My Son Switched His Major to Computer Science. Maybe Yours Should Too

My Son Switched His Major to Computer Science. Maybe Yours Should Too

(Image: iStock/PeopleImages)

My son is a former physics major. After soldiering through for a few semesters, he switched to computer science. He’s doing well and expects to graduate next year.


The ‘T’ in STEM


According to a must-read article in The New York Times, my son may have done the right thing.

Despite the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ favorable STEM job forecasts (“Employment in occupations related to STEM … is projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022,” which is “faster than the average for all occupations.”) and the resulting championing of all things STEM, the Times states that the hoopla is misleading: Job growth isn’t necessarily in STEM; it’s in the T in STEM, specifically computing.


High-Paying and In-Demand


A computer science professor recently did an analysis of the BLS STEM employment forecasts and found that by the end of the year “2024, 73% of STEM job growth will be in computer occupations….”

Furthermore, computer science is the only technical major that doesn’t produce more degree holders than there are jobs to absorb them. That’s not the case with engineering or the life, physical, or mathematical sciences. No wonder my daughter’s friend Nick, a math major, can’t find a job in his field.

Computer science grads also earned the highest median-base salary in their first five years of employment. Referencing salary information from Glassdoor, the jobs listing website, the Times says that computer science grads earned $70,000, followed closely by electrical engineering at $68,438. But biochemistry and biotechnology grads earned relatively low pay at $46,406 and $48,442, respectively.

High-paying, in-demand skills lie in cloud computing, data mining, statistical analysis, data analytics, artificial intelligence, computer security, and writing apps for smartphones.

Don’t just be a STEM major. Know the fields of study that will position you for a high-paying, in-demand field.

Research has shown that black students tend to major in low-paying fields. Being aware of high-paying, secure skill sets puts you in a position to knowledgeably select your major.

For more in this must-read article, including how former traditional science majors can reskill to join the digital economy, go here.