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Computer science students.

Computer science will make up an increasing proportion of all science and engineering jobs within the current decade, according to a University of Washington researcher.

Credit: UMass Amherst

In an interview, University of Washington professor Ed Lazowska cites U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections that 66 percent of all available jobs in all fields of science and engineering during the current decade will be in computer science. Lazowska says that, although the field will always be subject to up and down cycles, "the role of computer science is ever-expanding."

He estimates that computer science is producing 50 percent more Ph.D.s than 10 years ago, but he anticipates a decline in graduate enrollment, given the enormous employment opportunities available. "Ph.D. production in computer science is far lower than in fields with far fewer employment opportunities," Lazowska observes. "And Ph.D.s in computer science have a broad range of employment opportunities that take full advantage of their training."

A core trend Lazowska sees is the penetration of all other fields, such as medicine, law, business, and biotech, by computer scientists. He also notes a looming demand for data scientists, who he expects to be trained in computer science departments in scalable machine learning, data visualization, and related areas.

Lazowska says cybersecurity is another huge opportunity for computer scientists. He calls hardening the U.S.'s critical infrastructure "the full-employment act for well-educated cybersecurity professionals."

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