Deciding what you want to do in life has always been tricky for many; while some people know what they want to do from a very young age, others often are not sure where they fit in with regards to career paths.
In a world of infinite opportunities, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, why stick to one career when something else might take your fancy a few months or years down the line?
As it takes years to study and train to qualify for any specific job, you have to be sure it’s right for you.
An area that could be the answer to any conflict in your mind is computer science, as it covers many industries, is constantly changing and offers a variety many industries lack.
Why computer science?
This isn’t surprising; it’s already been noted that technology is changing how we live, and is destined to change how we’ll work one day too. This is because the technology itself is accelerating at an alarming rate, after all, thirty years ago the world was a completely different place to what it is now, which is summed up by Ray Kurzweil when he said:
“Technology goes beyond mere tool making; it is a process of creating ever more powerful technology using the tools from the previous round of innovation.”
Because of this, many industries have gone, but many have grown, and the computer science industry is one of those, and because the digital age needs it more and more, training to be part of a core industry seems like the natural thing to do.
If you still need convincing, there are other reasons why you should consider the world of computer science as a career, such as:
- Prospects. As the industry continues to grow, so do the number of prospects. While you may worry that this isn’t necessarily true, it’s something that’s happening all over for university students. You only have to look at the graduate prospects column of a subject table to see that those studying computer science are likely to be employed, or in further study, within six months of graduation.
- Money. A huge perk of this industry is that the growth and demand have resulted in large salaries, even for graduates.
- It’s everywhere. As technology is so widespread now, all industries depend on it to function. Due to this, those trained in computer science can work in a wide variety of industries such as health, engineering, and science itself.
- Diverse. Computer scientists come from all over, which has resulted in it becoming recognized as one of the most culturally diverse sectors out there, both during your studies and afterward.
- Studying opportunities. Again, because this is something that’s required in almost all industries, it’s needed globally. Therefore, you’ll be provided with the opportunity to study aboard, helping you to see much more of the world than you may have, and could lead to job opportunities in places you’d never dreamed of.
If you need a little more convincing about this industry of work, you only have to look at a list of famous people that studied computer science, and the careers they went on to enjoy. These include internationally known figures such as Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Larry Page, as well as Liam Neeson and Jimmy Fallon.
However, as you can see, there are a lot of reasons, aside from the owners of worldwide known game-changing companies, as to why you should study in the field of computer science, but what exactly will you learn while studying?
What you’ll learn
As a vast and diverse industry, studying computer science can take four years, or more, if you want to continue your studies.
Across these years, you’ll learn a lot of different elements that help to create the industry as a whole. Therefore, some areas that you study could be more niche, depending on how your course works and where you’re looking to go on your chosen career path, but there are vital areas everyone will need to know.
Because of this, the following areas are ones you’ll be taught while studying.
- Programming. The bare bones of the industry and will make up the bulk of a lot of what you learn at first. An extremely valuable course, people have said that around 70% of the knowledge they gained came from these classes where they learned loops, class creation, creating interfaces, Boolean logic, polymorphism, struct creation, inheritance and much more.
- Structures in computer science. This ties in with Boolean logic and covers areas such as logic, methods of proof, combinatorics, graph theory, recursive definitions, and set operations.
- Data structures. Something that’s used all over a computer programming, data structures are the backbone for much of the code that has, and will, be written. This is because they help you to store data that can be used to write programs, and decide on the best way to store data for both time and space performance.
- Analysis of algorithms. You’ve probably heard of algorithms, especially if you read the news around constant social media updates. Therefore, this is an essential part of computer science but won’t impact entirely on a lot of industries. However, as they help to drive software, helping to keep them operating and relevant, it is essential to know some of the major algorithms that exist, what they do, and how they’re useful.
- Introduction to databases. From sharding and clustering concepts to SQL, these are the fundamental areas that you’ll initially be taught when learning about computer science.
- Software engineering. Here, you’ll be introduced to several concepts when it comes to engineering within the technology industry, while also being introduced to management methods, testing, usability, and accessibility concepts.
- Computer architecture and assembly language. Interesting and helpful, this element will explain exactly how a computer works. Details taught will inform you about how instructions are sent around the computer, how they’re processed, and about how to write codes that are needed here.
- Operating systems. From building a messaging program to learning how to open files and manipulate files through scripts, this will be a basic introduction to the world of operating systems and what they do.
- Introduction to computer networks. Covering all bases when it comes to computer networks and how they function, you’ll be taught about protocols such as DNS, POP3, IP, IMAP, SSH, HTTP, TCP, HTTPS, and FTP. By the time you’re done, you’ll know exactly what each of these is used for, how they’re implemented and know how they were created.
- Introduction to usability engineering. From apps to websites, you’ll learn how to build them and how to make them accessible, which in the world we live in is extremely important. The accessibility mentioned refers to making the software developed accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.
- Mobile and cloud software development. A newer area that’s beginning to be taught as the world of technology once again changes, this will teach you about the tech involved and offer guidance about areas such as mobile apps.
As you can see, there are a lot of different points to cover, and there will be more, alongside more training that can be done once entering the world of work – all depending on what you opt to do.
Finally, while the perks and growth of the industry have been explained, alongside the skills you’ll be taught, below, you’ll find a collection of jobs available to those with a degree in computer science.
- Computer and information research scientist
- Computer programmer
- Computer network architect
- Information security analyst
- Software developer
While this list may seem small, these roles cover a vast selection of jobs across a wide range of sectors, meaning the type of programming or developing you do will be completely different to what someone else is doing – despite having the same job title.
There is also a wide selection of jobs that aren’t mentioned here, which may be a bit more niche, but on the whole, these are the types of careers you could expect to move into.
An exciting and ever-evolving industry, the world of technology and computers is one that’s changed hugely in the last few years, let alone the last few decades, and is positioned to change even more in the years to come. If this is something that grabs your attention, and you’ve always wanted a career filled with excitement, change, and more options than could be listed above, maybe it’s the one for you.