Computer science is one of the fastest growing fields in the international and US markets and a computer science (CS) degree is a great way to break into this lucrative industry. The best candidates for a CS degree would be those that have a deep interest and passion for computing as it is an incredibly difficult major for those not comfortable with computers or technology.
Most computer science programs will focus on the elements of programming, information technology, and computer engineering. Programming is the art of speaking to a computer. Programmers are needed in nearly every industry ranging from game development to big-time finance firms. Information technology is based around managing networks and the flow of information. There are separate degrees for IT, but CS majors typically need to know at least a base understanding of IT. Computer engineering is learning how to design and maintain the hardware the keeps computer system working.
Pros and Cons of Getting a Computer Science Degree
Computer science is a very broad and easily applicable field, so CS graduates have a great job market to look forward to when graduating. In addition to the flexibility of the degree, there’s high demand for skilled computer science majors and the computer science salary can be very high for even entry level positions. On the other hand, a CS degree can be very difficult and many end up dropping out because of this. It is advised that only those interested in the science itself, not just the money, pursue a degree in computer science.
Top Computer Science Schools
U.S. News currently rates Carnegie Mellon University as the top rated CS degree. Graduates make an average of $72,000 at entry level positions. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the most prestigous technology schools for a reason; their CS program has consistently been applauded as one of the best in the country. Companies like Google and Microsoft regularly hire MIT graduates. Kaplan University is one of the best online schools. It’s completely accredited and offers competitive pricing as well as flexible times. For those looking for a CS degree while working or taking care of a family, Kaplan is a great choice.
Popular Computer Science Degree Jobs
A web developer creates and maintains websites. The responsibilities can range from creating simple websites for restaurants to full blown web applications for startups. The average salary for a web developer is $91,000.
A finance programmer deals with the constantly changing world of bank transactions. They deal with the programs and codes that manage the millions of dollars a bank may process in a day. Being a programmer for a finance firm can be a stressful job, but the pay is the reward. An average salary for a finance programmer is $95,000.
Game developers create the games that fuel the ever-growing game industry. Whether it’s for mobile game apps or console gaming, there is a huge demand for qualified game programmers. This field is difficult, with knowledge of complex math a necessity. The average salary for a game developer is $66,000.
So: Is a Computer Science Degree Worth it?
While getting a CS degree is notoriously difficult, it is definitely worth it in the end. For those that manage to stick it out throughout the course of the program, there are many good things to look forward to. There’s prestige for being able to stick it out through a tough degree, a job market that’s actively searching for CS majors, and competitive pay even for entry level positions.
Additional resource: Software Development Salary