Computer Science is Hot But the Tech Job Market Is Tricky

By: Keith Wagstaff · May 22, 2024 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Students Embrace Computer Science

As our economy and day-to-day lives increasingly rely on technology, and with hopes of Meta (META), Alphabet (GOOGL), and Amazon (AMZN) riches in their heads, college students have flocked to computer science programs.

In 2023, more than 600,000 students majored in computer and information science, a 60% jump from only five years ago, according to the Wall Street Journal . The number of computer science majors at Stanford University has doubled over the last 10 years, while 42% of students at MIT got a CS degree in 2023, compared to only 23% a decade ago, per The Atlantic .

So what’s the problem? The tech industry isn’t exactly the land of milk and honey anymore.

Tech Industry Troubles

Last year, tech companies laid off more than 260,000 workers, according to , with reasons ranging from cost cutting and funding issues, to appeasing investors.

Meanwhile, AI looms over the industry, and has ushered in a new tech boom in the stock market. The technology is extremely useful for software developers. Perhaps even too useful. It helps developers do their jobs more efficiently, which means companies might need fewer of them in the long run.

In fact, a Pew Research Center report found that web developers are at a high risk of being replaced by AI. That seems like bad news for computer science majors.

But companies still need tech talent. Recent grads might not score a job at Google or Tesla (TSLA) right away, but companies, such as health care firms and banks, need developers. It can’t hurt, however, to stay on the cutting-edge of AI technology.

Choosing a Major

Despite the state of the tech industry, job prospects for computer science majors are rosy compared to other subjects with fewer transferable and technical skills.

Still, choosing the right major can be hard. Start by exploring your interests and what you’re good at. Talk to students, professors, and professionals in different fields to gain insight into whether they’re right for you. Consider the money, too, including how student loans may impact your future. Weighing the pros and cons is key.

Creating a list with your strengths, weaknesses, and activities you enjoy or loathe can also help. So can taking aptitude tests. Plus, electing a minor or going for a double major could give you a wider range of skills that might give you more career options in the future.

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