The number of people pursuing degrees in computer science at American universities rose 6% in the past five years, with graduates from engineering schools, business schools and other fields accounting for more than half the increase, according to data released by the Education Department on Tuesday.
The rise in computer scientist enrollment has been driven by an influx of students from outside the STEM fields, as more and more companies seek to develop their skills through a variety of programs, from coding to video games and other tech-related jobs.
Computer science has been an attractive path to a job for graduates from all over the country.
It has also become a lucrative career option, as graduates can earn up to $60,000 a year, the Department of Education said.
However, the overall numbers are still small compared to other STEM fields.
As a percentage of the U.S. population, only 3.7% of college graduates went into the computer science field in 2017, according the Department.
There were 6.4 million computer science majors in the United States in 2017.
Data released by Education Department last week showed that the average earnings of graduates of engineering schools and business schools were $50,000 and $54,000, respectively.
In the past decade, the number of engineering degrees awarded in the U and S has risen more than 60%, from 7.6 million to 10.2 million, according Topper.
That increase in engineering degrees has led to the number graduating with computer science and related degrees increasing by nearly 50% in three years.
While the number increased by just a fraction of a percentage point, the data showed that engineering schools have seen the biggest increase in graduates from the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, according Data from the Association of American Universities.
Although computer science is still a small portion of the workforce, it is a promising career path that can be beneficial for many people who have no other choice, Topper said.
“The growth in computer scientists is a great way to get a job in the tech industry, and it is certainly a way to stay competitive in the economy,” he said.