effects (if there are to be any) have yet to be felt in the workforce.

The good news for potential job seekers

In the meantime recent computer science majors will have the full scope of a needy marketplace filled with employers seeking their skills, and the integration of cloud technology and mobile applications have pushed this need to new heights. Good news for anyone currently in the hunt for a job in this booming industry.

By Kevin Withers

computer science majors

View the full 2009-2010 National Center for Education Statistics Report here
Image courtesy of Nedral via Flickr