Many of you use a computer every day (you are probably using one to read this article right now); however, have you ever wondered why people need or wanted to major in Computer Science? Or better yet, when you hear Computer Science or know a friend that studies it, do you immediately think of Mark Zuckerberg or your friend eventually working for Google? Not quite. Computer Science is actually a lot more than just coding and startups in Silicon Valley. I had the opportunity to take a Computer Science course in college and I strongly believe that the skills in Computer Science are one of the most versatile and applicable skills you can learn in college. In this article, we will explore what really is Computer Science, the skills you can develop, and what career opportunities are available to you with it. So let’s get started!
What is Computer Science?
Defined by American Computer Scientist Peter Denning, Computer Science is the scientific study and application of how to process, store, access, and communicate information. It is not limited to just learning how to code or learning how computers work, but teaches and practices problem solving methodology that can be applied to other fields such as engineering, economics, and other academic subjects.
Computer Science teaches you how to solve problems or create solutions with technology, manifesting in new programs or systems. One of the most popular sciences in Computer Science is learning how to code in various languages such as Python or Java. While coding is one of the ways Computer Science majors can apply their theories, the basis of their major still heavily relies on how to problem solve. These skills can be translated to any computer language.
What skills will you get from Computer Science?
As mentioned above, Computer Science will help develop your problem solving and analytical skills. Through labs and problem sets, a Computer Science major will refine skills in analyzing a problem, preparing different ways to create a solution, and execute it with the tools provided. On the contrary to popular belief, Computer Science majors have to also develop strong teamwork skills. In order to tackle larger problems, Computer Science majors will have to learn to work efficiently with each other and others from other disciplines as well.
What about jobs?
By majoring in Computer Science, not only will you have developed great problem solving and analysis skills, but you also are equipped with learning different code languages. Below are just some of the jobs that you can find that directly relate to your Computer Science Major:
- Academia (Teacher, Professor, Researcher)
- IT Technician
- Technical Analyst
- Web Engineer
- Web Designer
Where can I learn more about Computer Science?
Luckily, there is no shortage of resources on the web for computer science and coding. Below are some excellent sites there you can learn the basics of coding and more information about what a person with a computer science major can do:
- Codecademy – This is a fantastic site where you can learn the basics of coding in Python, HTML, CSS, and other languages
- Six Reasons Why Studying Computer Science Is Worth It – A student at Stanford majoring in Computer Science is recollecting why it is important, especially for women, to pursue Computer Science
- Code.org – A great movement that is trying to push for more Computer Science and coding education in high schools and universities everywhere
What are some colleges that have good Computer Science programs?
Just as with any other major, there is no definite, absolute ‘best’ college or university to go to for computer science. There are many colleges, however, that have fantastic professors and resources in computer science, so finding an environment in which you feel like you can grow in is the most important quality to look for. Below are several great computer science programs that you can start building your list from.
- Carnegie Mellon University – Computer Science
- California Institute of Technology – Computing and Mathematical Sciences
- Stanford University – Computer Science
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Computer Science
- University of Texas – Austin – Computer Science