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The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

Oversaturation in Computer Science Degrees Effecting Job Opportunities


The computer science job market has been a topic of much discussion in recent years, with concerns about oversaturation and the potential influence of artificial intelligence on the field. As more students pursue a career in Computer Science, questions arise about the job opportunities available for such a large number of graduates. Further, layoffs by tech giants and companies such as Amazon, Google, Meta, and Netflix continue to exacerbate unemployment. So, is the field of computer science doomed due to its oversaturation? Is it still worth pursuing a degree in Computer Science?

There are many reasons why the tech industry has been facing some problems within the past few years.

On March 10, 2023, the Silicon Valley Bank collapsed. Home to the funds of numerous startups, this was the single largest banking collapse since the 2008 recession. It had a devastating impact as employees of several start-ups such as Rippling and Flow Health did not receive their paychecks that day.

Secondly, the increasing popularity of computer science degrees is evident in the high percentage of students graduating with this degree. In the past year, 42% of MIT undergraduates graduated with a Computer Science degree. This figure has doubled over the past decade and shares a common trend among many other U.S. universities as well. This surge in high demand can be attributed to the high demand for tech professionals, lucrative salaries, and the growing integration of technology in businesses. Despite this, the unemployment rate for graduates with a Computer Science degree is at 7.8%, significantly higher than the national rate of 3.9%.

Is the Field of Computer Science Doomed Due to Oversaturation?

While the concerns relating to oversaturation in the tech industry are prevalent and understandable, it is important to recognize the current job market conditions. Presently, there is still a high demand for experienced and skilled computer science professionals with massive benefits and salaries. However, the conditions that followed the COVID-19 pandemic made it harder for individuals to secure a high-paying job. During the pandemic, there was a dire need for online services that would replace physical interactions and meet customers’ needs and satisfaction. Thus, companies such as Amazon and Google began a hiring spree, giving out jobs to whoever they saw as a potential benefit to their respective companies. Soon after pandemic restrictions were lifted, companies realized that productivity and revenue began to diminish as they quickly began cutting their costs—beginning with the employees that were mass-hired during the pandemic.

Despite these roadblocks, current technologies are proving to create new job opportunities, and the intersection of computer science in other fields such as biomedical engineering and the environmental space are reinforcing this notion as well. Moreover, with the rise of AI and machine learning, new sectors within the tech industry are emerging, offering more specialized roles. This diversification can absorb some of the oversaturation, providing opportunities for those with advanced skills or specialization in these growing areas.

When people think about Artificial Intelligence, the first thought that comes to mind is automation. We have seen this with robots replacing workers in car factories, but mechanical robots present in car factories do not represent the intellectual and machine-learning capabilities that artificial intelligence models are able to perform. We are still in the infant stages of Artificial Intelligence development, yet advances are quickly being made within just a few years. ChatGPT became the first industry model for natural language processing and generative AI that gained rapid attention in 2022. Fast forward to today, it was recently announced Cognition Labs had previewed an AI software engineer, called Devin, capable of performing the same tasks and protocols that regular human software engineers would perform. From debugging code to fetching data from an API and integrating it into its own editor, Devin became the industry’s and every layman’s worst nightmare in the tech industry: replacing jobs for software developers.

Although scary to think about, your job isn’t in danger—yet. Devin can only solve a mere 13.86% of all unresolved issues given a random 25% subset of issues found on Github, a platform where programmers share, resolve, and discuss coding projects and issues, while ChatGPT-4 and ChatGPT-3.5 can solve 1.74% and 0.52% of a similar subset of issues on Github respectively.

Interestingly, the incorporation of AI in the development process could also create new job opportunities within the field. As AI becomes more prevalent, there will be a growing need for professionals who can develop, maintain, and optimize these AI systems. This could lead to the emergence of new roles and specializations within the computer science field.

Is it still worth pursuing a degree in Computer Science?

Despite the concerns about oversaturation in the industry, pursuing a degree in computer science remains a worthwhile investment. The tech sector is projected to experience significant growth in the coming years, with analysts at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 13% increase through 2026. However, students and professionals need to recognize the importance of continuous learning and skill development to stay competitive in the job market.

What should I do to remain competitive in today’s market?

If a recruiter is hypothetically presented with two potential candidates who graduated from the same university, say MIT, who would you, the recruiter, choose to hire?

Student A’s portfolio contains a 4.0 GPA, a year-long internship worth of experience, and advanced projects that were assigned in class.

On the other hand, Student B has a 2.9 GPA (not the best) with 3 years of internship experience in various industries from the healthcare sector to the general tech sector, and leads a team in developing a SaaS (Software as a Service) product that encompasses all stages of the software development process.

Although a 4.0 GPA may seem impressive from an academic standpoint, it doesn’t provide any significant or potential value to a company if they do not have the experience to reinforce their amazing grades. Despite not having the best grades, Student B’s portfolio is rich with experience and demonstrates that they can be a valuable asset to a company.

Bottom line, maximize your experience not only with internships but also with SaaS projects that companies might be looking to integrate into their services and products. (But don’t forget about your grades as well, they’re important in the case that Student C, with the same experience, had a 4.0 compared to Student B).

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