For better or worse, computers have become as much a part of daily life as the electric light bulb. As with any advance in technology, there has been a surge in the number of people needed to work on or with computers. Individuals pursuing higher education have increasingly been turning toward fields that involve computers or technology in some way. Computer science, one of the majors many students have chosen, is, by its nature, continually at the forefront of new breakthroughs and ideas. It is an excellent career path for anyone looking to become involved in the technological field.
People who are considering the pursuit of a computer science major may be surprised to learn that, quite often, computer science is not about computers themselves at all. Computer science degrees teach individuals to use the technology at hand, and the ins and outs of that technology, to solve problems. Computer science is a very math-oriented degree, with most students taking courses on algorithms, data analysis and mathematical computing in their first year of study. Computer science majors spend many hours analyzing different forms of computer programming, and using that programming to solve problems or to create new technology.
Computer science majors often spend the majority of their day researching, and this is true of not only those still in the academic setting, but those in the job market as well. Computer scientists may use studies in artificial intelligence to improve the stock market, or they may design programs that help us better understand the world around us. One excellent example of a scientific breakthrough that came about as a result of computer science was the mapping of the Human Genome Project. The calculations needed to obtain a complete picture of the human genome were so advanced that humans would have had to spend years working on the mathematics, but by creating a new program out of familiar technology, computer scientists were able to aid in the discovery.
Computer science majors are increasingly being offered at colleges and universities in many locations. Computer science degrees range in intensity from associate’s degrees to post-graduate degrees, with most computer science programs requiring four years of study, resulting in a bachelor's of science degree. Some institutions offer computer science majors that are coupled with other majors, such as computer science and engineering, known as CSE, or computer science and information science, known as CIS. Most programs of this nature have similar required courses, but different career paths in mind for their students.