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Here’s why you should get a master’s in computer science

The future looks bright for computer science graduates - here’s why. Source: Roslan Rahman/AFP

Should you get an advanced degree in computer science? Technological advances can only translate to constant changes to the expertise needed to thrive in the field. A master’s in computer science could be beneficial for you if you’re looking to sharpen your skills and open the door to more career opportunities.  

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in computer and information technology occupations will grow 11% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Computer science-related occupations are projected to add over half a million new jobs. “Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security,” it said. 

Computer science graduates can also earn more than the average worker. “The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was US$88,240 in May 2019, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of US$39,810,” said the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Prerequisites 

Depending on the programme, you don’t necessarily need a background in computer science to pursue an advanced degree in the field, but a strong aptitude for mathematics and logical reasoning would be useful. The University of Texas at Austin, for instance, requires applicants to have completed a bachelor’s degree in computer science and want to further their studies. “Admission to the programme is highly selective with a limited number of openings and many strong applicants each year,” said its website. The University College London, conversely, doesn’t require students to have a computer science or information technology to apply. It can take about a year to complete the programme.

Where can a master’s in computer science take you?

In terms of job opportunities, the boom in tech companies around the globe spells opportunities for individuals with advanced computer science degrees. Tech giants such as Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, Tencent, and ByteDance in the US and China need computer science talent. Other startups and corporations also require the expertise of computer science graduates. 

UCL notes that MSc Computer Science graduates go on to secure careers in a wide variety of organisations, including global IT consultancies, as IT analysts with City banks, or as IT specialists within manufacturing industries. The degree can also open up many different career paths, either to be employed by some of the world’s leading IT companies such as Accenture, Barclays Capital, and Credit Suisse, to starting their own companies or joining startups. Some may even choose to do their PhD to engage in research. Other jobs that you might qualify for with a master’s in computer science include software developer, computer systems analyst, and computer network architect, to name a few.