Can retail compete for computer science graduates?
A blog entry from the National Retail Federation (NRF) spelled out four reasons college graduates with computer science degrees should consider a job at retail in today’s tight labor market.
“Silicon Valley’s high wages and ample job opportunities make it an obvious choice, but retail companies are increasingly seeking to hire recent college graduates with computer science backgrounds (and are willing to pay comparable salaries),” wrote Sam Berndt, NRF’s research director.
Projects such as Target’s Tech Incubator or Walmart Labs further show retail’s “tech talent needs are beginning to rival those of Silicon Valley,” the entry stated.
Mr. Berndt then listed key reasons graduates should consider a retail career:
- Many openings: In 2017, retailers posted almost 5,000 jobs seeking out computer science skills, a number that would represent almost 15 percent of all computer science graduates.
- “Good” pay: Salaries for many tech-jobs at retail are comparable to other industries and even slightly higher for database administrators and software developers/systems software.
- Geographic diversity/lower cost of living: “Retail careers exist in communities big and small across the United States. Many of these jobs are in locations without Silicon Valley’s high cost of living, meaning a college graduate’s entry-level salary goes even further,” Mr. Berndt wrote.
- “Cool” jobs: “As emerging technologies continue to transform the shopping experience, a career in retail tech could mean being at the forefront of advancements in everything from AI and voice recognition to visual search and autonomous vehicles,” according to NRF’s research director.
Many surveys have pointed to the strong appeal of landing a job in Silicon Valley. An extensive Universum survey last year found 53 percent of computer science students wanted to work for Google, by far the most popular destination. Microsoft came in second, at 33 percent, followed by Apple (24 percent), Facebook (18 percent) and Amazon.com (17 percent). Amazon was the only retailer on the top 15 list.
Enrollment in computer science programs is booming at universities to meet demands around cybersecurity, data science and machine learning, but jobs continue to far outpace applicants as many industries are seeking similar skill sets.
- 4 Reasons Computer Science Grads Should Be Looking For Jobs In Retail – National Retail Federation
- 15 places where computer science majors dream of working – Business Insider
- Industries face shortage of IT workers, ever-evolving technology demands – News Tribune
- Colorado colleges overflowing with huge wave of computer science students – The Denver Post
- You probably should have majored in computer science – Quartz
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the strongest selling points retailers can use to recruit computer science graduates? Are there other ways retailers can make up for a shortage in qualified tech candidates?