Report Highlights Illinois a National Leader in STEM and Computer Science Talent Production

December 12, 2018

The state of Illinois produces STEM and computer science talent in the 2018 Talent Index by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC).

With nearly 25,000 STEM degrees awarded in 2017, Illinois ranked fifth in the nation in STEM degree production with 3,724 degrees in data science fields. Illinois has proven to be a growing hub for data and computer science where jobs have grown at more than twice the national rate over the past five years.

"As the second-largest producer of computer science degrees in the country, retention of these graduates is critical to the growth of the state's economy. Despite the perception that much of Illinois' computer science talent leaves the state, new analysis from LinkedIn shows Chicago is by far the most likely destination for the state's computer science graduates. Since 2013, Illinois' computer science graduates are 4.5 times more likely to work in Chicago than second-placed San Francisco. Champaign-Urbana also ranks as the fourth most likely destination for these graduates."

Research Park company AbbVie ranks as one of the top companies by STEM job postings in Illinois. State Farm, another Research Park partner ranked as a top Illinois-based employer of the state's recent computer science graduates.

The 2018 Talent Index mentions that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign specifically is "at the leading edge of interdisciplinary computer science education." With the CS x X degree offered at UIUC, students are given a solid foundation in computer science with training in arts and sciences as well. More than 600 UIUC students are part of this rigorous program. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has also created a link between students and the Chicago tech scene through the City Scholars program. This program offers undergraduate computer science and engineering students currently studying at UIUC the opportunity to live and work in Chicago while taking online courses. Students create connections and increase likelihood of post-graduation employment in Chicago.

University of Illinois Research Park Director Laura Frerichs is a current ISTC board member.

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