Computing has become a part of everything we do. From online shopping to banking and from downloading apps to playing games, the use of computers is diverse. Computer science can be defined as the scientific and practical study of computational systems and computers. The field mostly deals with software systems, design and theory, development, and application.
Many students are preparing for a career in computer science as it offers a variety of growing professional careers. The constantly evolving field of technology reflects a demand for experts in this area. According to the Computing Research Association, from 2011-2012, the increase in the number of undergraduate computer studies major enrollments was 22.8%. Apart from the positive employment outlook, computer science is a suitable academic choice for individuals who enjoy challenges, experimenting, and want to work in a field that offers innovativeness.
Computer Science Programs
There are a number of colleges that are offering computer science degree programs at all levels of post-secondary education. Students who have completed high school can opt for an associate or bachelor degree, while undergrads can opt for master’s programs in this discipline. It is also possible to pursue computer science degrees online.
Here is a list of major computer science programs and what they will teach you:
Associate of Science in Computer Science
This is an undergraduate program that typically takes two years to complete. The program is designed to equip students with a basic understanding of computer applications, programming, networking, and software development. Students enrolled in this program will learn how to analyze and define computing requirements for various solutions. Alongside theoretical learning, the program will allow students to develop practical computing skills. Students will learn how to apply mathematical reasoning and computing tools to solve problems. The curriculum may vary from college to college. Generally, the following subjects are covered in the program:
- Database management
- Applied calculus
- Object oriented data structures
- Computer science
- Discrete mathematics
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
This is a four-year undergraduate program. For most entry-level jobs, you may need this degree. The program prepares students for careers in diverse fields such as software engineering, research and management. In this program, students will acquire advanced knowledge of computer programming, computer networks, and web development.
The coursework entails a range of theoretical and practical subjects. Once students gain a strong grasp of computing concepts, they will be required to practically apply their skills in computer labs, and gain hands-on experience. Here are some of the important courses usually covered in the degree program:
- Programming with java
- Database management
- Operating systems
- Computer networks and architecture
- Basic statistics and probability
- Differential equations
- Linear algebra
Master of Science in Computer Science
This is a two-year program that can be pursued after completion of a bachelor’s degree. The program is intended to equip students with advanced skills and concepts relevant to the field. Students will gain in-depth knowledge of computer language theory, advanced algorithms, and will also learn about the latest trends and software technologies.
During the initial phase of the program, students will learn about basic and fundamental concepts of computer science. Further in the program, more advanced-level subjects and practice-oriented subjects are covered. Students will spend a great amount of time in computer labs, gaining hands-on experience and learning how to practically devise computing solutions. The curriculum will depend on the institute chosen, but will generally cover areas such as the following:
- Computer graphics
- Advanced java programming
- Web development and application
- Software design and patterns
- Software development and management
Online Computer Science Degrees
If you don’t have the time for a traditional degree, consider pursuing an online computer science degree, instead. This mode of learning is flexible and cost-friendly. Nowadays, employers rarely differentiate between online and on-campus degrees. In fact, the trend of online learning is growing fast as it offers many benefits. Online students will be required to cover the coursework through video tutorials, online lectures, slideshows, and classroom conferencing.
- Computer and information research scientist: $102,190
- Computer network architect: $91,000
- Computer programmer: $74,280
- Computer support specialist: $48,900
The income level will vary from place to place and will also depend upon factors such as location, employer organization, skill, and specialization. You can improve your career prospects by earning additional certifications.