If you were to look up the term “computer science” in the dictionary, you’d find a variety of definitions. But, collectively, the definitions coalesce around the concept that computer science is “a branch of science that deals with the theory of computation or the design of computers.” That sounds like a mouthful, but computer science also a field that’s broader — and certainly more exciting — than it might initially sound.
From video games and new technologies to corporations like Facebook and Google, none of these could have been developed without computer science. It’s a field that’s ideal for problem solvers, for those who are constantly looking to learn new things, and for those who want to become changemakers in a rapidly evolving, technology-focused world.
A Diverse Array of Opportunities Within Computer Science
The computer science field includes a wide array of interesting and diverse occupations — from software developers to database administrators to web developers. In addition to the more traditional opportunities within the field, another expanding area is the world of artificial intelligence. This is the next big frontier for computer scientists who will be developing computers “that simulate learning and reasoning ability.” Cybersecurity is another rapidly developing area where computer science professionals are in great demand to protect businesses, government, and individuals from the growing threat of cybercrime.
Computer scientists can be found in many different working environments, including “academia, research, industry, government, private, and business organizations.” This variety provides significant flexibility when it comes to finding the right fit for where and how a person prefers to work.
“This Sounds Interesting, But Where Are the Jobs?”
“Are computer science jobs in demand?” The short answer to this question is “Absolutely.” According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the computer and information technology field is expected to grow by 13 percent from 2016-2026 — faster than the average growth rate of all occupations. By 2026, another 557,100 jobs are expected to be added within the field.
One key issue that is poised to create an even greater demand for highly-skilled IT professionals is an ever-growing digital skills gap.. According to the LinkedIn Talent Blog, research conducted by global organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry “predicts that by 2020, the technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) industries may be short more than 1.1 million skilled workers globally.” And, by 2030, this deficit could increase to 4.3 million.
This digital skills gap has a significant impact on organizations in every sector of the global economy. In research conducted by the Capgemini Digital Transformation Group (in collaboration with LinkedIn), one of the findings noted that “the challenge of the digital talent gap is no longer just an HR issue; it is an organization-wide phenomenon that affects all areas of the business.” Additionally, researchers found that “the talent gap in soft digital skills is more pronounced than in hard digital skills.” The research also found that the soft digital skills in greatest demand include “customer-centricity” and a “passion for learning,” while the hard digital skills needed the most are cybersecurity and cloud computing.
What does this mean for those who have an interest in pursuing a degree — particularly a master’s degree — in computer science? It means there is a wide open job market waiting for talented, highly skilled individuals who have the drive and knowledge to establish their careers in the growing digital economy.
Getting Started in Computer Science
Researching how to study computer science is the first step in pursuing a career in the field. National University offers a couple of options if you are considering pursuing an education that can help you enter or advance in this field. Depending on your prior academic and professional experience, you can either begin in the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program or in the Master of Science in Computer Science program. Since more opportunities — as well as higher salaries — are available with a master’s degree in the field, students often transition directly from the bachelor’s program into the master’s program.
Because National University offers an online master’s in computer science, individuals who are working either full- or part-time jobs can still earn their degree. Students take one class at a time, with each class running only four weeks. This allows for a deeper and more focused study of specific topics — which range from programming to database design to interface engineering. Additionally, students earning their online master’s in computer science enjoy the flexibility this type of program provides for choosing when and where they complete their coursework.
By teaching both hard and soft digital skills, National University is preparing computer science students to become leaders in today’s workforce — as well as in the workforce of tomorrow.
Interested in learning more about how you can earn your online Master of Science in Computer Science at National University — regardless of how busy your schedule is? Explore the possibilities on our program page. Our admission advisors can answer any questions you might have about the program and can guide you through the application process.