What Can You Do With a Computer Science Degree?


Last updated January 24, 2024

Today, over 94% of households in the United States have at least one computer at home, a percentage that  grows yearly. Because of the prevalence of computers (in both desktop and handheld form), reliance on computer, technology and hardware experts continues to increase.

More than ever, a need for people with knowledge of how computers work, how to fix computers and how to improve and create new technology exists in all industries. Computer science majors have abundant opportunities after graduation, from healthcare to business, government to education.

Read on to learn precisely what you can do with a computer science degree across these industries and what you can expect from studying computer science during your post-secondary education.

What is computer science?

Computer science is the study of computers and computational systems, including information, automation, software and operating systems. With modern society’s reliance on technology, computer science is firmly woven into our daily lives from the time we wake up in the morning and turn our alarms off, to using our GPS to get to work, to the video conference at work and even when you get home at the end of the day to find your favorite TV show to stream.

Despite its name, computer science is not limited to the study of desktop computers or mobile phone apps. Increasingly popular is the study and innovation of artificial intelligence (AI). As AI has risen in popularity in recent years, the need for computer science experts specializing in AI – both the creation of and the ethics of – is immense and growing daily. It’s estimated that between 2023 and 2030, AI will see an annual growth rate of 37.3%, meaning job opportunities in this area will be plentiful.

What can you do with a computer science degree?

With a computer science degree, you can explore various technological fields such as software engineering, data analysis, cybersecurity and web development. These career opportunities are available in almost every industry: healthcare, business, government, non-profit, education, finance and more.

Not only do computer science majors have abundant career opportunities in the digital age, but they also have the opportunity to impact daily life. Whether finding meaningful work in healthcare technology that saves lives or using critical cybersecurity technology to apprehend criminals, you can have a serious positive impact on society with a computer science degree.

Software Development

One of the most popular computer science career paths is software development. In this field, expect to have a variety of pathways to explore, including app development, web development, and even video game development.

Application development, a popular modern aspect of software development, is responsible for creating and updating apps for smartphones, tablets and computers. Sometimes video game development falls into this field, too.

On the other hand, web development is responsible for designing and maintaining websites for individuals and businesses. Beyond the aesthetic design, web development manages the user experience and integrity of how a website and its pages work together.

Data Science and Analysis

Computer science majors are often highly skilled in analyzing and visualizing large data sets. Big data, or data that contains a large variety arriving in increasing volumes and with more velocity, is a proponent of modern technology created by the increasingly innovative way technology collects information. Thus, data scientists who can analyze massive datasets are extremely valuable to employers.

Similarly, data visualization is a helpful skill set. Data visualization involves creating visually appealing representations of data for easy understanding. Especially important in the business and research world, data visualization consists of interpreting and comprehending data and formatting it in an easy-to-comprehend way.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is the act of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use. Two popular fields fall into the cybersecurity industry: network security and ethical hacking.

Network security is the securing of computer networks from cyber threats. Because cyber threats are an increasingly popular way to attack businesses and governments, the importance of having protection in place is imperative for companies who own valuable or sensitive information on their consumers.

On the other hand, ethical hackers exist to identify system vulnerabilities to create more secure systems. For computer science majors who are especially adept in hacking, this is an excellent opportunity to (legally) use their hacking skills to help the greater good.

How hard is a computer science degree?

A computer science degree can be a challenging course of study. However, many students are quick to learn the aspects of the degree due to their lifelong experience using technology. As with any degree program, computer science has its challenging courses and areas of study, though many who choose to study computer science are adept with the topics.

Those especially talented in problem-solving will find computer science a challenging yet satisfying area of study. It stretches critical thinking skills as you learn to code, design algorithms and hack systems. Though in a supportive environment, such as the Furman’s Department of Computer Science, students can access dozens of resources such as computer labs, teaching assistance and study communities.

Is computer science a good-paying major?

Computer science majors are in high demand due to society’s rapidly evolving technology industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology occupations are expected to grow faster than the average job growth among all occupations between 2021 and 2031.

Due to the high demand, many roles within computer science offer highly competitive salaries and come with a high potential for career growth. In 2021, the average entry-level salary for a software developer was $109,020 and a computer network architect earned a $120,520 entry-level salary on average.

How long does it take to get a computer science degree?

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree in computer science typically takes around four years of full-time study. At Furman, you can pursue a B.A. and a B.S. in computer science and information technology. Both major programs include standard courses such as programming, data mining, algorithms, artificial intelligence and computer architecture. A bachelor’s degree in computer science will give you a well-rounded education to advance your career in technology.

Master’s Degree and Beyond

If you plan to continue your studies in a master’s or doctoral program, expect to take on an additional one to two years for a master’s degree and another three to five years for doctoral studies. Continuing your education in computer science can help you earn more money but also understand computer science on a deeper level, especially if you enjoy the research aspect of the degree program.

Did you know?

At Furman University, students can choose between a B.A. and a B.S. in computer science or information technology, allowing them to personalize their education and experience in the degree program. For more information regarding Furman’s computer science program, reach out and connect with us!

Studying computer science is a rewarding pursuit

The answer to “what can you do with a computer science degree?” will continue to change as technology evolves quickly into the future. However, we know there are abundant opportunities in various fields.

Studying computer science can be challenging due to technology’s ever-evolving landscape, but those who love solving problems will find their courses rewarding. Similarly, those who graduate and work in computer science have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on technology and daily life – a rewarding experience in itself.

Students can study in a typical four-year bachelor’s degree program or choose to further their studies in a master’s or Ph.D. program for up to seven more years of education. Despite its challenging coursework, assignments are exciting and rewarding, offering boundless possibilities to gather experiences to take with them into successful futures in the workforce.

Why study computer science at Furman?

Furman’s well-established Department of Computer Science has an experienced, dedicated faculty, state-of-the-art equipment and facilities and access to valuable internship and research opportunities for its students. NASA and Apple Computer support some of the opportunities, offering real-world experience. In fact, 75% of Furman’s computer science graduates go on to full-time employment, while 21% choose to continue their education.

The views and opinions expressed in the Furman Blog are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Furman University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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