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New Technologies Fuel Demand for Computer Science Degree Holders

The proliferation of technology and the need for people to operate computer systems is expected to continue to create job growth in the technology field



By Neil Johnson
Posted 2013

New Technologies Fuel Demand for Computer Science Degree Holders
New Technologies Fuel Demand for Computer Science Degree Holders

Now that we’re pretty sure this whole Internet and computer thing is going to catch on, we shouldn’t be surprised technology is cemented as a driving force in the economy and everyday lives.

Cell phones, tablets, the ubiquitous computer chip in nearly every product and the simple saturation of high tech means someone has to make that technology work.

Students wanting computer science degrees to fill that need are flooding colleges, often more than the schools can accommodate.

Computer Science Degree Program Enrollment Hits Record Numbers

Computer science programs saw enrollment go up in the 2011-12 school year by 9.6%, the fourth straight year of increases. The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in computer science during 2010-11 went up by 10.7%, according to Computing Research Association.

The association’s report said enrollment could have been higher.

“Anecdotal reports suggest that, once again, growth enrollment is being constrained at institutions not by student interest, but by enrollment caps in place in university computer science departments,” the report said.

Students are flooding the schools because computer science is where the jobs are, even in a slowly recovering economy.

Federal Projections Call For Increase in Computer-Related Jobs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects computer-related jobs will grow 22% by 2020 with demand for software developers leading the way at 28% to 32%, according to an article on computerworld.com.

Computer engineers, programmers or developers see an unemployment rate below 4%, about half the nation’s overall jobless rate, according to a U.S. News and World Report article.

“It's a really good time to be an engineer," Alice Hill, managing director of Dice, a job-search community for technology professionals, said in the article. "You really have your choice of pretty much any type of company."

And the spread of technology into lives isn’t stopping.

Consider that Apple just announced customers have downloaded 40 billion apps for its products, or nearly six for every person on the planet.

Speaking of the planet, internetworldstats.com said 2.4 billion people worldwide use the Internet, what advertising folks call a 34% market penetration.

Tech Companies Recovering from the Recession

Wireless companies have recovered and more from the recession. A trade association for the wireless industry said at 321 million there are more wireless subscriber connections in the country than there are people, for a 101% market penetration.

Those people spend 2.3 trillion minutes a year using those connections and send 184 billion text messages a month, according to CITA.org.

In 2007, near the height of the last boom, people sent 29 billion texts a month and the industry’s market penetration was 81%, the association said.

But not just high-tech companies need IT workers, according to the U.S. News article.

"Technology is the backbone of financial services," Constance Melrose, managing director of eFinancialCareers North America, an online career site for financial professionals, said in the article. "You can't deliver without it."

Medical Records Drive Growth

The required conversion of medical records to electronic versions will be another driver of tech employment, possibly spurring the need for hundreds of thousands of jobs ranging from operating the record systems to entering the mass of new code for treatments or handling millions of new insurance customers, according to a Bloomberg.com article.

And even the auto industry could drive demand for computer science workers. NBCNEWS.com reported General Motors Co. wants to hire 2,000 tech workers for the company’s expansion of IT services.

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Also, people entering college grew up with a world dominated by technology.

The entwining of social networking in modern life and prevalence of mobile applications has captured the interest of younger people who want to build something like Facebook or develop apps, Mehran Sahami, associate professor of computer science at Stanford University, said in another U.S. News and World Report article.

"Young people are actually spending more time with technology through social networks [and] apps on their phones," he said in the article. "They've definitely gotten more exposure to consumer technology, and I think that's [sparked] their interest in how they can actually be the producers of these technologies."

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