Computing Research Policy Blog

The Computing Research Association (or CRA) has been involved in shaping public policy of relevance to computing research for more than two decades. More recently the CRA Government Affairs program has enhanced its efforts to help the members of the computing research community contribute to the public debate knowledgeably and effectively.

Computer and Mathematical Science Occupations Expected to Grow Quickest Over the Next Decade

The new Bureau of Labor Statistics labor projections are out for the 2006-2016 period, and once again, despite concerns over the impact of globalization, computing-related occupations are still projected to grow the quickest among all “professional and related occupations.” According to BLS projections, computer and mathematical science occupations are expected to grow by about 24 percent over the next decade, a rate that would add 822,000 new jobs to the field. Those 822,000 new jobs are third only to “Health care practitioners and technical occupations” (1,423,000 new jobs, a 19.8 percent growth rate) and “Education, training and library” occupations (1,265,000 new jobs, a 14 percent growth rate).
The Labor Department projections found that even though the growth rate for computer and mathematical science occupations has slowed compared to the previous decade — as the industry matures and “routine work is outsourced overseas” — strong growth in other aspects of computing will continue to create increasing opportunities in the field.

Computer and mathematical science occupations are projected to add 822,000 jobs—at 24.8 percent, the fastest growth among the eight professional subgroups. The demand for computer-related occupations will increase in almost all industries as organizations continue to adopt and integrate increasingly sophisticated and complex technologies. Growth will not be as rapid as during the previous decade, however, as the software industry begins to mature and as routine work is outsourced overseas. About 291,000—or 35 percent—of all new computer and mathematical science jobs are anticipated to be in the computer systems design and related services industry. The management, scientific, and technical consulting services industry is projected to add another 86,000 computer and mathematical science jobs. This expected 93-percent increase is due to the growing need for consultants to handle issues such as computer network security. Self-employment among computer and mathematical workers is anticipated to increase 19 percent, with most growth appearing among network systems and data communications analysts.

The report projects that, of the six occupations that will be among the fastest growing and register the largest numerical growth, three will be computing related occupations:

  • Computer software engineers, application;
  • Computer systems analysts;
  • and Network systems and data communication analysts.

(The other three are “Home health aides,” “Medical assistants,” and “Personal and home care aides.”)
You can view most of the detail, including information about the methodology used, in the article titled, “Occupational employment projections to 2016” (pdf). The Monthly Labor Review Online has additional articles covering all aspects of the BLS’ employment outlook.
Projections are notoriously difficult to get right, obviously, but it’s encouraging to see that the opportunity that we in the community see in the field (that often runs counter to the *perceptions* of the field) appears to be echoed in these projections.
We’ll have much more detail as we dig into the articles and data a bit more, so stay tuned….
Update: (12/7/2007) — Here’s one interesting cut of the data showing how the computer science job projections compare to the other science and engineering disciplines. (This is also a good excuse for me to try out Google’s new Charts API.)

Computer and Mathematical Science Occupations Expected to Grow Quickest Over the Next Decade