The significant gap between the number of computer programmer and software developer job openings in Washington state and the number of baccalaureate qualified individuals to fill those jobs represents a great opportunity for students contemplating bachelor-level training in IT.
According to a recent report from the Regional Economic Strategy for Central Puget Sound (as well as numerous articles by tech executives), “finding a sufficient supply of qualified employees in the region is the IT sector’s primary challenge.”
Washington state is producing fewer rather than more higher education graduates in science and engineering – even as the demand has increased. The state ranked 31st out of the 50 states in bachelor degree production in science and engineering in 1998, and 32nd in 2009.*
Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) reports the following about computer programming and software development positions:
• In 2012, there were 2,443 openings in the target occupations in King County.
• Between 2013 and 2022 there will be 1,861 annual job openings in the target occupations, paying a median wage of $47.50/hr. Overall, there will be a 22 percent increase in total employment in the period in the target occupations.
• Regional annual completions in 2011 are 93 in the target occupations, almost all of which were at the sub-baccalaureate level. Broadening it to include all related jobs that might possibly support the target occupation yields as many as 762 completions, 212 at the sub-baccalaureate level.
*Cheryl Vedoe, CEO of Apex Learning, delivering statistics on higher education degree production in her talk, “Benchmarking Washington’s Competitiveness,” Technology Alliance Annual Luncheon, May 29, 2013.