One of the most sought after, and an important degree available to individuals these days is a computer science degree. Human civilization advanced by leaps and bounds during the second half of the 20th century and computer technology was a major driving force behind those quick advancements. The pace of technological advancement shows no signs of slowing down in the early 21st century, with technology changing even faster than it did in previous decades. It is important for those seeking a degree in computer science to understand not only the field of study but the degree options available to them.
The field of computer science focuses on the theoretical foundations of information and computation, as well as the practical applications and implementations for computer systems. Computer science is often misunderstood as simply studying computer and informational technologies involved in gaming, web browsing, and word processing. Computer science is quite the opposite, those involved in the study of computer sciences allows individuals to understand the algorithmic processes create, describe, and transform the information contained within web browsing applications, games, and word processing software. Computer science knowledge allows degree holders to understand current technologies while working towards improving existing programs as wells as creating new programs.
While the field of computer science evolved enormously since the 1940s, its foundation began centuries ago when mankind developed the first mechanical machines. Early mechanical machines were only capable of simple computations and it was not until the advancements of the past few decades that the field of computer science expanded. A computer science degree in the 21st century has several sub-fields of study including:
- Computer graphics
- Computational complexity theory
- Programming language theory
- Computer programming
- Human-computer interaction
Due to the varying sub-fields of study in computer science and the vast importance of computers along with software in the workplace, an individual with a computer science degree can expect to find a wide variety of potential jobs in different career fields.
Like any other degree, individuals chasing a degree in computer science will have varying styles of degrees to attain and a number of ways of earning them. An associate’s degree in computer science can be attained in just two years and would provide an individual with all the basic tools to earn an entry level computer science position. A Bachelor of Science degree in computer science can be attained at any major university and will require four years of intensive course study that includes not only computer courses, but a heavy dose of mathematics and science in the curriculum. An online computer science degree can also be a great option for prospective students with work related or parental responsibilities.
For those who have a true gift and interest in computers, a Master of Science degree in computer science can be a great option. A master’s degree can only be attained by those who already have a bachelor’s degree and they will have the flexibility of doing so online or at a physical location. At this stage, individuals can further focus on one particular area of computer science, such as graphics or design. For a few, obtaining a doctorate in computer science may be the next step. While most lucrative computer science related jobs don’t require a Ph.D in Computer Science or Informational Science, those who wish to teach or earn funding grants for research will need a doctorate.
Individuals who are contemplating a computer science degree that already has a good knowledge of computers should seriously consider attaining a degree in this field. With computers being an important part of everyday life, jobs related to computer science are found in varying industries around the globe. The hard work an individual puts into earning a computer science degree will pay dividends in the end. A 2006 study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the median salary of computer and information scientists in research was $93,950, while the median earnings of database administrators was $64,670, and network systems and data communication analysts, $64,600. A degree in computer science has proven to be one of the most versatile and in demand degrees available.