Computer Science Majors (Nearly) Recession Proof

As a group, college students graduation during the recession of 2008 faced employment challenges unseen for generations, often struggling to find employment at all — much less a steady job with good pay.

One group, however, had a relatively easy go of it: computer science majors.

A report released last Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education shows that computer science graudates experienced significantly lower unemployment in 2012 compared to graduates holding business degrees, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

And according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this group also made a lot more money, bringing in a median annual salary of $66,000 per year. Business majors, on the other hand, earned $50,000 in the same year.

The data also showed that holding a business degree also often meant you were more likely to work longer hours — an average of 42.8 hours per week, which was considerably higher than their computer science counterparts. 

Why? Well, Anthony Carnevale, director and research professor of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, says that for many businesses, technology skills are often much more critical than business skills — not to mention more rare. 

“At the entry level, the technology skills just buy you more because it’s so important [to companies],” Carnevale told Bloomberg Businessweek. 

In an increasingly online, globalized business climate, technical trades may provide business capabilities outside of what one business graduate can do, which creates demand. Lots and lots of demand.

“Four Years Out, the Great Recession’s College Grads Fared Well — if They Picked the Right Major,” Bloomberg Businessweek, July 10, 2014, Cory Weinberg,
“Getting a science degree doesn’t guarantee a science career,” Consumer Affairs, July 14, 2014, Mark Huffman,
“STEM graduates earn more, have best job prospects,” Central Florida Future, Caroline Glenn,

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