Analysis of Current and Future Computer Science Needs via Advertised Faculty Searches for 2016

By Craig E. Wills, Professor and Department Head, Computer Science Department,Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The wealth of faculty searches in computer science during this hiring season for positions starting in the Fall of 2016 again affords the opportunity to study areas of computer science where departments are choosing to invest in new faculty hires. While the number 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 267 institutions seeking to fill hundreds of tenure-track faculty positions in computer science. There is a 20% one-year increase in the number of institutions searching for tenure-track faculty in computer science and a 26% increase in the number of positions being searched for. In particular, the number of positions seeking to be filled by top-100 Ph.D. institutions has increased by 29% in one year and the number of positions for undergraduate-only institutions has increased by 46%.

As shown in the accompanying graph on percentage of positions in each area over last and this year, we found that the area clusters of Security (20%), Big Data (15%) and Systems/Networking (12%) continue to be the areas of greatest investment. We also found that 30-60% of all hires are for areas that are, or may be, interdisciplinary in nature.

Faculty Searches Analysis

Differences are also seen when analyzing results based on the type of institution. Positions related to Security have the highest percentages for top-100 Ph.D. and M.S. institutions. Big Data is of most interest for other Ph.D. institutions, while Systems/Networking is at the top for B.S. institutions. Finally, the abundance of potentially interdisciplinary areas is most pronounced for graduate institutions with 30-60% of all positions devoted to these areas.

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


Analysis of Current and Future Computer Science Needs via Advertised Faculty Searches for 2016