Computer Science: A degree in the digital age
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Computer Science: A degree in the digital age

Computer Science: A degree in the digital age

From a unique specialty to an absolute necessity, digitization has made computer science an integral part of contemporary higher education. You may not be what some call ‘tech-savvy’, but as the computer continues to infiltrate every aspect of our lives – from personal, to family, even to work and business – our everyday lives now thoroughly depend on developments in technology.

In general terms, computer science is the study of computer technology, particularly hardware and software if we’re going to get more specific. It’s a broad and influential field with several core areas in computer theory, hardware systems, software systems, and scientific computing. From these crucial disciplines, students can later choose to specialize  in a concentrated subject of choice.

A significant advantage of computer science education is future potential to work in virtually any industry. Every modern business relies heavily on technology, and as the computerized world continues to advance, the need for qualified graduates in the field of computer science continues to increase.

According to a report from Network World, graduates are receiving high starting salaries and multiple employment offers due to a growing demand for those in the field of computer science. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) estimates the average graduate starting salary in this particular discipline to be US$61,321 a year, second only to engineering graduates.

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Image courtesy of the University of Memphis

In the U.S. alone, 500,000 computing jobs are made available every year, ranging virtually every sector from manufacturing through to banking. But with only 50,000 computer science graduates hitting the annual recruitment market, prospects are certainly bright for potential computer science students. It’s also great news for women wondering whether or not they should pursue a degree in a field that’s dominated by men…

In an interview with Business Insider, Mary Barra, current CEO of General Motors, mentioned the need to close the gender gap in computer science, seeking to do so by equipping girls from Grades 6 through 12 with skills that will allow them to pursue computer-science degrees later on in life.

“…You have to reach these girls in junior high so that they take the right curriculum in high school to then be strong candidates for getting computing degrees,” says Mary. “So, it really is a business based decision of needing more software engineers and also because we are committed to diversity [sic].”

If you’re interests fall in the realm of computer science, there’s never been a better time to pursue a degree in the field. To help you with the decision-making process, we’ve selected 6 leading universities that are equipping students with the skills needed to succeed in professional computing careers…

DEPARTMENT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS – USA

The University of Memphis fosters a culture that puts students first. The department hosts a reputed catalogue of computing-focused course, including B.S. Computer Science, the Accelerated B.S/M. S Program, M.S Computer Science, M.S Bioinformatics, the Ph.D. in Computer Science, the Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security and Information Assurance, and the Graduate Certificate in Data Science. Students pursuing a Memphis degree work with top-notch faculty who are committed to cutting-edge teaching and research, and also benefit from a range of internship opportunities which they may pursue for extra academic credit.

Each class boasts a small student-to-faculty ratio, promising each student accessible and personalized attention. As one of the University’s most active campus research departments, Memphis works on national research initiatives like the MD2K Center of Excellence with Cornell, Georgia Tech, University of Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, and many more. Besides that, the department has interdisciplinary institutes and centers, like the Center for Information Assurance – which stands as the nation’s designated Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and Research (CAE-CDE, CAE-R) by the NSA/DHS, as well as the Institute for Intelligent Systems, and the Systems Testing Excellence Program.

DEPARTMENT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY – USA

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Image courtesy of Hofstra University

At Hofstra University, students build a strong foundation in core areas of computer science, including programming and application development, networking, security, operating systems and algorithms. In addition to a technical education, students can diversify their degree by joining one of the two innovative programs in entrepreneurship where you’ll be mentored by local entrepreneurs, identify business opportunities, and implement a prototype of a unique idea.

To keep programs relevant, the department constantly expands the list of elective courses, which already includes mobile and web application, as well as embedded systems and security. The department offers several undergraduate programs with the option to pursue additional majors and minors, and a Masters in Computer Science. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to work on a year-long senior design project.

DEPARTMENT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI – FINLAND

Known as one of Europe’s elite universities, Finland’s oldest and largest multidisciplinary institution is one of 20 members in the League of European Research Universities (LERU) for its high-quality teaching within an internationally-competitive research environment. Located in Kumpula Science campus, the Department of Computer Science offers a BSc in Computer Science in Finnish which can be completed in three years.

But for non-Finnish speakers, the School also offers several postgraduate degrees in English, like the Master’s in Computer Science, Life Science Informatics, Data Science, and Theoretical and Computational Methods. Students who want to advance their studies further can also pursue a PhD in Computer Science. For those interested in the research aspects of education, you’ll be pleased to know that Helsinki is famous for research excellence, and are currently works on three ground-breaking projects at the Algorithmic Data Analysis Centre-of-Excellence (Algodan), the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT and Networking in Open Distributed Environments (NODES).

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Image courtesy of the University of Helsinki

DEPARTMENT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF SAPIENZA – ITALY

Established in 1303, the oldest university in Rome offers several degrees taught in Italian, but you shouldn’t write this institution off if you’re not familiar with the language. The School also provides postgraduate degrees in English specifically Master’s and PhD in Computer Science.

Students can choose from one of four areas which are information science and applications, multimedia computing and interaction, networks and security and software engineering. Apart from lectures, students get to work on innovative R&D research projects, and merit-based scholarships are offered to graduate students who collaborate with the Department Research Labs.

SCHOOL OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM – UK

Ranked as one of the top departments for two years in a row, the School of Computer Science offers a friendly, modern and supportive teaching and learning environment for its students. From specialist modules to undergraduate project work based on world-class research, there is something that would appeal to each student.

With an increasingly competitive job market, staff regularly review what’s being taught and how it is presented to students. The School offers several undergraduate degrees in the following areas: Computer Science, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, and Data Science. Besides classroom learning, the School ensures you’re ready for the working world by providing projects to develop your creativity, innovation and teamwork skills. Previous graduates have gone on to work for tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Adobe and IBM.

SCHOOL OF ELECTRONICS, ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING AND COMPUTER SCIENCE, QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST – UK

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Image courtesy of Queen’s University Belfast

With several major software companies being based in Ireland, students pursuing a degree in computer science at the Queen’s University of Belfast benefit from proactive engagement with the industry, placement opportunities and bright employment prospects. The institution, which forms part of the Russell Group, has plenty of strong links with a wide range of industries, as well as an academic curriculum that’s heavily informed by industry representatives who sit on an advisory board within the world-class school.

Taking everything into account, it should come as no surprise that the computer science graduates from Queen’s are in high demand, with more than 80 percent finding meaningful employment just after six months of finishing university. The School is also equipped with fantastic facilities that include laboratories for Microelectronics, Circuits, Virtual Reality, and Software Engineering.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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