What Can You Do with a Computer Science Degree?
Computer science degrees are highly versatile, with jobs for computer science graduates available across industries. Some in-demand fields for computer science graduates include tech, entertainment, finance, and healthcare.
For many careers in the computer science field, education of a bachelor's degree or equivalent is expected, and some advanced jobs require a master's degree or above. In this article, we will explore what criteria to look for when choosing a computer science program, job opportunities and career path options, and financing your computer science degree. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about how to find jobs in computer science.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
At many colleges and universities, you can elect to specialize your computer science education according to your interests and professional goals. Specializing your computer science degree demonstrates expertise in a particular subfield of computer science, strengthening your candidacy for employment after graduation. What you choose to specialize in will also affect what computer science jobs you are the best fit for.
Some areas of specialization include:
- Artificial Intelligence: This concentration emphasizes developing computer systems and machines that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. Topics involved in AI include machine learning principles, natural language processing, algorithms, and neural networks.
- Machine Learning: As a subset of artificial intelligence, machine learning focuses on developing algorithms and models that enable computer systems to learn from existing data sets and make predictions or decisions. Statistical modeling, neural networks, deep learning, and data mining are essential to machine learning.
- Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity is now a critical niche in the industry with our global reliance on technology. This specialization equips students with the knowledge and skills to protect computer systems and networks from unauthorized access, attacks, and security breaches.
- Data Science: This field writes computer programs to make large and complex datasets more manageable, extracting insights and knowledge from the data. Analyzing data, applying statistical techniques, and using machine learning algorithms to extract meaningful information is the backbone of this concentration.
- Human-Computer Interaction: This specialization focuses on the design and development of user-friendly and intuitive computer interfaces. Related topics include user experience design, usability testing, interaction design, and prototyping.
- Computer Graphics: Computer graphics involves creating and manipulating visual content using computers. With this concentration, students learn about rendering techniques, 3D modeling, animation, virtual reality, and computer-aided design. Applications range from film and television to the game industry.
How to Choose a Computer Science Program
When researching undergraduate programs to study computer science, it is helpful to check the post-graduation employment rates at each institution. Most colleges and universities conduct surveys to track career outcomes after graduation. Institutions usually publish what percentage of their students are employed full-time or in graduate school within six months to one year after graduation.
Some schools even track when recent graduates secured their jobs, whether it was prior to graduation through recruitment, within three months of graduating, or later after graduation. Understanding the career outcomes of recent graduates is important to choosing a computer science program.
Top computer science programs offer robust curriculums in addition to research and experiential learning opportunities to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration. It is essential to understand the program structure and curriculum of each institution you are interested in.