Computer Science climbs to 4th most popular STEM major for college-bound students
2 min readJan 9, 2019


In 2013, Computer Science was the 8th most-popular STEM major/career. In 2016, it was the 4th.

We’ve been hearing stories of increasing interest in computer science major and minor programs in colleges and universities nationwide, and now a report provides data to back that up.

The ACT surveys high school students on career and college major interest each year, and releases data on STEM majors/careers in their annual Condition of STEM report. We analyzed the data on computer science compared to other STEM fields, and found that since 2013, computer science has climbed the ranks and passed chemistry, engineering, and marine biology to become the fourth most popular STEM major based on expressed interest and career aptitude (up from #8 in 2013). Overall, the ACT surveys show computer science is rapidly becoming a top career path choice for high school students!

And, of the five categories of STEM majors/careers we analyzed from the report (Science, Computer Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Technology), computer science has the fastest-growing interest, increasing at 2–3 times the rate of interest in the other four categories each year. You can see more of our analysis in the deep dive here.

Our past surveys have shown that the majority of students who take a computer science class enjoy it, and 70% of students in CS Principles classrooms express an interest in studying CS after they graduate from high school.

While just 8 percent of STEM graduates are CS majors and the gender gap remains wide in the professional field, we hope this spiking interest is a sign that things are changing. More and more graduating high school students are interested in majoring in computer science!

Tens of millions of students took part in an Hour of Code this past year, with many of them discovering a new interest or passion for computer science. We need to make sure those students have opportunities to continue their studies and prepare for the major and careers that interest them, but we can’t do it without the help of dedicated teachers and school districts. Bring computer science to your school by applying for teacher professional learning here.

-Katie Hendrickson, Director of State Government Affairs


--® is dedicated to expanding access to computer science increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups.