Computer Science Degree: Is it Worth It?The percentage of students taking computer science courses has increased over the past 20 years. More and more students are becoming interested in the STEM fields and the near-limitless opportunities computer science has to offer.
However, many question the necessity of acquiring an undergraduate or graduate degree in computer science in order to find a job in this field. Is getting a computer science degree worth it? What are the costs versus benefits? These are questions we aim to answer.
If you are interested in studying computer science, we’re covering some important factors to consider, including education costs, job prospects, and which programs are best suited to your professional goals.
What is Computer Science?
Computer Science (CS) falls under the umbrella of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and involves understanding the underlying principles of computer programming and algorithms. Computer scientists primarily focus on designing systems and software to meet the needs of businesses, organizations, and individuals.
Computer science also applies the principles of mathematics, engineering, and logic to create systems and tools that benefit our everyday lives. Software development, artificial intelligence, and algorithm formulation are emerging technologies that fall under computer science.
Why Study Computer Science?
Computer science is an ideal choice for those who enjoy math, technology, programming, and problem-solving. It’s a field that produces lucrative job opportunities, whether through employment under an existing organization or as an independent contractor.
You might want a degree in computer science if you:
- Love solving complex problems
- Enjoy working with computers
- Are interested in designing systems, networks, or software
- Are looking for a field that is challenging yet fulfilling
- Are searching for a field with endless job opportunities
- Want to make an investment in your future by entering a potentially lucrative field
Is it Worth It Getting an Undergraduate Degree in Computer Science?
Getting a degree in computer science may be challenging but is well worth the investment. This is due to the ever-growing demand for highly skilled computer science professionals across a range of industries.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer occupations are the fourth fastest growing occupational group and will add more than 531,000 jobs by 2024. An undergraduate degree in computer science could make your skills highly valuable and marketable, opening the door to new job opportunities.
We’ve also seen more minorities entering STEM fields and entering the CS workforce. Women in computer science and racial minorities in tech are leveling up their skills and taking a seat at the table in a historically male-dominated industry.
Is a Master's Degree in Computer Science Worth It?
A master’s degree in Computer Science will significantly widen your career potential and job prospects. In fact, many employers are preferring to hire applicants with a master’s degree over a bachelor’s degree.
A graduate degree is a great way to acquire additional skills that make you more marketable as a computer scientist. Also, consider that the average salary for a software engineer is $84,000 while the average salary for a software engineer with a master’s degree is $123,000.
Can I land a Computer Science Job with No Experience?
There are certainly entry-level positions that don’t require a computer science degree, but even these are available to CS graduates who already have an array of skills suited to the job. So, in order to be competitive, you will want to have some experience under your belt.
You should have had some exposure to programming and a basic understanding of software development and coding. These are skills that can be self-taught or learned through online courses, internships, or job shadowing.
Internships are a great way to gain valuable, hands-on experience. As an intern, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in your chosen field. You will be working alongside professionals, learning new skills, and honing your existing skills to help you land your dream job.
Don’t let lack of experience deter you from entering a career in computer science. What matters most is that you have a desire to learn and are willing to hone your skills over time.
Types of Computer Science Jobs
There are a variety of jobs available to those with a BS or MS degree in computer science. The most popular computer science careers include:
- Computer network architect
- Software developer
- Computer and information systems manager
- Computer and information research scientist
- Senior database administrator
- Cyber Security
- Senior web developer
- Teaching Computer Science
Specializations in Computer Science
What can you do with a computer science degree? Quite a lot! Whether you work under an existing organization or as an independent contractor, a degree in computer science allows you to tackle nearly any job related to computer programming, software development, and beyond.
Keep in mind that you can always specialize, acquire continuing education, or get advanced certifications to hone your skills. This will make you even more marketable and likely to hit a higher pay grade.
How Much Do Computer Science Jobs Pay?
The average base salary for a computer scientist in the United States is $126,830 per year in 2021. Salaries vary based on location, education, and experience level.
The highest paying careers in computer science are:
- Machine Learning Engineer: $150,035
- Computer Vision Engineer: $142,041
- Deep Learning Engineer: $133,778
- C++ Developer: $111,494
- Research Scientist: $107,745
Computer Science Career Outlook
Employment of computer scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029. This is much faster than the average for most other occupations.
With an increased demand for data collection technology, businesses have a growing need for data-mining specialists and information research scientists. Additionally, the field of cybersecurity presents ever-growing opportunities for computer scientists who are skilled in finding innovative ways to prevent cyberattacks.
How to Get a Job in Computer Science
A bachelor’s degree in computer science remains the industry standard for entering the field of computer science and can help you launch a financially rewarding career. Having a degree will help you appear more attractive to employers, as you have an established foundation in the skills they are looking for when hiring a computer scientist.
Earning an advanced degree in computer science is a great way to land an even better position and increase your earnings. So, it may be worth it to get your master’s in order to maximize your potential.
Applying for Computer Science Jobs
Once you have the proper education, training, or skills in place, you can begin applying for computer science jobs. Check job boards at your local college or university, or look into online job boards such as LinkedIn, Monster.com, or Indeed.com.
Here are some tips for applying to computer science jobs:
- Read job descriptions thoroughly and write your cover letter to match the requirements the company is looking for.
- Have a friend or advisor review your resume, checking for errors and providing tips on how to make it more appealing to hiring managers.
- Look into additional certifications to improve your skills and appeal to employers.
- Practice your job interviewing skills to master your interviews.
- Follow up with employers via email to keep your name top of mind and thank them for their consideration in interviewing you.
At University of Advancing Technology, we equip students with the education they need to enter the field of computer science with confidence. We also offer advising to help you land an internship or job in your chosen field. Alumni can also audit classes for free, as often and as long as they like, to keep skills current and knowledge cutting edge.
Earn a Degree in Computer Science at UAT
A degree in computer science could be a game-changer for your career. With the proper education and skills, you’ll be equipped to apply to computer science jobs and enter the field with confidence.
A degree in computer science, it is worth it if you want to maximize your earning potential and make your resume more attractive to employers. Having earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you can be confident that you have the skills to do the job and the attitude to work hard no matter what position you land.
If you believe a career in computer science may be right for you, request information about our Computer Science degree. At University of Advancing Technology, we’re passionate about helping students enter STEM fields and acquire the skills they need to land a lucrative and rewarding career in computer science.