Technologies are an essential part of modern life, so professionals with computer science skills are in high demand. The Silicon Valley groups and companies constantly call for more STEM graduates to meet their needs. But it’s not only the tech industry that feels such a shortage. There are plenty of positions for specialists in computer technologies offered by financial organizations, consultancy firms, telecom companies, data warehouses, governmental agencies, universities, and hospitals. So if you are looking for a lucrative and highly stable career field, computer science should be on top of your list.
Here are the top 5 things you need to know about a computer science major.
What Is It All About?
Computer science is the study of theory and methods for collecting, storing, processing, transmitting, and analyzing information using computer technologies. It deals with the fundamental principles of algorithm design, data structures, and programming languages. It also includes coding, computation, theories of information, and their applications in computer systems. The practical side of computer science covers digital computer organization, hardware and software development, network management, cybersecurity, and cryptography.
With a degree in computer science, you’ll always be at the cutting edge of tech innovations. It opens the door to such booming spheres as robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality. You can also apply your knowledge in specific fields like machine learning tools, computer graphics production, video game development, designing of system interfaces, or constructing computer models.
Is It Right for You?
Building a career in such a demanding and fast-evolving sphere requires certain personal traits and skills. The first thing on the list is the aptitude for math and science, as that is the basis for any STEM-related job. A computer scientist is as much a mathematician as a technologist, so you should be eager to explore the underlying principles of computational processes and the fundamentals of computer design.
Tech legends like Tim Berners-Lee or Larry Page probably wouldn’t do much without the ability to distinguish logical patterns, critical thinking, and analytical skills. But what truly brought them to stardom is their ingenuity and unconventional approach to solving the emerging challenges. Those are the qualities every aspiring computer scientist has to cherish.
How to Get Started?
If you can put a tick against most of the criteria mentioned above, computer science might be the perfect choice for your future career. There is a number of options for how you can gain your footing in the IT industry. You can acquire necessary skills and competencies through tutorial websites dedicated to programming, check out open courseware from top schools like MIT or Harvard, take MOOCs in computer science, or join coding boot camps. Still, the best way to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the field is to enter a college or university program.
The admission process normally includes filling in the application form, passing SAT or ACT, and submitting a high school transcript. Most schools look not only for high grades in math, physics, or IT. They also take into account your commitment and motivation to expand your intellectual capacities, proven interest in the chosen field, and potential contribution to their community. Those are also the key points you should cover in your admission essay. Check out domyessay to make sure your personal statement looks impeccable.
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What to Expect When Majoring in Computer Science?
If you decide to pursue an education in computer science, the next couple of years are sure to be packed with rigorous training in various IT subjects. But the core mission of the program in computer science spans far beyond just teaching the curriculum. It is designed to get students familiar with the state-of-the-art computers and systems we use now and gain the skills that will prepare them for working with the technologies of the future we can’t even dare to imagine.
Completing a four-year undergraduate program will result in obtaining a bachelor’s of arts (BA) or bachelor’s of science (BS) degree. BS places heavy emphasis on science and math, so it provides broader employment opportunities in research and engineering areas. BA curriculum includes a greater array of classes in liberal arts and humanities. Students enrolled in this program also receive training in computer science tools and techniques, but the focus is shifted to their application in such areas as business, biology, psychology, etc. rather than a purely scientific sphere
Whatever degree option you choose, to take computer science like a duck to water, you should master a number of disciplines. The program typically covers such subject areas:
- Analysis of Algorithms
- Data Structures
- Web Development
- Software Engineering
- Computer Systems and Assembly Language
- Introduction to Operating Systems
- Network Fundamentals
- Computer Architecture
- Machine Learning
- Introduction to Databases
You can further advance your education and opt for a master’s degree. On top of the regular coursework requirements, you’ll also have to dive deeper into at least one of these specialization areas: biocomputation, computer and network security, AI, human-computer interaction, information management and analytics, real-world computing, and theoretical computer science.
What Can You Do with Your Major?
Learning computer science promises ample employment opportunities. You can start your career as an IT consultant, database administrator, system analyst, or even a technical writer. Another option is to choose a scientific track and become a computer and information, research scientist. You can also opt for a multimedia programmer, game developer, or computer graphics and animation jobs. Other areas where you can apply your knowledge and skills include web development, software and hardware engineering, consumer electronics manufacturing, telecommunications, and computer networks.
According to the latest report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and mathematical occupations are among the highest paid jobs across the nation with the annual mean wage of $93,760. Data shows that computer and information research scientists, on average, make $127,460 a year. The top 5 most lucrative positions in the field also include computer network architects ($115,110), software developers ($111,620), programmers ($106,980), and information security analysts ($104,210).