There is a lot of discussion on the many tech-focused message boards and forums out there, particularly the ones where aspiring technologists like to get together. Most of the commentators are eager to give their opinions on the various happenings within the computer science world.
One of the questions that comes up a lot is, “Is computer science oversaturated?” There is no simple answer to the question since the evolution of technology is happening at such a rapid pace. There are more people entering the fray than ever before, and really, computer science is still in its infancy.
More People Getting Degrees
The short answer to “Is computer science oversaturated?” is “No,” but there is a lot more fleshing out of the answer that needs to happen. For instance, it is worth noting that there are more people than ever pursuing a degree in computer science. But like the main question, the answer is a lot more complicated.
Right now, computer science is more popular at the bachelor’s level than mathematics and chemistry. The total number of computer science degrees awarded has been growing each year. As a matter of fact, there were nearly 89,000 computer and information sciences degrees that were given out in 2019 alone. Compare that to the numbers from 2001 to 2018, which saw the number of master’s degrees awarded rise from around 17,000 to over 47,000.
There is some misconception that this growth is representative of oversaturation in the field. If anything, it demonstrates that the universities have since identified that there is a need for more programs. It also does not necessarily indicate that the pool of candidates, those in mid- and senior-level positions, is larger.
It is also worth noting that those studying computer science do so in any number of fields, be it cybersecurity, computational theory, or software engineering. There are those who pursue a degree for skills that are valuable in non-technical roles. That distinction matters because there are so many different branches that are touched by computer science.
How to Get a Job in Computer Science?
If you either have an interest or a degree in computer science, you may be wondering how you can land a job. Like any job, experience is usually a prerequisite, but how can you land that first job if you have no experience?
There are a couple of ways to get started, and when you get a few years under your belt, there should be a plethora of different roles that open up.
Since there are so many companies that are looking to outsource their tech, picking up experience through freelancing can be a great way to go. It also allows you to take on more diverse opportunities, which means working outside of your physical location as well.
Having quality computer science skills can be relevant across any number of industries. Those opportunities can range from development and programming to cybersecurity, all within industries such as education, healthcare, and law.
Branch Out to Different Industries
Let’s say that you have learned coding in the effort to become a full stack developer. It is a skill that is most relevant to software engineers, user interface, UX designers, and application developers. If you want to become a cloud architect, those skills could be valuable as a cyber software engineer, IT professional, or cybersecurity analyst.
The simple fact of the matter is that there are thousands of job titles that require the base of “computer science” as a skill. Best of all, you can gain valuable experience doing just about any of them. Even if it isn’t something that you initially wanted to do, one of two things will happen.
Firstly, you will gain the necessary experience required to garner the position that you want. Or you may find out that you like a different subset of computer science that you had not previously considered, opening up even more avenues.
What Does the Long-Term Hold for Computer Science?
All of this can lead to the direct question of whether computer science will ultimately become oversaturated any time in the near future. The safe answer is that, no, it should not become oversaturated any time soon.
It is already a broad field that has so many branches and offshoots that it would be difficult to become oversaturated. All of those branches have distinct career paths, and there is still a lot of space left to be discovered within computer science.
There are more programmers than demand right now, but there will always be demand for qualified machine learning, DevOps, streaming technology, and graphic processing expertise. The further technology evolves, with new specializations emerging, the more computer science jobs that will be available.
In particular, there is higher demand than ever before for skills related to algorithm development, data science, robotics, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. Though those demands may ebb, those willing to both reskill and upskill should not want when it comes to opportunity.
Of course, some fields and roles will eventually become the victims of automation. But there are always new ones that will take their place. It is expected that there will be an increase of 13 percent from 2020 to 2030 in computer and information technology occupations. That means roughly 670,000 new jobs, some of which will be branches of computer science that really have not even been explored.
If there is any concern about an oversaturation within the computer science industry, think again. Yes, there are more people than ever not only pursuing degrees in computer science, but there are also positions requiring that level of education.
This has to do in part with the rapid growth of technology. As the technology of our society continues to develop rapidly, it requires qualified individuals to fill the roles that are needed to continue that evolution.