IT Graduate Student Demographic Exploration

Many IT graduate students are wondering what their class cohorts will look like. Students are hoping to fit in and have some traits in common with others in their classes. Student demographics in IT across the nation are complex and involve multiple factors. There are some overall trends in college demographics, but also some significant variations between schools and other fields of study.

The Common College IT Graduate

Increasing employer demands and a more difficult job market are pushing college students to stay in school longer. Many IT jobs can be found with a bachelor’s degree, but employers often have overqualified applicants, and in IT the best educated and experienced person will get the job. Many students are choosing to pursue a graduate degree directly after their undergraduate so they can stay in school and defer their loans. This means there is an overall trend toward younger graduate students who have remained in college and so will likely not be married or have families.

Even if they have remained in school since their freshman year, graduate students will still have at least four years of study behind them. Most students will be in their late twenties or early thirties. There is also a significant older demographic of students who have stopped school to gain some job experience and are now returning because they need an advanced degree to continue their career.

While overall, more women attend college than men; IT tends to be a male dominated field of study. There are women, of course, but they are the minority.

Colleges overall has become more racially diverse, and the IT field is no exception. There are bound to be students of just about every race in a college graduate program. The races that stand out in college graduate programs are still Caucasians and Asians, but there is an increasing number of Hispanics as well. African Americans remain the lowest demographic group, especially for advanced degree fields.

There is also a good chance students will encounter international visitors. International students, or those students taking a few semesters of college abroad, are on the rise. Students from Japan, Europe, and India are especially common as international students.

What Generation Are You?

The majority of college graduate students will be those in ‘the millennial generation’. This generation highlights specific values such as diligence, respect of authority, confidence, teamwork and a focus on success. Social values, academic progress, and respect are more important to this generation than any past generation.

Demographics can Depend on Where You Are

The United States is developing an ever more diverse higher-education demographic, but this is still largely controlled by geographic location. Coastal schools tend to be more diverse, and schools in the southeast and Midwest tend to be the least diverse. School demographics are also strongly linked to the demographics of their local area. While college students are traveling to distant schools more than ever, the economic strain is also pushing students to stay closer to home than they otherwise would.

The only thing certain for a modern IT graduate student is that they will face diversity in their classroom. While IT tends to be a narrower field of study than others, the healthy job market and earnings potential of the field is attracting ever increasing volumes of students from all races and backgrounds.