Google Analytics

Thursday, April 07, 2016

It's All About the Jobs

In the April CACM Moshe Vardi asks Are We Headed toward Another Global Tech Bust? I agree with some of Vardi’s points, mostly that VC money chasing after unicorns (potential billion-dollar start-ups) will not continue at its heavy pace and we’re already seeing a slow down. But I disagree with Vardi’s assessment that “we should brace ourselves for another global tech and enrollment bust” in computer science. I suspect we’ll see more of a reality check, but that reality looks extremely strong.

Vardi claims that “It is the dream of joining a unicorn that probably attracts many students to study computing”. It’s not just the unicorns bringing students to computer science, but essentially a 100% employment rate for CS graduates looking for a job in the field, many receiving six-figure starting salaries. Few, if any, other disciplines can claim full employment after the bachelor’s degree. Industry is desperate to hire computing professionals in machine learning, cloud computing, cybersecurity, mobile computing, automation, robotics and data science, among others. Not just the computing companies but every industry that deals with data, which is pretty much every industry. Unicorns may become rarer but we won’t see a decline in demand for computer science students until we automate ourselves out of a job.

Take a look at this chart from Ed Lazowska's Where The Jobs Are – 2016 Edition. Those CS jobs won't fill themselves.



11 comments:

  1. Great response! Totally agree with you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. But the same BLS perspective was valid a decade ago! The jobs were there, yet the dot.com bust scared students away.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I"m surprised enginnering has more people getting degrees
    then there are jobs.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The bubble alert has been around for at least 5 years (http://www.economist.com/node/18681576) and nothing happened. There is certainly a risk but this time around there are a lot more fundamentals in place and lessons learned from the previous bubbles. IMHO, as CS is finally establishing itself as a key player in almost every other field there are a lot of reasons to be bullish than before.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I thought that Moshe predicted that computers were soon taking all jobs... wouldn't that include computer-science jobs as well?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Computer science jobs will be among the last to go :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. "until we automate ourselves out of a job"

    http://www.automaticstatistician.com/index/

    "Computer science jobs will be among the last to go"

    Many computer science jobs are routine and costly. There is a lot of incentive to automate them. Same thing is happening in other fields like law where people do not need paralegals to search for relevant legal documents anymore. The less exception handling and ingenuity a job has easier it is to automate. We will see machine learning advisers in finance and law pretty soon, much sooner than machine learning taking over the job of truck drivers.

    ReplyDelete
  8. +1 to Moshe here. High-skill programming jobs seem to be way too hard to automate. Since the very early days of computing the inherent difficulties in software engineering have been pointed out on many occasions. One of my personal favorite classics here is Fred Brooks:
    https://umich.instructure.com/files/884126/download?download_frd=1
    http://worrydream.com/refs/Brooks-NoSilverBullet.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  9. The hope (for employment) is not that core CS will grow, but that more and more other areas will need nontrivial computer expertise.

    ReplyDelete
  10. If Donald Trump comes, no job will be spared. May be that is the global tech bust Moshe is referring to.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "It's all about the jobs" - it's all about the absence of jobs.

    ReplyDelete