Enrollment for Computer Science bachelor's degree programs in the U.S. jumped by over twenty percent last year. Is the message that a CS degree leads to a rewarding career getting through?
Last month US News ranked Software Developer as the best job, followed by Computer Sytems Analyst in second place. Ranking is based on factors that include not only median salary, stress level and work-life balance but also 10-year growth prospects.
Giving Software Developer an Overall Score of 8.4 out of 10, US News states:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 22.8 percent employment growth for software developers between 2012 and 2022, much faster than average for all occupations. During that time period, an estimated 139,900 jobs will need to be filled. The profession's superb job prospects, low unemployment rate and excellent median salary helped it grab the coveted No. 1 spot in our ranking of the Best Jobs of 2014.
The skills gap, i.e. the predicted shortage of computer science graduates to fill future jobs in computing, was one of the motivating factors behind the formation of Code.org and its Hour of Code initiative last December. And perhaps the publicity given to its stark statistic that there will be a million more jobs than students to fill them by 2020 has already had an impact.
Findings from the Computing Research Association's (CRA) 2013 Taulbee Report, which will be published in May but have already had a "sneak preview" shows a sharp increase in enrollments at undergradute level (Bachelor) to study Computer Science departments.
(click table to enlarge)
The data in the table is based on the responses of 159 university departments (129 specifically CS departments and the other 30 teaching CS in a wider context) surveyed by CRA in both 2012 and 2013.
The most important finding is the percentage change in BS Enrollment - up 22% for CS departments and 21% for all departments. The proportion of students opting to do Computer Science as their major stayed dropped slightly from 29% in 2012 to 27% in 2013.
The survey also found that the number of degrees awarded (i.e. for students enrolling up to four years previously) over all department was unchanged from last year.
The picture at PhD level was the opposite way round. The table shows that 1,917 Ph.D. degrees were awarded in computer science in 2013, the highest number ever in a single year and an increase of 7.9 percent from 2012. However total doctoral enrollment is slightly down, with a 1.2 percent decrease among CS departments and a 1.4 percent decrease among all departments reporting both years. The number of new doctoral students for fall 2013 fell 8.1 percent among CS departments and 6.4 percent among all departments, when compared with the fall 2012 figures.
Turning back to the US News statistics, the uneployment rate among Software Developers is 2.8% and the median annaul salary is $90K.
This ties in with findings from salary data analyzer PayScale reported by NetworkWorld last September that Computer Engineering ranked No.6 and Computer Science No.8 among 129 college majors in terms of earning potential.
So gaining a CS degree is good for your emplyment prospects - and that's same the world over and not just in the United States.
From "Computer Science Enrollments Rocketed Last Year, Up 22%"
Network World (03/11/14) Bob Brown
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