Choosing a college major is one of the hardest decisions for freshmen (and sophomores) to make. There is no right or wrong answer, but it is beneficial to stay up-to-date on trends in education and industry. In particular, computer science is exploding in popularity. As we’ll discuss in this article, that’s for good reason.
What is computer science, and what does the major include?
According to our favorite online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, “Computer science is the study of algorithmic processes, computational machines and computation itself.”
So, if you study computer science, you are learning how computing machines and the technologies behind them work. Wikipedia continues, “As a discipline, computer science spans a range of topics from theoretical studies of algorithms, computation and information to the practical issues of implementing computational systems in hardware and software.”
You’ll likely hear this called “CS” for short. Another common abbreviation is “comp-sci.” They all refer to the same thing!
Who makes a good candidate for this field?
First off, you’ll likely need strong math skills. Beyond that, having a keen interest in logic, processes, and solving puzzles will all help you out.
US News describes the typical computer science majors as “strong logical thinkers and problem solvers who use computers and computational processes to build websites, mine data and more.”
Does that sound like you? Keep reading!
Reasons to seriously consider a CS degree
“The Berkeley Boom“
In fall 2015, a record 1,300 students enrolled in UC Berkeley’s introductory computer science course, CS 61A. That was twice as many as 3 years ago.
John Denero, professor of 61A, says, even “if you talk to a biology professor, they’re more likely to say, ‘Yeah, learn some computer science along the way’ than they were a few years ago.”
But it’s not just biology. UC Berkeley’s annual campus surveys show that undergraduates across all disciplines are beginning to show interest. Many students now see basic computer science as essential for academic and professional growth.
Money does matter
In fact, in a 2014 survey of graduating UC Berkeley CS majors, the average salary reported was over $96,000. In addition, over 80% of students surveyed were either employed or attending elite graduate schools. As a result, job security and lucrative salaries come as no surprise. From data analytics, to artificial intelligence, to numerous other branches of computer science, you have many options. Moreover, these jobs have become ubiquitous in our society.
Computer technologies in our society
Beyond that, not only is the study of computers a financially rewarding path, it is also essential to the future of academia and industry. In fact, promoting computer science is “an investment worth making, both for the well-being of society in general and to cultivate more computationally sophisticated future colleagues across all disciplines,” says R. Michael Shanahan, the CS department chair at Harvey Mudd.
An invaluable asset
Choosing a major will never be easy, but computer science is a compelling choice. Whether you want to contribute to the future of tech or are looking for an intellectual challenge, it may be for you. In fact, even if you’ve found your vocation elsewhere, consider rounding out your education with an introductory “comp-sci” course to broaden your horizons.
If you’re looking for more help choosing a major, Empowerly has the resources you need. Working with a private guidance counselor will help you explore your options. Reach out today. You can book a free consultation below to meet with our team to learn more about the Empowerly approach.