Computer science skills in demand in fields beyond tech

Computer science knowledge has continued to prove necessary across industries. According to a new report from Burning Glass Technologies and Oracle Academy, 65 percent of sought-after skills in data analysis, programming and information technology, engineering and manufacturing, marketing and design are related to computer science.

Additionally, the skills are more important than education. Of jobs in the five target industries, applicants need a computer science degree for only 18 percent of positions. The study cited demand for hybrid roles that incorporate these skills but focus on other core competencies.

"Living wage jobs in the future will require some level of computer science knowledge," Alison Derbenwick Miller, Oracle Academy vice president, said in a press release. "This shows that computer science education is vital to future earnings, and an important equity issue."

This trend is apparent even among educational institutions that have begun to accommodate the demand for computer science proficiency. Boston University's The Daily Free Press noted job openings requiring such skills are available, and higher education organizations want to help fill the skills gap. Additionally, students know the value of this knowledge. For instance, one computer science course offered at BU filled within two hours of posting.

A computer screen full of codeDesign and marketing are among non-tech industries that value skills like coding.

Higher salaries available for computer science
Beyond a need for qualified individuals, earnings potential is high for those who bring computer science competency to a job. The Burning Glass and Oracle Academy data determined that 62 percent of skills that produce the highest pay fall under this umbrella.

With the availability of jobs, job seekers even have a few options to search for more competitive pay. For the 2015-16 school year, 107,000 individuals graduated with bachelor's, master's and Ph.D degrees for computer science, and 108,000 job openings were available to them, according to a New York Times analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Center Education Statistics data. Of course, those with different degrees add to the competition, but the favorable ratio of related graduates to available positions can bode well for all applicants.

Acquiring one of these positions is worthwhile, with Burning Glass and Oracle finding those in career track jobs that require coding skills can earn an additional $20,000 compared to jobs that don't need this knowledge. Ran Canetti, a computer science professor at BU, said students are aware of the earnings potential, which is one aspect driving them to his classes.

The trend is expected to continue
BU faculty and staff have already forecast a need for more faculty to teach computer science, and other institutions are likely gearing up in the same manner. As the need for such skills in indirectly related jobs becomes more apparent, the courses will need to accommodate more students taking the classes as electives to expand their skills.

Miller said students in any major can benefit from gaining computer science knowledge. Luckily, they can invest their time and money to this education with good odds of finding a job in the hundreds of thousands available.

Computer science skills can present new job opportunities and higher salaries.