Last Updated: August 28, 2021
Taking a Computer Science Degree
Computer Science is a field that has seen exponential growth over the past few decades. This growth in the career industry has set a certain demand for graduates in the field who excel in the tasks they perform. Over time, the field of computer science has branched out into different sections each of which requires a substantial investment of time to learn and excel in. These fields are now offered as specializations in undergraduate and graduate programs in various computer science departments. Some universities also offer graduate programs in the fields of specialization where the candidate will be able to focus only on their specialization without getting a general computer science degree.
While the programs for computer science are expensive in nature, there are plenty of options from which candidates can choose the right fit for them. Some prominent universities in the field let candidates choose the subjects they desire under the field of computer science without having to study the same generic syllabus. Choosing the courses of one’s own choice at an undergraduate level also allows candidates to specialize early in the field of their choice without wasting time on outdated parts of the course.
Benefits of Studying Computer Science
The benefits of studying computer science lie mainly like job prospects candidates will receive after the completion of the course. Once a candidate has completed an undergraduate program in computer science, they will be able to work in the corporate sector ranging from small-scale industries to corporate giants. It is generally recommended that candidates take up a master’s program in the subject and specialize in a field for receiving a higher pay but candidates will also have the option of taking certification courses for the same.
The expensive nature of the program is often compensated by the high salary packages candidates can expect upon course completion. There is also the promise of never-ending job prospects within this field due to the constantly evolving nature of the field. Candidates who are willing to learn along with the advancements made in their field will be able to flourish in the industry for a longer period of time since updating and upgrading oneself within the industry is highly relevant.
Admission Requirements for Computer Science
The admission requirements for undergraduate and graduate programs differ from one another. They also differ from university to university and candidates will be required to visit their respective college websites to find the list of the required documents. Most colleges will require candidates to submit scores of competitive examinations and will have their required score range which will also have to be met by the candidate.
For undergraduate programs, candidates will have to submit their high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, SAT/ACT scores, and a filled application form. Candidates who are applying for graduate programs will have to submit their transcripts, letters of recommendation, resume, statement of purpose, GRE scores(if required), and an application form that has been completed.
Application forms will mostly have a fee ranging between $75 to $85 depending on the university of choice. Candidates will also be able to receive fee waivers upon request if they meet the college’s waiver requirements. The application form will contain short essays and a long essay which will have to be completed by the candidate without plagiarism to receive admission.
Undergraduate Programs in Computer Science
The computer science departments of most popular universities offer either a BA in computer science or a BS in computer science. The difference between the two courses lies in the factor that a BA is interdisciplinary in nature and will often include an approach to computer science through mathematics and science. While there will be core computer science courses in the curriculum, they will also have to learn general courses like calculus, linear algebra, discrete mathematics, etc.
The average cost of taking a BA/BS in computer science is around $100,000. But candidates will be able to find courses that have a tuition fee of around $18,000 per semester depending on the college/university they go to. The duration of the course ranges anywhere between 3 to 4 years.
Core Courses for BS/BA in Computer Science
Though the courses for a general BA/BS in computer science differ from university to university, there are a few general courses that candidates will have to learn wherever they study. These courses are-
- Artificial Intelligence
- Computer Theory
- Data Logic
- Data Management
- Computer Architecture
MS in Computer Science
Candidates who opt for a master’s program in computer science will be able to either take a general course in the subject or choose programs that specialize in a particular stream under the course. While applying for a master’s program, candidates will have to submit their transcripts, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and GRE score(if applicable). They will also have to write the essays provided in the application form before submission.
While doing a general MS in computer science, candidates will be able to specialize in the subjects they want. The specializations offered will be dependent on the institution but will mostly include subjects like artificial intelligence, machine learning, software engineering, systems, theory, computing, etc. The duration of a master’s program ranges between 1 to 2 years.
Core Courses for MS in Computer Science
The general courses that candidates will have to take while doing a master’s program in computer science are-
- Cyber Security
- Machine Learning
- Game Development
- Big Data
- Computer Systems
Ph.D. in Computer Science
While doing a Ph.D. in computer science, candidates will have to focus on a specialization upon which they can choose a research question they will be working on. There will be a few select core courses candidates will have to complete as part of their course work after which they will be able to focus on their research.
Candidates will be required to complete their research by finding solutions to their research questions and expand the area of specialization through their research. They will have to submit their thesis and defend it for the completion of the course.
Specializations under Computer Science
The specializations that are offered by universities are-
- Artificial Intelligence
- Database systems
- Cyber Security
- Numerical computation
- Operating systems
- Parallel computing
- Programming languages
- Software engineering
- Computer graphics
- Computer theory
Top Universities for Computer Science
The top universities for computer science according to the US news are-
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Stanford University
- University of California-Berkeley
- University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
- Cornell University
- University of Washington
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Princeton University
- University of Texas-Austin
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. These occupations are projected to add about 546,200 new jobs. Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security.
The most popular job opportunities include-
- Systems Analyst- Their job description includes studying the existing computer systems of the organization they work in and designing solutions to make the system more efficient and functional. The job bridges the fields of business and IT for the smooth handling of organizations.
Median Salary- $93,730 per year
- Software Developer- Their job description includes the creation of applications that are task-specific and are used for running devices and networks. They work according to the needs of users by developing software that can meet these needs.
Median Salary- $110,140 per year
- Computer Programmer- Computer programmers deal with the writing and testing of codes which will ensure the efficiency of existing software and computer applications. They might also have to update existing programs to achieve the same purpose.
Median Salary- $89,190 per year
- Information Security Analyst- Their job description includes monitoring security breaches in the computer networks and systems of their organization. They will have to expand the protection provided to the systems according to the increase in the number of cyberattacks.
Median Salary- $103,590 per year
- Security Architect- Their job description includes the maintenance of software that pre-exists within the organization for the protection of the company. They will also have to focus on preventing possible cyber-attacks and creating safeguards in anticipation of the same.
Median Salary- $116,780 per year