This article is published in the January 2024 issue.

Analysis of Current and Future Computer Science Needs via Advertised Faculty Searches for 2024

By Craig E. Wills, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Where are computer science departments choosing to invest in faculty positions for 2024?

Our new report, Analysis of Current and Future Computer Science Needs via Advertised Faculty Searches for 2024, uses the same methodology applied over 10 years to discern trends using data obtained from advertised tenure-track 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 423 institutions seeking to fill 865 tenure-track faculty positions in computer science. The number of institutions is a drop from last year’s record number year at this time (mid-November), but is still the second-highest number of institutions searching in the 10 years of this study. In contrast, the number of tenure-track positions being sought are at intermediate levels for the 10-year time period. The relative drop in positions being sought compared to last year’s record high in positions is primarily due to a 16 percent reduction in the average number of positions being sought per each U.S. PhD-granting institution. 

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 artificial intelligence/data mining/machine learning accounts for 21 percent of all positions being sought, which is up from 18 percent last year and is the highest in the 10 years of our study. This increase reflects, and is a leading indicator of, the growing impact of AI on society. The clustered area of security accounts for 18 percent of all sought positions. The area of HCI/interactive media shows a significant gain over last year. Both the systems/networking and software engineering clusters dropped to a five-year low in percentage of positions being sought. Aggregating the data science, AI/DM/ML and databases clusters results in 34 percent of all hires sought in these data-oriented areas, which is a 10-year high.

Differences are also seen when analyzing results based on the type of institution. As was the case last year, positions in the clustered area of AI/DM/ML have the highest percentages for (particularly private) PhD institutions. Again positions related to security have the highest percentages for MS and BS/BA institutions. Security is the second-most sought area for public PhD institutions while HCI/IntMedia is the second-most sought area for private PhD institutions. AI/DM/ML is the second-most sought area for MS for BS/BA institutions.

For more, access the full report