Software Engineers Make Up 3.6% of the US Workforce

With all the dogma around “Learn to Code” and coding bootcamps popping up everywhere, I was convinced that nearly everyone was a software engineer nowadays. Surely, this was re-affirmed by my own social bubble where I would meet people at parties who happen to code React fulltime.

I decided to look at actual data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics to confirm my belief. Needless to say, I was completely wrong in my assumption. There is a table that lists labor statistics by detailed occupation, along with other demographics. There’s a broad category called Professional and business Services with a subcategory called Computer and Mathematical occupations.

BLS Table of Professional Services Occupation

I’m only interested in people whose primary job involves writing/maintaining/debugging/securing software. Therefore, I ignored the following occupations in my total: Actuaries, Mathematicians, Operations research analysts, Statisticians, Other mathematical science occupations. It definitely could be debatable whether those disciplines fall underneath the broad umbrella of software engineering and perhaps computer science, but for now we’ll leave them out.

So this means, all of the other categories add up to a total of 5,248,000 people employed. It sounds like a lot, but out of a total US workforce of 147,795,000, that’s only 3.55%.

The single subsection of managers (4,969,000) almost surpasses this amount alone!

BLS Table of Managers

So I guess not everyone is a software engineer yet. But maybe nearly everyone is a manager.