How Computer Science Courses Can Help Your Career

Experts believe computing can expand career opportunities.

Photo: ThinkStock

By Jeff Bellinghausen

As students prepare to begin their college degree and choose courses or majors, some may be worried about the career prospects they’ll face upon graduation. With many industries laying off employees, being forced to cut budgets and experiencing other economic hardships, it can be difficult for students to predict which majors will set them on the right path for finding careers after they graduate.

If you’re exploring college majors or choosing courses to take to help you in your career, you may want to consider incorporating Computer Science into your studies.

If you’re exploring college majors or choosing courses to take to help you in your career, you may want to consider incorporating Computer Science into your studies. Experts predict that computing skills can be of value in a variety of careers, and that hybrid careers that combine computing with other areas of study can be the key to a successful start to your career.

In what ways do analysts predict that a college degree that involves computer science skills will help students in their careers? A recent article in The New York Times points out that computing is increasingly touching our lives in a number of areas, from science and various industries to our culture and how we interact as a society. The prevalence of technology means that computer science skills will become increasingly important in areas outside the sciences.

At the core of this drive to get students to understand computer science is the belief in the value of “computational thinking,” which the New York Times article defines as “reformulating a seemingly difficult problem into something a person can know how to solve.” Experts believe this type of thinking will be of great value to students in a number of careers and that students should learn this skill to be prepared to enter the job market.

An understanding of computational thinking and computer science can prepare students for current jobs and new careers that will arise as a result of ongoing changes in our economy. Robert Reich, a professor at University of California-Berkeley, is quoted in the article as saying that many of the new jobs that are arising will be influenced by technology. He states, “Most of them will not be pure technology jobs, designing computer software and hardware products, but they will involve applying computing and technology-influenced skills to every industry.”

And how are students being encouraged to learn more about computer science? The article states that educators and technologists are focusing on two core areas: changing the nerdy image of computing work and expanding computer science education in schools. Backing these advancements are teacher groups, science foundations and technology companies including Google and Microsoft.

The Obama administration is also encouraging students in this area. As part of the Educate to Innovate Campaign, which was created to improve US education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the administration hopes to increase STEM literacy for all students, not just those majoring in those subjects, to expand STEM education and career opportunities and to improve America’s international standing in science and math education.

President Obama stated in a recent speech that educating students in these areas was important in helping the US become better equipped to handle the issues we are currently facing, from the economy and health care to our role in the global marketplace. A central part of our success, according to the President, will be preserving and expanding the US role as “the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation.” The President stated that in order to do that, the US needs to focus on “how we educate our students today, especially in those fields that hold the promise of producing future innovations and innovators.

Whether your career goals lie in health care, business or the arts, learning more about computer science can provide you with valuable skills that will help you in your chosen career path and keep you marketable in today’s increasingly challenging job market.

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