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ACM Report Confirms Growth in Graduates with Computing Skills to Meet Rising Workforce Demands

New Study Captures Programs that Generate Majority of Graduates with Computing/IT Skills

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

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NEW YORK, NY— September 24, 2013 – A new report from ACM confirms positive trends in enrollment and degree production at participating not-for-profit US academic institutions that grant bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees in the major computing disciplines.  The report, based on a survey of non-doctoral-granting academic departments in computing (NDC), is known as the ACM NDC Study.  It is aimed at filling the gap in data on computing programs not covered by the Taulbee Survey, published by the Computing Research Association (CRA), which reflects trends in institutions that grant Ph.D. degrees in computer science and computer engineering.  The report, published in the September issue of ACM Inroads, also tracks ethnicity and gender data in these computing programs, and shows that increases in bachelor’s degrees are more pronounced at public institutions.

“The results of the ACM NDC study give the computing education community a previously unavailable snapshot of the students and faculty at institutions that produce the majority of graduates with an educational foundation in computing skills,” said Stuart Zweben, an author of the report.  “The study also offers valuable pipeline data to businesses and industries that are competing in the job market for workers with skills in these areas.”  Zweben, a professor emeritus at Ohio State University, conducts the annual Taulbee Survey for CRA.

The NDC report, conducted with support from ACM, Google, and CRA, presents a baseline measurement for bachelor’s and master’s degree enrollment and degree production rates in 2011-2012, and includes ethnic and gender-related data for these categories.  It also tracks trends in faculty demographics and salaries for participating computing programs. 

Jodi L. Tims of Baldwin Wallace University, a report co-author, hailed the report as a unique indicator of the health of computing education programs throughout the country.  “The results are an encouraging sign of the growing interest in pursuing computing disciplines that are increasingly in demand in our digital world.  Today’s students are seeing the value of the problem-solving skills that comprise these computing programs, and their applicability to careers that cross many segments of the job market.”  Tims is a professor and chair of the department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Baldwin Wallace University, and co-author of an earlier pilot survey of non-doctoral granting departments. Tims also serves on the Executive Committee of ACM-W, ACM’s Council on Women in Computing.

The ACM NDC Study compares and contrasts data reported in the Taulbee Survey and presents a more complete view of the academic landscape in computing. It also spans a range of computing disciplines including computer science (CS), computer engineering (CE), information systems (IS), information technology (IT), and software engineering (SE).  

Among its findings are:

  • Anticipated double-digit increases in CS bachelor’s degrees (13.9%) over the previous year compared to Taulbee programs (6.9%)
  • Higher actual overall CS enrollment increase between 2011-12 and 2012-2013 (11.0%) compared to Taulbee programs (8.9%) 
  • Markedly higher expected growth rates in both IT (50.8%) and SE (23.2%) than in CS degree production (11.0%); and higher actual enrollment growth in IT (23.9%) and SE (15.4%) than in CS 
  • More favorable gender balance among bachelor’s graduates in computing programs at NDC institutions (16.2% female) than at Taulbee institutions (13.3%)
  • Higher percentage of  female graduates in CS and IS at private and non-master’s degree programs 
  • Higher fraction of graduates in NDC than Taulbee institutions who are white/US residents (69.3% vs. 62.6%) and black/African American graduates (7.3% vs. 5.3%) but half as many Asian/US residents (8.1% vs. 16.7%)
  • An overall 26.2% anticipated increase in production of master’s degrees in NDC institutions, with the greatest gains in IT and SE
  • A higher fraction of female faculty at NDC schools (24.5%) compared with Taulbee schools (17.8%)

The ACM NDC Report authors include Jane Chu Prey of the University of Colorado, Boulder and Yan Timanovsky, ACM Education Manager. 

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence.  ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.