Friday, 5 August 2011

Different Emphases With Computer Science Degrees

If you think you can be the Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates of tomorrow, if the feats of people like Steve Jobs are what your dreams are made of, or if technology lights the kind of fire in your belly that few other things in life can, then you should probably consider enrolling in a computer science degree program.

The degree, which saw some lows in popularity in the post-dot-com-bust era, has made a rather dramatic comeback on the popularity charts.

According to a study on information technology degrees and enrollment trends conducted by the Computing Research Association, total enrollment among U.S. computer science undergraduates increased 10 percent in 2009-10*. And that's not all. This was the third straight year that an increase in enrollments in computer science degree programs was registered.

Career Prospects with Computer Science Degrees

There are many reasons why CS and other information technology degrees are currently riding high on the popularity charts.

The pursuit of the potential money that a computer science degree can bring is perhaps among the top-ranking reasons for the continued appeal of CS programs. The degree has been ranked as one of the top-paying majors by, with a starting median pay of $56,600 per year, depending on education, experience, and location**.

In addition to the possibility of a great salary, a sort of prestige has become attached to technology jobs. The intelligence that you need for these jobs used to be considered nerdy, but is now a cool thing to have. The term geek, which until now was a jibe, now denotes respect.

But admiration and bank balance are not all that you could enjoy once you join the ranks of information technology professionals. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, most jobs that can be secured with a computer science degree are projected to grow at a healthy pace, which means that employment opportunities are likely to be abundant in this field.

Computer Science Degrees: Choices Galore

Now that you have decided that CS is for you, you can choose from a variety of emphasis areas within the computer science bachelor's degree, depending on the career path you intend to follow.

To begin with, let's take the example of programming. For those who are interested in writing code, a computer science degree program with an emphasis in programming makes much more sense than a general CS degree. A programmer's main job is to write new code and to fix, modify, and expand existing code. A computer programming degree can provide a graduate interested in pursuing a position as a programmer the ideal platform on which to build their career.

Network administration is another information technology career. Network administrators design, install, and support an organization's computer systems. A computer science degree with an emphasis in networking is well-equipped to help graduates develop the proficiencies needed for this job, as well as prepare them for professional certifications in the field.

Because the cyber world is vulnerable to vicious attacks, computer security is key for protecting sensitive and important business information. Information systems security is the information technology field that involves planning, coordinating, and maintaining an organization's information security to prevent these kinds of vicious attacks.

Those who plan to work in this particular field will probably benefit more from what a computer science degree with a focus in information systems security has to teach them, rather than a broad CS program.

These are just a few choices in emphasis areas that aspirants to an information technology degrees have. There are even more exciting options, such as social media technology, computer graphics, game design, computer architecture, and more worth exploring, if you're interested in starting an information technology career.

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