Part II: Developing Trends in Computer Science at Universities in 2016 — Loyola University

 “From 2012-2015, we have seen a 57% increase in student enrollment.”

At CultureFit, we spend a lot of time working with our clients providing them guidance on “Best Practices” for hiring in the highly competitive IT field. Identifying those new hiring trends has become a table stake in order to effectively hire the right candidate with the right cultural fit. Frequently, we’re able to see early trend indicators within the higher education environment – some of the best resources are in the Greater Chicagoland area and nearby universities. Last month, we began what will be a series of articles focused on the changing trends in our local colleges and universities, based on the perspectives of the department Chairpersons in the Computer Sciences/IT Department at several local schools of higher learning. We then compare their perspectives to national averages supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Conversation with Dr. Robert Yacobellis.

This month, our discussion was with Dr. Robert Yacobellis, Co-Chair of the Computer Science Department at Loyola University in Chicago. Dr. Yacobellis has been at Loyola University since 2009. As to the changing trends, he shared several observations:

Explosive Growth in Enrollment Just Over the Past Few Years.

“15 years ago, our Computer Sciences Department split from the Mathematics Department. Over the past 5-6 years, we have seen an explosive growth in our department, with a 57% increase in enrollment just since 2013.”  This is wonderful news since the BLS has indicated a significant need for qualified individuals in the field over the next decade, where the industry will grow by 15% and the number of new employees needed will be upwards of 53,700.  Dr. Yacobellis also stated that “the vast majority of the students are staying in the program until graduation, with only around 10% leaving to pursue other academic fields.”

What about Female Enrollment in Computer Sciences?

“Just as with their male counterparts, female co-ed enrollment is at a departmental high, where we now have an undergrad population of females at 40%, and a graduate level of enrollment at 35%.”  This is significantly higher than the national average of 18%. Dr. Yacobellis adds, “Over the next decade, greater diversity will be represented in the IT workforce, which has been male dominated up till now.  A win-win for everyone involved.”

Curriculums Constantly Changing to Keep Pace with the Industry

“Our curriculum is ever evolving to keep up with new innovation in IT. As of late, Security, Networks, and Bio-informatics are hot areas where we are seeing growth.  However, Software Engineering and IT are showing, by far, the highest growth rates of all.”  Dr. Yacobellis noted that the university keeps a close eye on local and national trends in the field, and that their advisory committee, coupled with industry specific corporate guidance, help establish and set curriculum.  Loyola University’s curriculum is on par with what national trends are showing in the IT arena: the largest growth over the next decade will be in Security, Software Engineering and Data Analytics.

How are Your Graduates Being Compensated?

As for starting salary, the range varies. “If they secure a position in IT, we are seeing a compensation in the mid $60’s.  When it comes to software development, they are starting at $80,000!”  These numbers are on par, if not slightly higher than the national average.  This, in large part, is due to the fact that most of their graduates are staying in the Chicagoland area, employed in the IT and Financial sectors, thus commanding a higher price when compared to a smaller population market.

To find out about a degree in Computer Science at Loyola University, visit them here, and visit their career page. To find out more about these changing trends, talk to one of our recruitment specialists at CultureFit. CultureFit is a full service Technology Staffing and recruitment firm for corporate cultures and IT professionals that value organizational fit, employee satisfaction, and an extremely high level of technical IT skills.

This is part two in a three part series. Read parts I and III.