Students planning to pursue a career in computer science may have an easier time landing a job than their classmates. According to new figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in network systems and data communications analysis are predicted to have increased 53.4 percent between 2006 and 2016?a larger increase than in any other field.

The Bureau recently released predictions for the 30 fastest-growing and declining occupations between 2006 and 2016. According to these statistics, jobs in personal health care and other health care services, such as home health aides, medical assistants, and dental hygienists, are also expected to rise. On the other hand, jobs on the decline in the report were generally related to fields that rely on human labor, such as file clerks.

Director of the Career Planning Center (CPC) Tim Diehl is confident that the predictions are a good sign for the Bowdoin community.

"The growing industries are well-suited to Bowdoin graduates," he said.

Diehl said he was not surprised by the list of the growing occupations.

"As the population is aging, pharmaceuticals and health care companies will have increased demand," he said.

Students, however, seemed less sure about the prospects of being well-prepared for the technology and health care industries.

"The pre-med major at Bowdoin isn't as accessible as it could be," said Katie Coyne '08, a psychology major. "It is something [you] have to know you want to do coming in."

"Maybe Bowdoin could advertise the pre-med more," she added.

Tim O'Brien '10 expressed concern that his areas of study did not correlate with the fields the report predicted for growth.

"I'm a history and philosophy major, so I'm obviously not that prepared for either [the technology or health care fields]," O'Brien said. "I do have friends in computer science, the more technical people, who I think are well-prepared."

Diehl said he was not concerned regarding the lack of computer science proficiency at Bowdoin.

"As a liberal arts college, our students tend be on the service side [of the technology industry]," he said.

Diehl explained that the CPC does not necessarily take predicted trends into account while shaping their approach to counseling. Instead, the CPC focuses more broadly on the interests of students at the College.

"We're always looking to explore where student demand is," he said. "I think our focus is on the campus needs today and the next few years and leave the long-term prognosticating to the experts," Diehl said.