Computers: The Recession-Proof Job

By Andrea Yust
Copyright 2010 Homeschool Programming, Inc.

From Homeschool Programming, Inc.'s August, 2010 Newsletter

The Myth of Outsourcing

“Is there any future in computer programming? Aren’t all those jobs overseas now?” I smiled as an earnest young mother asked me this question at a recent convention. I’ve heard this question a million times over the last few years and my answer is always a resounding “No!” Despite what most people believe, outsourcing is rarely successful in the computing industry. Oh sure, the big companies use overseas help on their tech support phone banks, but by-and-large computer programming jobs are still “Made in the USA”. It’s simply too difficult for most companies to manage the complex process of software creation over long distances.

If you don’t believe me, just check the statistics: In 2008, ZDNet reported that “computer job off-shoring is exaggerated and the computer labor shortage is real.” Their research found that only about 5% of the computer jobs available are outsourced to companies overseas and that there is a very real shortage of trained people to fill the computing needs of American companies today.

The Recession-Proof Job

In this age of recession and a downturned economy, one of the job sectors that is booming is the computer industry! Where other companies are laying off, downsizing and shrinking salaries, computer jobs have seen steady growth and salary increases. Is this trend expected to continue? You bet! Just take a look at some of the statistics:

  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that one of the fastest growing occupations between 2008 and 2018 is projected to be Computer Science jobs. They are predicting up to 53% growth in this industry in the next 10 years!
  • The US Dept of Commerce projects that nearly 3 out of 4 new science and engineering jobs in the US will be in computing.
  • Laurence Shatkin, a career consultant, reported in his 2008 book “150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs” that computer jobs currently occupy the top 3 slots when looking for a job that beats the recession blues.
  • Network World reports that “Amid the worst job market in 25 years, computer jobs are holding steady.”
  • Information Week claims that in 2008 US computer jobs were up 12% from 2007. They also noted that unemployment rates among computer professionals tops out at about 2.5% - a far cry from the 10% unemployment rates for the general public!

I should note here that simple computer literacy in word-processing and spreadsheet programs or even CAD-design will not qualify you for one of these computer jobs! These jobs require knowledge about computer science, information systems, and/or software programming.

Salaries are Higher in Information Technology (IT)

Not only are there jobs to be had in the computer industry, but the salaries for these jobs are beating the current averages by a wide margin. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted a salary survey in early 2010. The results were stunning! The average salary offer to a 2010 bachelor’s degree graduate was around $47,000, which was about $1000 less than the offer for a 2009 graduate. In contrast, the average offer for a Computer Science graduate in 2010 was around $60,000, which was up about 5% from 2009.

The US Dept of Labor also conducted a study on various job salaries and found that Computer Science graduates, on average, make about 13% more than the average college graduate.

Network World Magazine, picking up on these statistics, had these words for high-school and incoming college students: “If you want to have a high-paying job on graduation day, study Computer Science!”

Student Enrollment is Down

Now that you’ve read the statistics on the profitability of jobs in the computer industry, you’re probably thinking that high-schools and colleges are flooded with students in computer classes. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, a survey conducted by the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) in 2009 showed just the opposite: the availability and enrollment in computer classes was down significantly in high-schools across the country. The survey found the following:
  • In 2005, around 78% of surveyed high-schools offered introductory or pre-AP computer classes. This number dropped to 73% in 2007 and went all the way down to 65% by 2009!
  • In 2005, around 40% of surveyed schools offered AP computer science classes. This number dropped to 32% in 2007 and went down to 27% in 2009.
  • In 2009, an estimated 70% of qualified and interested students were unable to enroll in an appropriate computer science class.
The reasons the schools noted for the decline were: the fast-pace of computer technology, a lack of staff and a lack of relevant curriculum resources.

At the same time, enrollment in college Computer Science programs is also showing a marked decline. A recent poll conducted by the Computing Research Association notes that enrollment in BSCS degree programs dropped 20% in 2007 and another 10% in 2009.

This all leads the computer industry into an amazing shortage. As demand for computer programmers and other computing professionals is increasing, fewer and fewer students are choosing to study the field of Computer Science.

Homeschool Programming Can Help

We at Homeschool Programming, Inc. are dedicated to providing interested 4th-12th grade students with the curriculum they need to begin in an educational career in computer programming. Our courses teach cutting-edge, industry-standard programming languages and concepts wrapped in fun Windows and Game programming topics.

Do you have a teenager interested in programming as a career? Our TeenCoder Series contains college-prep curriculum designed to introduce your student to the concepts found in college-level Computer Science courses. In these courses, your student will learn the C# language – one of the most popular programming languages available today!

Or do you have a younger student who has shown some interest in computers? Foster their interest with our fun and simple KidCoder Series. The courses in this series use the Visual Basic programming language. Visual Basic is lighter and easier to use, yet still widely used in businesses nationwide.

Find out more about computer science for kids and teens at our website!