Expect 270,000 New Software Development Jobs by 2020


The continuing expansion of healthcare IT and mobile networks will continue to create demand for software developers, technical support, and system analysts, even though offshoring will hurt programming careers over the next several years. That’s the finding of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) biennial update of employment projections, which concludes that by 2020, employment in all computer occupations is expected to increase by 22 percent.

Do you believe the BLS is accurate in predicting software development jobs over the next eight years? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

The report outlines which job titles will be in demand in the coming years:

  • Software Developers: Up 30 percent, adding 270,900 jobs (the strongest growth rate)
  • Network and Computer Systems Admins: Up 28 percent, adding 96,600 jobs
  • Systems Analysts: Up 22 percent, adding 120,800 jobs
  • Security/Web Dev/Network Architects: Up 22 percent, adding 65,600 jobs
  • Database Administrators: Up 31 percent, adding 33,900 this decade
  • IT Managers: Up 18 percent, adding 55,800 jobs
  • Help Desk and Tech Support: Up 18 percent, adding 110,000 jobs
  • Programmers: Up 12 percent, adding 33,700 jobs (the weakest growth rate)

Although the BLS works with the best possible numbers and analyses of current market conditions worldwide, it has many critics who point out that trying to predict what the tech landscape will look like a decade from now is a fool’s errand. As David Foote, of Foote Partners LLC, an IT labor market research and advisory firm, told Computerworld, “Anyone that makes a ten-year projection based on current market volatility and uncertainty which is unprecedented is kidding themselves.”


28 Responses to “Expect 270,000 New Software Development Jobs by 2020”

April 03, 2012 at 1:01 pm, James said:

What is the difference between a Programmer(growth 12% likely to be outsourced),Software Developer(growth 30%). The BLS is joke and anybody relying on there forecast is a fool.


April 04, 2012 at 11:03 am, Mark Feffer said:

The BLS is one of the world’s most credible sources of information. Even presidents and Congress leave the data alone (though they sure try to spin it). Just because you don’t like its numbers doesn’t mean it’s a joke.


April 04, 2012 at 1:57 pm, James said:

Mark, the BLS cannot even define the difference between a Programmer and a Software Developer how in the world can they forecast for those types of jobs.


April 04, 2012 at 2:15 pm, Mark Feffer said:

Though they publish most of their data at a much higher level, in terms of sectors, the data they gather is much more granualar.


April 04, 2012 at 4:59 pm, James said:

???? I don’t understand what you are referring to when you talk abou grandular levels. The fact that the BLS cannot distinguish between a software developer and a programmer is a Hugh problem which make their analysis inherently wrong.


April 05, 2012 at 3:06 pm, Kevin said:

I have to agree with James, Mark. The fact that two “career paths”, which any of us who are in the field would have a hard time distinguishing between (we should know if anybody does, right?), get both the highest and lowest marks makes this entire study’s claims seem dubious at best.

I take very little additional comfort in the fact that Presidents and Congress find these numbers credible… these are the very folks who can’t seem to figure out that bringing in foreign labor to perform our IT work or off-shoring such work is NOT a good thing for the American Taxpayer (well except for those who are so wealthy that they pay relatively little tax).

So in answer to your question “Do you believe the BLS is accurate in predicting software development jobs over the next eight years?”. Well I don’t know, it seems the BLS has done one heck of a job of hedging their bets.


April 03, 2012 at 7:00 pm, Derp said:

A software developer is basically a programmer…


April 03, 2012 at 8:08 pm, Tornado said:

I do not trust this forecast.One of my concern is, getting IT jobs is still a problem.People get degree in computer Science they are not getting the,job,people come from India as H1 holder with no degree but just a few months training they are pushed hardly by the so called consulting companies until they get the project.Somthing need to be done .in the course design in the us university so student will be able to get the job after graduation, because it is “absurd” to spend all that money in University and after graduation there is no consideration of the degree in the job market.Teachers in Computer Science departments should be aware of the situation.and have the obligation to do something.Either they re-design the courses so after graduation students will valuable in the job market or close those departments in the Universities.In the last 10 years 95 % of computer science students can not get jobs after graduation.It is a very sad situation


April 03, 2012 at 9:38 pm, Mike said:

These careers are flooded with people that have poor communication skills and no business sense. Luckily this makes it very easy for qualified people to find jobs. College graduates unable to find jobs in these fields should be questioning their dedication to learn. Also, spending 30-70k a year on tuition for any undergrad degree is a poor investment.


April 03, 2012 at 11:27 pm, David said:

Friends at dice,

I am truly sorry that every single post you put up gets replies from angry idiots who cannot find work in the fastest growing industry in the world. Your site has been a HUGE help to me. I posted a resume on your site about 6 months ago and began getting calls almost immediately. Your advice and guidance has greatly improved my quality of life and my salary.

The IT job market is experiencing the fastest growth it has had since the dotcom boom. It’s a great time to be in the field.


April 04, 2012 at 6:47 am, Tom Marks said:

David , my resume is on dice also and I also received calls from recriters but not one phone or in person interview, let alone a job offer.


April 04, 2012 at 10:38 am, ConfusedCountry said:

I Agree, I get hundreds of recruiters but never get a single interview. That tells me that the hiring managers are getting flooded with resumes–and if that is true, then there is no shortage.


April 04, 2012 at 11:05 am, Mark Feffer said:

It’s true hiring managers are getting flooded — the problem is they’re not finding people they want to bring in. In some cases, it’s because the managers are being too picky and want to find impossible matches. But in others, it’s because they truly can’t find people with the core skills they’re looking for.


April 05, 2012 at 4:15 pm, David said:

This tells me that it only takes one phone call to know that I don’t want to hire you.


April 04, 2012 at 6:56 am, James said:

Mike when was the last time you were in college, 1970. Even state college cost almost 30k a year for an undergraduate degree. At a minimum companies are requiring an undergraduate degree.


April 04, 2012 at 9:33 am, Norm said:

but…the jobs are all offshore.
why? cheaper salaries, no ssi, no slip and fall, no disability insurance, no retirement plan, no “patent infrindgement” lawsuits, etc.
The offshoreing of all tech jobs is the major source of false growth in lots of companies.


April 04, 2012 at 11:02 am, David said:

Maybe your problem is that you misused “you’re” and “your” on a resume. Either way, YOU can’t find a job, and I have no trouble. It’s almost definitely the whole world’s fault, not yours!


April 04, 2012 at 2:20 pm, Proud Paulbot said:

In case you haven’t noticed, this country is in an economic Depression. Jobs are exceedingly difficult to find in all fields. The entry-level job market has vanished in all fields, not because of H-1B’s (though this has certainly had a negative impact), but because the Boomers cannot retire due to their 401k’s having been wiped out.

There are something like four qualified applicants for every single job opening in America. This means that, no matter how well each applicant presents himself or herself, or how qualified each one is, three of them will walk away empty-handed.

If you truly have no problem at all finding jobs, you should be getting down on your knees every morning and thanking god that you are so fortunate. Anyone who has any kind of job right now is blessed and should be grateful. (I count myself in that category, and I know full well that my fortunes could turn at any time. I will never pooh-pooh either of my two jobs, even though they are not in tech.)

I was told–by several independent sources–that the reason why I am unemployable in tech is because I have a degree but no experience. I was told that I would have to work unpaid internships for YEARS to get the experience. I do not have the financial backbone to go for YEARS with no income, and I do not believe in welfare, so I looked for work in a field where I do have experience. And I thank god that I had experience in another field; many unemployed people do not, and are trapped.


April 04, 2012 at 2:17 pm, ConfusedCountry said:

Agreed. If they have completely different forecasts for Programmer’s and for Software Developers than it is clear that the whole analysis is flawed. I predict a 33% increase in the use of Automobiles during the next 5 years, and a 20% reduction in the use of cars during that same period. –pretty stupid huh?


April 04, 2012 at 2:22 pm, Proud Paulbot said:

I didn’t get the difference between a “Programmer” and a “Software Developer,” either. It seems like it’s the same as the “difference” between a “Secretary” and an “Administrative Assistant,” meaning that there isn’t one; it’s simply that one title is more PC than the other. Perhaps people think that “Software Developer” sounds “better” than “Programmer.”


April 04, 2012 at 2:24 pm, ConfusedCountry said:

Very good point. Maybe a large percent of people stopped calling themselves programmers and started calling themselves Software Developers. Maybe that is why one is dropping and one is rising. If that is true, then you would have to subtract the difference to see any true gains or loses.


April 09, 2012 at 10:31 am, Hudini said:

I do believe there is a specific distinction between a “developer” and a “programmer”. I consider many of our low cost region counter parts, “programmers”. We use these resources for specific coding that does not require a high degree of creativity. In most cases the requirements, design, and user acceptance criteria has been thought out, and we utilize the resources to implement the logic in code patterns that have all ready been designed.

I believe someon with the title of “developer” has a responsibility to set at a higher level. These individuals are more engaged with the complex problems of design and implementation. It has been my experience that the developer sits closer to the leading edge of a project, serving as a beta a prototype driver….and a good developer also brings the skill of creativity backed by solid CS principles.

In my experience, I have found that a good CS degree move the individual from “programmer” to “developer”. Not certain if that is a common experience, but this is generally what I have experienced with the individuals I have had the opportunity to work with.


April 09, 2012 at 12:47 pm, Todd Shyres said:

Perhaps it’s best to look at predictions like this from a higher level. If you follow job openings or the IPO market you will see a large increase in the demand for people who program, manage, and develop software. You can call them developers, programmers or whatever you would like. Bottom line is technology continues to move towards software as a growing influence in our lives (just think about how much time people spend on facebook, twitter, pinterest, zynga games, etc). Therefore more folks will be needed who know how to work directly with software.

If working with software is on your career path this is all a positive thing. With that being said, if you are new to the IT world and deciding where to place your time then making distinctions is important. You obviously want to focus specifically where you think the jobs will be.

Speaking of specific areas – I find it interesting they didn’t specifically refer to Data Analytics. Perhaps that will be mentioned in future reports from them.


April 11, 2012 at 6:17 am, Programming Unite said:

I am pleased that I started learing programming and getting more into IT then :)


May 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm, Eworking said:

The position or percentage given to the said areas may fluctuate or change their positions. But one thing is for sure that the future is going to be dominated by software development and application. And the number of jobs mentioned may increase manifold.


June 03, 2013 at 12:14 pm, ProbeDeeper said:

Programmers is defined “Computer programmers write code to create software programs” while Software developers is defined as “Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs”! (See: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm)

As others on this board have said, it is possible that the use of the SD title is rising causing this rate difference.

So, I think it makes sense to combine the two categories and then the projected growth rate would be between 12% to 30%, closer to 30% than 12%, which is still a very high rate.


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