A computer science degree for a sustainable future
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A computer science degree for a sustainable future

A computer science degree for a sustainable future

What skills do companies need most from computer science graduates in 2019?

In a world of many urgent crises and immense opportunities, how can computer scientists contribute? We are at the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where the physical, digital and biological worlds will merge in unprecedented forms and scale. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2030, up to 375 million people could be displaced by automation. At the same time, new jobs would be created, possibly surpassing the number displaced.

With the climate crisis and other demographic changes like ageing societies, it’s never been more important for humanity to forge a sustainable future. Under the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, countries have until 2030 to work towards addressing the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.

In Sweden, one university is teaching a computer science Master’s to make this sustainable future a reality: Malmö University.

Merging advanced computer science knowledge with skills in innovation and business is the Master’s degree in Computer Science: Innovation for Change in a Digital Society. Provided by the Faculty of Technology and Society in the Department of Computer Science and Media Technology, the programme is open to those with a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent (at least 180 credits) in computer science or a related subject area; at least 15 credits in programming, system development or the equivalent; and the equivalent of English 6 at Swedish upper secondary level.

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Andreas Jacobsson, Malmö University

It’s a Master’s with versatility, earning potential and high demand. But what makes it stand out from other courses of the same ilk is how it equips students to not just survive, but thrive in the rapid change of digitalisation.

What organisations are looking for today are people with technical prowess as well as business and managerial skills. This two-year Master’s aims to train students for this exact purpose.

According to LinkedIn’s rankings of skills companies need most in 2019, the top five hard skills companies need today are Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Analytical Reasoning, People Management and UX Design. With the rise of AI, soft skills are increasingly important too. LinkedIn data reveal the top five soft skills companies need are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management.

The four semesters of this Master’s will train students in all these skills and more.

The programme includes theories and practice within software technologies, innovation, entrepreneurship and digitalisation. Pedagogy is based on an overall challenge-based approach. After a first semester covering foundations, students start working on real-world cases from client organisations as well as their own entrepreneurial projects. This includes practical courses and opportunities for applying different theories. They can then specialise through elective courses offered in the third semester before progressing to their master’s thesis, which will be the focus on the fourth semester.

Its specific focus on organisational theory, change and sustainability management, sustainability, and ethics will set its graduates apart.

As CEO of Acculate, a technology start-up focused on Internet-of-Things analytics, Werner Krebs said: “Societies will die if they don’t continue to innovate.

“We need bright and ethical people to understand our best and most powerful technologies to ensure they are used for good.”

Become a digital change agent

Located in Sweden’s up and coming start-up hub and a country with top-tier rankings in last year’s Global Innovation Index (GDI), it’s hard to find a better environment to hone one’s innovative streak.

The same is true inside Malmö University’s campus. At the Department of Computer Science and Media Technology, the research environment includes the Internet of Things and People Research Centre, the Software Centre, and the new Data Society Research Programme: Advancing Digitalisation Studies.

Sweden is the home of talent that made possible the huge successes of start-ups like Spotify, Minecraft and Candy Crush Saga, who got their start there.

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Andreas Jacobsson, Malmö University

The Department of Computer Science and Media Technology is in no shortage of computer science talent too. Master students here will be taught by experts in software engineering, business and innovation, digital innovation, research methods and design. The programme involves senior researchers, involved primarily as teachers during the first year and as supervisors during the second year.

Opportunities to interact and collaborate with external partners and client organisations via thesis projects and internships are embedded into this postgraduate degree as well.

With this comprehensively designed Master’s, graduates will be primed to continue to PhD-level studies or join a diverse range of industries and lead their rapid digital transformation. As digital change agents, they will be the innovative leaders the industry and world needs to create a sustainable world for tomorrow.

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