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How to become an elite computer scientist

The digital age is truly upon us, with computers now intrinsically linked to the human world. Communications systems, transportation, research, and entertainment technology are all driven by the digital revolution, with computer scientists at the heart of this shift. Labs around the world are chasing the newest innovations, and studying computer science is your chance to join the movement.

With the ever-growing importance of computer science and its research worldwide, the global demand for skilled computer scientists is skyrocketing, with salaries to match – the average wage for an entry-level computer science graduate in the UK is £25,000, well above the graduate average.

The great thing about graduating with a degree in computer science is that you can take it to any industry and any country in the world. Computers are now a necessity in science, engineering, health care, entertainment, sports, and more. Computer scientists are on hand to theorise, design and develop the software required for programmes we use every day

The College of Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan recognises the importance of preparing students for the digital age and the value of innovative thinking. The BSc Computer Science programme imbues a fundamental understanding and deployment of software systems, distributed systems, human-computer interaction, computational modelling, artificial intelligence, mobile computing, programming languages, image processing, and computer graphics.

Students are challenged to combine creative problem-solving and analytical skills to create their own practical software, applicable to real life issues and industries. The department is flexible in offering students a variety of courses in different subject areas, helping them identify the specialisms they are most interested in and setting them up for a career post-graduation.

The BA and SC Interactive Systems Design programme builds a foundation in all aspects of the design and development of interactive systems. Blending elements of art, art history, psychology and computer science, this degree instils critical expertise in principles of visual communication; critical approaches to visual systems; the fundamentals of human perception, memory, and cognition; and the principals of computation and programming needed to design, build and evaluate games and interactive systems.

Graduates of this programme are sought by several industry sectors, including web design; interface development; game design; usability testing; and front-end requirements analysis.

Applicants to computer science graduate programmes are also automatically considered and encouraged to apply for financial support. MSc students are normally funded at the rate of CA$20,000 per annum for at least two years, while PhD students generally receive CA$23,000 per annum for a minimum of three years. In addition to this, there are scholarships and awards available to eligible students, while the department also runs special programmes from China, Vietnam and Ecuador.

University of Saskatchewan

Career opportunities are abundant for graduates internationally, but also locally in the emerging tech hub that is Saskatoon. Mobile game developer Noodlecake, based in the city, recently revealed plans to extend its team, but noted that there is a current lack of talented software developers to choose from.

“Generally I get the sense that developers are needed, and lots of studios are hiring,” Arlin Schaffel, a University or Saskatchewan graduate who now works at Noodlecake, told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. “There’s a gap that has been forming and it’s troubling getting more senior developers.”

Those wishing to pursue a master’s degree would be ideally suited to becoming senior professionals in the technology industry or to those seeking a career in scientific research. Previous graduates of this programme have gone on to become senior programmers or project leaders at companies that develop commercial software of game design studios.

A different Saskatoon-based tech start-up also recently landed CA$13.3 million investment from US backers. 7Shifts, an app used by more than 10,000 restaurants to save time and money when scheduling employee shifts, has attracted interest from investors for the development of a technology that has revolutionised the restaurant sector.

7Shifts is not the only Saskatoon-based technology start-up to have attracted funding from investors in recent times. SkipTheDishes, Noodlecake Studios and Solido Design Automation have all secured investment, demonstrating Saskatoon’s presence as a hub for technological innovation. To compound this, the city recently submitted a proposal to the Canadian Smart City Challenge, for a chance to win CA$10 million to be used for implementing city-wide technology to solve economic, environmental and social challenges.

Your career in computer science begins here, at the University of Saskatchewan. To explore further or to apply, click here

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