What You Should Know About This Degree
When considering a career in computer science, it’s important to explore the difference between information technology and computer science. Information technology graduates examine the needs of businesses and fulfill those requirements with solutions rooted in technology. Computer scientists design, develop, and improve the functionality of systems through the use of mathematics. While some IT skills are important to roles in computer science, IT programs don’t provide the same comprehensive computing education that comes with a computer science degree. Determine your interests and choose a program that fits your career goals.
Professional certification isn’t required for jobs in computer science, but because of the technical nature of computing, many employers look for additional skills and accreditations as a sign of commitment to continuing education.
There are many credentials for computer science professionals. Two helpful certifications for analytics and database technologies is the SAP Certified Technology Associate certification and the Microsoft SQL Server certification. For cloud computing, the CompTIA Essentials certifications cover the fundamental components of a company’s cloud solutions. All professional programs require the successful completion of an exam to receive certification.
With technology systems continuing to play an integral part in the daily infrastructure of almost every sector, job growth in computer science is much faster than other occupations. The demand for new programming languages that improve software efficiency and the increased need for data mining services mean that the United States will need 7,100 new computer and information research scientists by 2031.
Here are some questions to ask when researching computer science programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? Computer science programs accept students from programs in various disciplines, but you’re expected to have a physics, chemistry, and mathematics background. A high school diploma is required for most four-year degree programs. Check admission requirements to confirm that you meet the qualifications for the program you would like to attend.
- How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most bachelor’s programs require four years of full-time study, culminating in a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. Accelerated programs can take two years to complete. Students who wish to pursue advanced careers in computer science will want to obtain a master’s degree. These programs generally take two years and require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar field.
Be aware of application deadlines and additional materials you must submit for each program. Information about required documents can often be found under the admission section of each school’s website.
Also, consider how you will finance your degree in computer science. Master’s programs often provide future career opportunities but come with a large financial investment. Research financial aid applications and available scholarships to help pay for your education.