Computer science is where the future jobs are

TECHNOLOGY workforce issues are much in the news these days, stimulated by proposed changes to the nation’s H-1B guest-worker visa policy. A recent report from the Economic Policy Institute on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics STEM workforce supply and demand was covered last week by The Seattle Times, The Washington Post and others. The report argued that there is no shortage of graduates in STEM fields overall, and that this applies to all of the various subfields of STEM, including computer science.Allow me to inject a few facts into the conversation. As politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”It’s indeed the case, both nationwide and in our state, that there is no overall shortage of STEM graduates. But this is not news — it has been the case for many years. This does not mean you should not major in a STEM field if that is your passion, any more than grim job prospects mean you should not major in journalism.However, nationwide there is a well-documented shortage of graduates in computer science. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 70 percent of all new jobs across all STEM fields during this decade, across engineering, the physical sciences, the life sciences, and the social sciences, will be in computer science. More than three-quarters of a million new jobs. The field is booming.In Washington state there is a well-documented shortage in the health professions, engineering and in computer science. A 2011 study by the Higher Education Coordinating Board carefully examined the gap between supply and demand for all fields, identifying the fields with significant gaps at the two-year, four-year and graduate education levels. Read more here

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