Computer science degree unlocks host of technical careers

A computer science degree translates to many exciting technical careers, and each year new career options open up because of groundbreaking technical breakthroughs.

This is reflected in the abundance of computer science degrees offered at local colleges and universities.

Employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 15% by 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The computer science degree opens the door to many high-paying careers, and these grads earn some of the highest starting salaries of any major.

Interdisciplinary studies

“The biggest change is how interdisciplinary it has become,” said Luay Nakhleh, J.S. Abercrombie professor of computer science and chair of the Department of Computer Science at Rice University.

“A computer science degree is now very relevant beyond the traditional computer science job market (which is the hi-tech industry). Big data, in particular, has transformed many fields, including biology, biomedicine, physics, and the oil and gas industry, to name a few,” said Nakhleh.

Now one would find people with computer science degrees in all these fields and industries.

“The most recent wave of artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing many fields, as AI solutions often provide more accurate predictions or classifications than those of domain experts,” he said.

In sum, Nakhleh said, a “computer science degree is now a passport to enter many fields and industries that were out of the reach of computer scientists decades ago.”

All of these groundbreaking changes fit perfectly into the business scenario.

“Students can be exposed to specialties such as robotics, natural language recognition programs, artificial intelligence, programming, numerical analysis, and gaming technology,” Nakhleh said.

Valuable degree

“Technology has permeated every aspect of our lives, giving a computer science degree enormous value,” said professor Ancelin Shah, chair, computer programming division at the Houston Community College Digital and Information Technology Center of Excellence.

“A computer science degree can signify to recruiters and hiring managers that you have been vetted by an accredited institution and have a basic understanding of software engineering that they have come to expect for entry-level engineers. It can better prepare job seekers to enter the workforce,” Shah said.

Within the past decade, Shah said she has seen a huge increase in social media usage, online shopping, online classes, and remote working. Now, due to COVID-19, many of people’s daily tasks have switched to the virtual environment, from online grocery shopping and online schooling to virtual doctor visits and even virtual happy hours, among others.

“Employers are looking for candidates with a degree who can hit the ground running and provide value as soon as possible,” adds Madeline Burillo-Hopkins, president of Houston Community College Southwest.

Cloud computing, AI

Finally, HCC has recently started offering degrees in cloud computing and artificial intelligence, along with the more established programs in computer programming, networking and digital communication, said HCC’s dean Sean Otmishi. “We … offer an artificial intelligence Associate of Applied Science degree program.

“Additionally, our college’s cybersecurity program is nationally recognized by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and designated by the two agencies as a national cybersecurity program.”

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