UW Tech Grads Among the Most Talented in the Nation

Recent UW alums don’t have to get too far off-campus to find a use for their newly-minted technology degrees. Washington’s booming tech industry is responsible for employing 238,900 people, and bringing in over $37 billion in revenue, according to a recent Washington Technology Industry Association study.

Not only are our grads located in the heart of the state’s tech hotbed, they also turn out to be among the best-equipped to make an impact in the tech world, according to a new tech.co ranking. The UW ranked #2 on a list of the public universities that produce the best startup talent.

Our institution and alums deserve credit for becoming a nationally recognized leader in this critical economic sector. Unfortunately, the quantity – not quality – of UW grads has our tech economy wanting more.

The state’s “workforce gap” in STEM fields has led to a sharper focus on the need to increase capacity and funding for additional graduates, especially at our public institutions. The UW was among many institutions and organizations that spent time advocating for STEM education investment on behalf of Washington students.

The results were a mixed bag. The Legislature did invest $6 million to expand UW’s Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) funding to expand enrollment, which is a great start for a state that needs to produce an additional 2,760 bachelor’s degrees annually to meet expected employer demand.

Yet enrollment is only half the battle. One of the UW’s biggest CSE problems is a shortage of classroom, lab and office space.

The University launched a capital request in hopes of building a second CSE building on the Seattle campus. The state granted less than half of the University’s request – despite a $10 million kick-start from corporate partner Microsoft.

Only one out of every three qualified UW students is currently admitted to the major, according to UW officials. That isn’t enough for either our students or employers.

Advocates should join us in using the next few months to continue building the case for increased STEM investment in our state. Our alums, residents and lawmakers should take pride in a homegrown institution that’s producing many of the nation’s top-tier grads.