High-tech employment has been steadily increasing in Illinois. Employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics have revealed a shift in the state's economy as the science and technology sectors grab additional market share. For example, nearly 21,000 of the state's 392,000 private businesses (5.8 percent) are now in high-tech sectors, which is above the national average. The growth of the information technology industry has rippled throughout the state.
What does this mean for students considering pursuing an education in computer science? The economic diversity and continued drive by state and local government to foster tech investments means that students in Illinois are well-poised for career success after graduation.
Computer Science Education in Illinois
Illinois is an academic powerhouse of a state, home to nationally ranked universities such as Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois. Besides the powerhouse universities, the state also has a long list of recognized, smaller colleges, such as Eastern Illinois University (Charleston), Bradley University (Peoria), Blackburn College (Carlinville) and Elmhurst College (Elmhurst).
Tech Industry and Career Outlook in Illinois
Illinois is focusing on driving continued growth in its various high-tech industries. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development has developed a range of state-level initiatives to spur this growth, including financial support for clean-tech start-up companies, reducing the costs for university-based tech start-ups to operate and creating a technology transfer fund. Data from CompTIA shows these efforts are working as more than 5 percent of the state's economy can be attributed to the tech industry. According to CompTIA figures, the tech industry employs nearly 230,000 individuals in Illinois, and all indications points to continued growth well into the future. Overall, the state ranks 8th nationally for tech employment. By those employment numbers, the leading tech industries in CompTIA's report for Illinois included the following:
- Computer Systems Design: 72,500
- Telecommunications: 33,500
- Engineering Services: 27,900
- Research and Development Testing: 26,900
- Internet Services: 17,700
Business Insider, The Best 50 Computer Science and Engineering Programs in the Country, http://www.businessinsider.com/best-computer-science-engineering-schools-in-america-2015-7
Chicago Tribune, Illinois' share of high-tech businesses is among the nation's top states, http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/hub/chi-iin-illinois-high-tech-businesses-bsi-hub-story.html
CompTIA, 2015 Cyberstates, https://www.comptia.org/resources/2015-cyberstates
Computer Science Department, University of Illinois, http://cs.illinois.edu/
Deloitte, Deloitte Fast 500, http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/technology-media-telecommunications/Technology-Fast-500-Winners-Brochure.PDF
Inc., 2014 5000, http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2014/state/ut/
Inc., Inc. 5000, http://www.inc.com/inc5000/2014/facts-and-figures.html
National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
National Center for Education Statistics, IPEDS, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter
Projections Central, Illinois, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
Robert Half Technology, 2016 IT Salary Guide, http://www.roberthalf.com/sites/default/files/Media_Root/images/rht-pdfs/robert_half_technology_2016_salary_guide.pdf
US News and World Report, Best Computer Science Graduate Programs, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-science-schools/computer-science-rankings
US News and World Report, University of Illinois Rankings, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-illinois-at-urbana-champaign-145637/overall-rankings