scientists should be creative, inquisitive, analytical, and detail
oriented. They must have a strong grasp of mathematics, including
calculus, probability, and statistics, and computer systems. Preparation
in one or more of the sciences, such as, physics, chemistry, biology, is
also a requirement. Abilities to work as part of a team and to
communicate well also will be important as computer science jobs
frequently require interaction with specialists outside of computer
science or engineering. To hone these skills, recommended coursework
includes English, writing, social studies, and humanities.
Entry level positions in the field typically require a four year
bachelor's degree in computer science, information science, or
computer engineering. State-of-the-art high technology research and
development positions frequently require the M.S. or Ph.D. degree in
either computer science or computer engineering. Tenure track
professorial positions in a university require the Ph.D. degree.
Science vs. Computer Engineering vs. Information Science
Typically there is considerable overlap in the computer science and the
computer engineering degree programs. The major difference between the
two programs is that an engineering design component
is required in the accredited computer engineering degree program.
engineering programs reside in the
university's College of Engineering. The computer engineering degree
program resides in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering,
or the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, or it may be a
stand alone Department of Computer Engineering. In some cases, such as,
MIT and University of California at Berkeley, these degrees are offered
in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Information science degree programs are tailored to prepare students for
careers in the application of computers in business. Therefore these
degree programs typically reside in business colleges and are not
accredited by ABET. Although there are a few ABET accredited programs
offered in engineering colleges. In addition to computer science courses
in programming, computer organization and operation, computer networks,
databases, these degree programs require courses in business and
management, and fewer courses are required in mathematics and the
sciences than in computer science and engineering degree programs.
requirements for undergraduate computer science programs include a solid
background in mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and
calculus) and science (biology, chemistry, and physics), and courses in
English, social studies, humanities, and computer and information
technology. Bachelor's degree programs in computer science typically are
designed to last 4 years.
Internships and Coops
provide students with a great opportunity to gain real-world experience
while still in school. In addition, graduates can
enhance their employment opportunities by participating in internship or
co-op programs offered through their school. Click here for more
a typical four year 120 semester hour computer science degree program
students studying computer science will complete 40 semester hours of
study in computer science topics, along with at least 30 semester hours
of study in mathematics (discrete mathematics, differential and integral
calculus, and probability and statistics) and science topics, usually
including a lab experience. Students will study topics such as
algorithms, data structures, software design, concepts of programming
languages, and computer organization and architecture. In
addition, theoretical foundations, problem analysis, and solution design
will be presented within the program of study. Students will also be
exposed to a variety of programming languages and systems and should
become proficient in at least one higher-level language. Good
communication skills will be developed along with general studies in
humanities, social sciences, and the arts.
Technological advances come so rapidly in the computer field that
continuous study is necessary to keep one's skills up to date post
graduation. Employers, hardware and software vendors, colleges and
universities, and private training institutions offer continuing
education. Additional training may come from professional development
seminars offered by professional computing societies.
In the United States, Computer Science
programs are accredited by
ABET, Inc. Be sure to look for accredited programs, not just accredited universities.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.