Computer Science degrees are offered at hundreds, if not thousands of colleges across the country for a good reason; the demand for computer experts has never been higher. In fact, the need for computer scientists will continue to rise through at least 2015 according to the United State Department of Labor’s 2006 report on career growth.
What many people don’t realize is that part of the hiring increase of the future in the computer sciences area includes a trend toward more specialization. According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, “The explosive use of computers has created a high demand for specialists to provide advice to users, as well as for day-to-day administration, maintenance, and support of computer systems and networks.”
When considering a career in the computer sciences, you should consider colleges and universities that offer a variety of programs under the umbrella of either computer science degrees or information technology degrees, as the terms are interchangeable. Look to see if the school offers just one degree or if they offer several different specializations. Ideally, a school should offer at least three bachelor’s degrees that are more tightly focused, such as Computer Programming, Network Engineering or Database Administration, all of which would fall under Management Information Systems (MIS).
The Department of Labor’s report also recommends that anyone pursuing a computer science degree be sure to pursue ongoing education after a degree is achieved and a job is landed. Because of the rapidly changing face of computing, it’s essential that anyone working in this industry continue to build on his education by getting additional certifications and adding new skills every few years.
Find a college that also offers ongoing certifications that are licensed by leaders in the industry, such as Microsoft’s various programs, Cisco’s CCNA and Net+. Knowing that you can return to your alma mater for continuing education is a great way to ensure that your certification courses will be of the same high caliber as your undergraduate classes.
Outlook is Good for Properly Trained Specialists
The Occupational Outlook Handbook of 2006 is adamant in its belief that there is no end in sight to the increasing need for computer specialists. It lists numerous specific titles that require intense training in particular areas, including:
Computer Systems Analysts
Software Engineers/Developers (consistently growing as businesses continue to require new, highly specialized software to suit their needs)
Computer Support Specialists
Data Communication Analysts/Webmasters (increasingly popular in retail as more businesses open online, virtual storefronts)
Computer Systems Administrators (expected to be one of the fastest growing careers in the next five years)
Cyber Security (a relatively new field that has taken off like a rocket as online terrorism and corporate espionage has increasingly threatened corporate computer systems)
The best computer science degree programs will not only include a wide range of specializations, but will also offer different types of degrees as well. Ideally, a college should offer Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees along with various types of certification. This will help guarantee that the teaching staff is current on all the latest advancements and also giving you the most educational options. With computer training being in such high demand, you may even find that you can get a great job with one degree and get reimbursement through your employer to pursue a higher-level degree.
With so many reasons to go into the computer sciences and so many highly specialized career options available, pursuing one of the many specialized computer science degrees now offered is a great investment in your future.