Computer Science

Employment, Salaries, Enrollment, Rankings, Trends and Chicago

As a backdrop, take a look at the "Did You Know 3.0 / Shift Happens 2008" and "Did You Know 4.0: Convergence 2009" videos from the ShiftHappens wiki.


See this graphic on best jobs, summarizing data from CNN/Money, US Bureau of Labor Statistics and

Best Jobs in America

A report on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce forecasts 51 percent of STEM occupations will be computer occupations by 2018. (See also the root page of this report.)

STEM careers by 2018

Within the state of Illinois the importance of Computer Occupations is even more pronounced, with 57% of all STEM jobs by 2018 being Computer Occupations, according to the Georgetown University Center on education and the Workforce breakdown by state for Illinois. (Alternatively see local cached copy)

CS jobs within STEM in IL

In a ComputerWorld article Obama states that "we don't have enough engineers" as he calls for 10,000 more engineers per year.

Fortune at indicates that Network Systems / Data Analysts and Software Engineers are the 2nd and 3rd fastest growing jobs in America (with #1 being Biomedical Engineering).

The US Department of Commerce has a forecast of the 30 fastest-growing professional occupations between 2008 and 20018 at The second-fastest growing jobs are Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts, projected to grow 53.4%. Also included in the top 25 fastest-growing jobs are Computer Software Engineers for Applications (#15 with 34% growth) and Systems Software (#24 with 30.4% growth).

Fastest Growing Jobs
[Table above taken from]

Within Computer Science, this can be further broken down as follows (from
Fastest Growing Jobs Titles
Computer Jobs Broken Down

The above Bureau of Labor Statistics 2008-2018 Employment Projections for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) have been made into a nice graphic by Calvin College:
2008-2018 STEM Jobs

The Calvin site goes on to state that:

For the foreseeable future, nearly 3 out of 4 new science or engineering 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 that the US-BLS is predicting:

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 skills that you will only gain by studying computer science, information systems, and/or software engineering.

In the spirit of full disclosure, also see the New York Times article on 9/6/2010 describing how in this period of 9.6% unemployment, even Computer Science has had 6% unemployment.

The Computer Research Association (CRA) reported on 3/16/09 that "according to the United States Department of Labor, computer science graduates on average earn 13 percent more than the average college graduate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, future job prospects for computer science graduates are higher than for any other science or engineering field." It also states that CS enrollment is up for the first time in 6 years.

Hybrid Careers:
The New York Times (12/21, B1, Lohr) reports on the front page of its Business Day section that "hybrid careers" combining "computing with other fields will increasingly be the new American jobs of the future, labor experts say." At the same time, however, fewer students are becoming involved in the field of computing. (, 12/21/2009)

Fewer Students Taking High School Computer Science Classes:
The Washington Post (12/21, Chandler) reports on the decline in "the portion of schools that offer an introductory computer science course," a figure that "has dropped from 78 percent in 2005 to 65 percent this year, and the corresponding decline in AP courses went from 40 to 27 percent," survey results show. The College Board even "canceled its AP computer science AB class" because of "declining enrollment." Some see the decline in computer science as "surprising," particularly given the political initiatives centered around "fueling innovation by sharpening the math, science and technology skills of the future workforce." Chris Stephenson, executive director of the Computer Science Teachers Association, "said computer science classes might be an unintentional casualty in the push to increase academic standards," as it "is not considered a core subject by the No Child Left Behind law." (, 12/21/2009)

Network World (3/30/09) reports that "Amid the worst job market in 25 years, IT is holding steady. Most CIOs are maintaining their current staffing levels; while a few are hiring specialists who have in-demand IT skills."

Top 10 jobs in America today (2010), according to

  1. Actuary
  2. Software Engineer (up from #4 in 2009)
  3. Computer Systems Analyst (up from #5 in 2009)
  4. Biologist
  5. Historian
  6. Mathematician
  7. Paralegal Assistant
  8. Statistician
  9. Accountant
  10. Dental Hygienist

You may also be interested in seeing the 2010 10 worst jobs.

Top 10 Recession-proof Jobs: The Chicago Sun Times reported 11/4/08 on the top 10 recession-proof jobs, taken from "150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs," a book by Laurence Shatkin, a career information consultant who crunched government data to come up with the list.

1. Computer systems analyst.
2. Network systems and data communications analyst.
3. Network and computer systems administrator.

4. Registered nurse.
5. Teacher, postsecondary.
6. Physical therapist.
7. Physician and surgeon.
8. Dental hygienist.
9. Pharmacist.
10. Medical and health services manager.

ZDNet (Nov 17, 2008) reports that "IT offshoring is exaggerated and the IT labor shortage is real." Only about 5% of IT jobs are outsourced, and that there is a shortage of trained people to fill the needs in IT.

Information Week (April 8, 2008) reports that US IT jobs are up 12% from a year ago. IT unemployment is up slightly, hitting 2.6%, up from 2.1% a year ago. The article describes where US IT job growth is coming from:
"By far the largest growth category has been computer support specialists, which leaped 41% the past year, adding 127,000 jobs. Next is network and data communication analysts (68,000 new jobs, 19% growth), computer scientists and system analysts (65,000 new jobs, 8% growth), and network/system administrators (51,000 new jobs, 31% growth). The economy also added 51,000 IT management jobs, growing 11%"

See ACM's Career News for recent articles describing employment opportunities and trends.

See a study (March 2008) that finds H-1B visas do not inhibit domestic hiring.



The spring 2010 issue of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Salary Survey shows that the average salary offer to a 2010 bachelor's degree candidate is $47,673, which is 1.7 percent lower than the average offer of $48,515 made to 2009 bachelor's degree candidates.
      ...As a group, graduates earning computer-related degrees saw their average salary offers soar in comparison with the other disciplines: Their average offer rose 5.8 percent, to $58,746. And the average offer to computer-science majors increased by 4.7 percent, to $60,426.
     ...Graduates earning degrees in liberal arts may be the hardest hit by the effects of the recession: Currently, their average salary offers remain well below last year's levels: 8.9 percent lower, at $33,540
April, 2010:

"Here's a tip for incoming and current college students: If you want to have a high-paying job on graduation day, study computer science." The article goes on to describe enrollments are rising with the job market fueling the growth.
4/28/2010 Network World


November 2011
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education can be difficult and is not always taught in a compelling manner, resulting in many interested students dropping out in spite of high demand in those fields, according to a New York Times article.

June 2011
After a decade of decline, the number of students pursuing the degree increased by 50% last year, according to a New York Times article.

March 2009
The drop in CS enrollment seems to be turning around. According to Network World, "computer science majors rose 8.1% in 2008."
For more details on the Taulbee Study, see

See the 3/12/2008 NPR article
All Things Considered, March 12, 2008 · The number of students enrolled in computer science programs is at its lowest in at least a decade.
"Comp Sci" was one of the hottest majors during the dot-com boom of the late '90s, but the numbers dropped after the bust of 2001. Now, despite a strong market for IT professionals and a resurgence in Web millionaires, college students just aren't interested in studying computing. Larry Abramson talks to some students and professors to find out why.

Compared to other disciplines in the sciences, CS has many more job openings.

Degrees vs Jobs

The Computing Research Association (CRA) site has many articles on this topic. In particular see the Taulbee Report, which gives the most recent enrollment statistics for CS/CE majors.
The CRA site shows a graph (see below) of peak CS enrollments in 1986 and 2003, with a downward forecast. (Note that this spells opportunity when combined with the job growth forecasts for CS and IT, as described above).
Bachelors Degrees Granted

CS undegrraduate enrollments may be poised to turn the corner, as shown at
While the yellow line in the graph above is a forecast of CS graduates, the graph below shows number of actual majors as freshman rising in 2006. If this continues this would lead to a rise in the number of CS graduates starting around 2010.
CS Undergraduate Numbers Poised to Turn the Corner

At we can see the distribution for CS Bachelor's Degree recipients by gender and ethnicity:

Gender in CS
Male Female
85.8% 14.2%

Ethnicity in CS
Native American

See the November 16, 2008 NY Times article about fewer women entering CS.


Rank School
5 Univ. Illinois Urbana-Champaign
34 Univ. of Chicago
40 Northwestern
58 UIC

Not in top 71: IIT, DePaul, Loyola


New York Times described the Future of Computing, December 6, 2011, including articles on demographic shifts and changes in education.


Chicago, voted best city in the world in which to live by



Dilbert (courtesy of YouTube): The Engineer, The Knack

Last Update: February 17, 2012 . See also historical CS Statistics from previous years.