Is Computer Science a Good Major [2021 Guide]
Is computer science a good major? The answer depends on your career goals and personal skills and interests.
If you enjoy working with computers, solving complex problems, and understanding the intricate details of software functionality, then a bachelors in comp sci may be a good fit for you.
Degrees in computer science may help you launch an exciting career that could allow you to leverage strong math, computer, and critical thinking skills to create computer systems and applications. You may also help businesses use these tools more effectively.
Is Computer Science a Good Major?
Yes, computer science is a good major for many undergraduate students. With an average salary of $88,240 and 11% job growth for computer and information technology occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics), majoring in computer science can help you launch a career in this lucrative and in-demand field.
Common computer science careers include computer programmer, computer systems analyst, database administrator, information security analyst, and software developer.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for all occupations is $39,810 while the average annual salary for computer science occupations is significantly higher at $88,240.
With a degree in computer science, you may be in a position to work in a variety of industries, including software publishing, manufacturing, finance and insurance, education, business and consulting firms, information management, and computer system design.
You may also find rewarding positions in nonprofit organizations and in government, from local and state to federal and international.
Top 5 Things You Can Do with a Computer Science Degree
With a degree in computer science, you may be qualified for a range of careers that allow you to leverage your skills and knowledge in computer systems while benefiting from above-average earnings.
Some careers that may be available to you include software developer, information security analyst, database administrator, computer system analyst, and computer and information systems manager.
1. Software Developers
Software developers play a role in creating new computer applications and computer systems used on laptops, tablets, phones, and other devices.
Developers may also plan and design software in terms of functionality, security, and performance. In some cases, software developers will work with computer programmers who will take the plans and write the code for the application or system.
Once the software has been created, developers may also be responsible for systems testing and performing regular maintenance.
2. Information Security Analysts
Information security analysts are generally responsible for managing a business’s network and system security.
This may include maintaining existing systems, adding new security measures, identifying threats and risks to networks, systems, and information, and keeping up to date on changing technologies.
Information security analysts may also perform regular testing on existing systems to ensure that security measures are effective.
3. Database Administrators
Generally, database administrators manage and control data for an organization. This may include overseeing data security and protection measures that are in place to prevent data breaches.
Database administrators, whether working with systems or applications, may also develop, maintain, and test databases, ensuring ease of use and access for all users.
4. Computer Systems Analysts
Computer systems analysts oversee a business’s use of various computer systems and technologies to optimize equipment and the overall performance of the business.
This may include identifying areas where technologies can be improved to create more efficiency in practices. It may also include outlining the costs and benefits of improving existing systems to management.
In addition, computer systems analysts often manage the installation and update process for new technologies, software, and hardware being installed for the business.
5. Computer and Information Systems Managers
Computer and information systems managers are often responsible for oversight of a business’s strategic direction when it comes to information technology resources and planning.
Common functions of a computer and information systems manager may include the management of budgetary activity, determining a business’s IT needs, and verifying adequate security measures are in place for a business’s network and system.
In many cases, computer and information systems managers have direct reports that they supervise and manage.
Computer Science Major Careers
With a comp sci degree, you may be prepared to work for an employer or you may be able to act as an independent consultant and be self-employed.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, completing a computer science degree may offer you the opportunity to work in a number of satisfying positions.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$146,360|
|Computer Hardware Engineers||$117,220|
|Computer Network Architects||$112,690|
|Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers||$107,510|
|Software and Web Developers, Programmers, and Testers||$102,330|
|Information Security Analysts||$99,730|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$90,920|
|Network and Computer System Administrators||$83,510|
A bachelor-level education is an entry-level requirement for many positions, including those listed above, in computer science. Pursuing a higher level degree like a masters or PhD in computer science online will open more lucrative opportunities in this field.
What Can You Do with a Computer Science Degree?
There are a number of careers in computer science that offer excellent earning potential. These positions include computer network architect, software analyst, software programmer, information security analyst, database administrator, computer systems analyst, and network administrator.
Since technology, computers, software, and networks are used in virtually every business, there is a demand for computer science experts across all sectors of the economy. Comp sci experts can be needed in insurance companies, financial institutions, schools, consulting firms, nonprofit organizations, and public service organizations, among others.
A bachelors degree in computer science is often a good entry-level degree for many positions in the field. Additional education, such as a masters in business administration, may help you secure more advanced roles in management or leadership.
Pros and Cons of a Computer Science Major
There are a number of pros and cons in obtaining a CS degree. You may want to consider the factors listed below.
|Positive job outlook: Several positions in the field are expected to experience growth over the next decade.||High-pressure environment: You may manage the security of information, networks, and systems for an entire business.|
|High annual salaries: Many positions in computer science offer lucrative annual salaries.||Highly technical: Positions require you to be technically inclined, good at mathematics, and an analytical thinker.|
|Diverse career options: There are many different types of positions available, allowing you to leverage different skill sets.||Demanding hours: A job may entail long workdays and weekends to fix unexpected issues or complete projects on a deadline.|
|Flexible hours: Employers may offer flexible work hours and the potential to work from home, or you could even be self-employed.||Cost: Tuition and other learning costs can add up for a 3 or 4 year bachelors degree program.|
|Demand across the economy: Computer science professionals can work in various sectors and industries.||Continuous learning is essential: Continuous learning and development is essential for computer science professionals.|
Depending on your interests, skills, and career goals, each pro and con may impact you differently.
What Is a Computer Science Major?
A computer science major is a course of study which covers a range of topics, including programming languages, mathematics, computer systems design, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data structures, among others.
Specific courses may include an introduction to computer science, designing functional programs, physics for scientists and engineers, calculus, web programming, and algorithm design.
Other course options may include an introduction to machine learning, social impact of computing, ethics in computer science, operating systems concepts, or network architecture protocols.
What Do Computer Scientists Do?
Computer scientists work with systems and applications using mathematical modeling, language programming, and thoughtful program design principles.
As a computer scientist, you may find yourself responsible for planning computer systems or applications and troubleshooting technical issues faced by businesses and end-users. You may also implement new technology to create greater efficiency within a business.
Developing algorithms, testing systems or applications, and developing innovative programming languages or methods may also fall within your job duties as a computer scientist.
Is Computer Science a Hard Major?
Computer science may be a difficult major if you’re not interested in working with computers or developing an in-depth understanding of how computer systems and applications work.
Completing a computer science major may require you to complete coursework in advanced mathematics, including algebra and calculus, and engineering physics. You will also work with complex programming languages.
If you enjoy utilizing advanced critical thinking and problem-solving skills and working with mathematics, physics, and coding, then earning your degree in computer science may come easier to you than others.
Should I Major in Computer Science?
If you thrive in conditions where you are required to solve problems and work with computers and technical systems, then a major in computer science may be a path for you to consider.
Technology is often the lifeblood of a business, so when issues happen, they often need to be fixed in a timely manner. This may require you to work on the fly and solve problems as they arise. It may also mean working unexpected hours, such as evenings or weekends, depending on your role and business needs.
A career path in computer science may be a good fit for you if you find a sense of enjoyment when working with complex technical systems, including software and hardware. This career path will allow you to solve problems and work with ambiguous situations that require you to use critical thinking skills.
Is Computer Science in Demand?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, several positions in the field of computer science are expected to experience growth through 2029.
These positions include computer and information systems managers (10%), database administrators (10%), computer systems analysts (7%), computer network architects (5%), and network and computer systems administrators (4%).
Notably, due to an increase in cyberattacks and the need for solutions to protect information and confidential data, the projected job growth for information security analysts is 31% for the next decade.
As a result of the use of smart technologies, including phones and tablets that require applications for users, an increase of 22% is predicted for software developer positions over the next several years.
What Is the Difference Between Computer Engineering vs. Computer Science?
There are several areas of computer science and computer engineering that overlap, and in many cases coursework in degree programs will have a number of similarities.
Where they differ is the extent to which computer engineering focuses on the development of hardware specifically. Computer science focuses more heavily on software development and the basics of how that software works with hardware. Computer engineering emphasizes the development of intricate hardware solutions.
Computer engineering can be parallelled to electrical engineering in that it focuses on the electrical components of computers and technological hardware.
What Is the Difference Between Computer Science vs. Information Technology?
Computer science is about planning, designing, creating, testing, and implementing computer systems and applications. Information technology, on the other hand, is more focused on how a business uses technology.
As part of that effort, information technology professionals may evaluate the use and effectiveness of the computer systems and applications that are developed by computer scientists in relation to business needs.
This could include having an understanding of available systems and applications and adding them to a business’s practices.
What Is the Difference Between Data Science vs. Computer Science?
Computer science focuses on computers and technology while data science focuses on data mining, big data, and machine learning. Data science is a field that attempts to gain understanding from structured and unstructured data. It can be useful in helping businesses make more informed decisions.
In some cases, data science may look at data related to computer science and information technology. For example, data may be analyzed to understand the frequency of issues reported by users with a certain application.
Data science reaches beyond computer science alone and may extend to projects relating to any type or form of data, such as healthcare, finance, or sales data.
Is a Computer Science Degree Worth It?
Yes, a computer science degree is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $88,240 and 11% job growth for computer and information technology occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a degree in computer science can help you launch a career in this in-demand field.
Common computer science careers include computer scientists, database administrators, information security analysts, software developers, and computer programmers. Within the field of computer science, there is potential for advancement in management and leadership, including the positions of IT director or chief technology officer.
Getting Your Computer Science Degree Online
Pursuing your degree in computer science may help you develop keen problem solving and critical thinking skills and allow you to work on complex projects on a regular basis.
As a computer science professional, you can work with computer systems and applications, exercise advanced mathematical skills, and continuously learn and improve your programming language skills.
A career in computer science offers the ability to work in a number of different sectors, ranging from nonprofit and government to private business. This field also offers lucrative salaries and potential for career growth
If you’re interested in pursuing a CS degree, then you may want to start exploring accredited online computer science programs.