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Analysis of Current and Future Computer Science Needs via Advertised Faculty Searches for 2020

By Craig E. Wills, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

This work uses the same methodology as previous work to study where Computer Science departments are choosing to invest faculty positions using data obtained from advertised faculty searches for the current hiring season.  While the number of and areas for faculty searches does not necessarily translate into the same for faculty hires, we believe that they provide insight into current and future needs within the discipline.

We analyzed ads from 394 institutions seeking to fill hundreds of tenure-track faculty positions in Computer Science.  This number is a slight drop from the past two years, but still a 48% increase over the past five years of our studies.  The number of tenure-track positions sought shows a decrease of 6% and 11% from the past two years, but still a 54% increase over the past five years.  The number of positions being sought decreased for all types of institutions except for those offering only a BS/BA.

We clustered the specific Computer Science topics mentioned in ads into 16 areas.  In terms of specific areas, we found that the clustered area of AI/Data Mining/Machine Learning accounts for 20% of all sought positions with Security dropping to second from last year at 16%.  The area of Data Science dropped to 11% of positions, but aggregating the Data Science, AI/DM/ML and Databases clusters again resulted in roughly one-third of all hires sought in these data-oriented areas.  The area of Theory/Algorithms had a big increase with 8% of all positions sought due to increases for the Theory and Quantum Computing topics.  We found that 22-58% of all hires are for areas that are, or may be, interdisciplinary in nature.

Differences are also seen when analyzing results based on the type of.  Positions in the clustered area of AI/Data Mining/Machine Learning have the highest percentages for PhD institutions.  Positions related to Security have the highest percentages for MS and BS/BA institutions.  These two clustered areas are the two most sought areas for all types of institutions except for top-100 PhD institutions in which Theory/Algorithms is the second-most sought area.  Over 35% of positions for PhD institutions are in data-oriented areas.

The full report, containing a description of the methodology and the complete results, is available at

Faculty Searches