Multiple data sets say the CS/IT jobs outlook is bright

July 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm 4 comments

Joel Adams of Calvin College just did an analysis cross the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data with other data at NSF and Dept of Education.  He came up with an even rosier picture of the computing jobs outlook than we normally hear from BLS.

I think the most surprising thing was that the U.S. BLS is projecting more than four times as many new jobs in computing than in all the traditional (non-software) engineering areas combined. A second surprise was BLS’s projection of more than twice as many new computing jobs per year than there are computing graduates at present. The third surprise was that computing is the only STEM discipline where the demand for graduations outstrips the supply.

via Joel Adams Discusses the Career Outlook for CS Students | Opinion | Communications of the ACM.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michael Kölling  |  July 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    This is interesting data – and puzzling when taken together with other stats I have come across recently. There seems to be some data mismatch that I am currently trying to get my head around – and haven’t quite succeeded.

    Here in the UK you can find similar data to those you mention here: there are predictions for many unfilled CS jobs. I have cited studies with these numbers in various talks I have given — the future for CS grads is looking good. Or so I thought.

    But then, more recently, there is also this:

    This article states that one in ten graduates in the UK are currently unemployed six months after graduation, and that CS is worst with 17%. Worse than any other subject on the list.


    How does this fit together with all those unfilled jobs? When looking into it a bit further, one finds this:

    This story tells of statistics showing that males do a lot worse than females in finding employment (and speculates a bit about why this might be). So is CS statistically so bad because it is male dominated?

    (There is also a comment piece on this that paints a rather bleak picture about the male/female issue:

    Altogether, this is a little mysterious and seems contradictory. I haven’t quite worked out how to properly interpret this data. One problem is that the reliability of some of those surveys is unclear. So is the actual data grouping (e.g. what is included in the term “CS”? Is it also IT? And something else?)

    I have no answers, but the current situation is not as clear to me now than I thought it was a few months ago. I’d really like to know what is really going on here.


    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  July 4, 2010 at 4:08 pm

      Those are really amazing, Michael! Thanks for sharing them. I wonder if there are similar stats for the US. The percent unemployed six months after graduation is a particularly interesting one!


    • 3. Erik Engbrecht  |  July 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      I think some of it may be differences between UK and American markets. I know, at least in my area, that law graduates are really, really hurting. Perhaps we should ship some of them to London…

      Anyway, there’s also the matter of short term versus long term perspectives. If you asked senior management at my employer if they thought a shortage of engineering graduates is a problem, they would go on-and-on about it and how hard it is to find good engineers. Then if you asked them how many new engineering graduates they hired this summer, they would probably get all quiet, because I think the number is startlingly close to zero.

      But most years they hire a lot. This is just a particularly bad year. I think a lot of businesses experienced shortages in the past and expect to experience shortages in the future. They just aren’t experiencing them now.

  • […] the number of students pursuing CS-STEM degrees.  CS enrollment is rising again, but still with a big gap from where it was and where the Bureau of Labor Statistics says it needs to be.  However, that’s not a […]


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