If you're planning to study and get a computer science degree, and want to build a career as a software developer and other IT white-collar jobs someday, you must have stopped and asked yourself, "Is computer science for me?" Because computer science is such an extensive field that it might be hard to keep up with. Career opportunities are plentiful even with an entry level computer science certificate.
Are you students who just graduated from high school? Or a college graduate wanted to pursue another career? You keep hearing that computer science is the future and that you need to get a computer science degree at all costs. But, do these premises hold any truth to them? And even if they do, does that guarantee that computer science is the right career for you?
So, to answer your question, I gathered all the information you need to know about computer science, so you can decide for yourself if that career is perfect for you and your skills or not.
Is a Computer Science Degree Right for Me?
In order to decide whether computer science is the right major for you or not, you need to analyze yourself and see what sparks your interest.
For example, if you like mathematics and technology, and you often wonder how far can technology and artificial intelligence go, getting a computer science degree program is definitely the way to go!
Additionally, computer science is a broad field that covers many topics, from web development, game development, and programming to automation, data analysis, and database management. And that's not even half of it! You won't believe how many career options you'll have if you decide to attend some of the best online schools for Computer Science, but we'll discuss that later on.
Here are some possible scenarios that might indicate whether computer science is the perfect degree for you.
If you're often trying to solve problems in a more advanced way or if you enjoy working with numbers and probability during your high school years, you're looking at the right field for you. Also, if you find yourself interested in how your computer works and you like exploring its software and what it can do, that's a huge sign that computer science is perfect for you.
What's more, you're on the right track towards the perfect career for you if you're interested in technology, software, computer, and information.
Skills Required for Computer Science Careers
Of course, the skills required for your career, in particular, depend on what kind of work you'll have to do. However, there are some common skills that anyone with a computer science-related career needs.
First and foremost, you must be a team player. Most software development tasks are team-based simply because there are many layers to each program, and each layer must be handled by professional people. For example, you can't ask a web developer to work on a mobile application; it's simply not their job.
On top of that, you need problem-solving skills like no other. When programming, you'll find yourself running into numerous bugs and errors that just seem like a dead-end; you need to have the skills (and the patience) to deal with them!
As cliché as it sounds, you need to have the ability to work under stress. Working with tight and sometimes unrealistic deadlines is a massive part of any computer science-related career. It would be best if you had the ability not to get overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do in very little time.
Further, you need to be a curious person who likes to explore and ask questions. Technology is a field that never stops evolving, and therefore, you'll never stop learning. You need to have enough passion and curiosity to keep you going in such a competitive field.
Technical skills-wise, you need to be familiar with different programming paradigms, including Imperative and declarative programming. Each paradigm has its own uses, applications, and even languages.
You'd also need the ability to learn and adapt to different programming languages and IDEs quickly. Additionally, you have to know the basics of data structures, algorithms, operating systems, and databases.
Lastly, to land your dream job in the IT world, you'll need to be able to show your skills. You have to be interview-sharp and confident in your skills to keep up with the interviewer's questions and expectations.
Career Options for Computer Science Majors
The career you decide to go for depends heavily on your skills and experience. At the end of the day, most universities teach roughly the same content; you'll have to develop your skills yourself to land the job you're seeking.
To give you a better idea of what careers might be appropriate for you as a computer science student, I'll walk you through the most sought-after career paths and their requirements.
Most computer science students tend to go for one of these jobs:
A Database Administrator is one career with a good salary. The database administrator needs to maintain databases in terms of data validation and security. You'll need an excellent understanding of SQL, designing physical and logical schemas, security, and crash recovery.
A software engineer is another career with great pay but with a challenging task. You'll be in charge of developing software programs from start to finish or evaluating and modifying existing ones. You'll need an outstanding grasp of computer science fundamentals like data structures and algorithms, as well as unmatched problem-solving skills.
Mobile development is a broad term that includes Android development and iOS development. You can also learn to use React Native framework that can be used to create applications for multiple operating systems, including Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Windows, and you can even use it for web development.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Engineer
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are two of the best and the fastest-growing computer science fields today. They encompass many different fields like mathematics, probability, statistics, and data analysis and manipulation, making that career path quite difficult. You'll also need to be familiar with Python in addition to the things I already mentioned.
Exploring Other Options
However, you're not limited to just one of those; you can take whichever road you want towards the career you want.
If none of these seems like the career you'd want to pursue right now, you just need to go for it. Computer science is a broad field from which you can venture off towards your dream job.
Is Computer Science Hard?
I'd be lying if I said a computer science degree is an easy major, but it's not necessarily "hard" either. Because computer science is an ever-growing field, it can be a little difficult to keep up with.
You need to cover many fields to dive into computer science, like mathematics, probability and statistics, database management, and overall understanding of computers and software. That might be the reason people think computer science is a challenging major.
As long as you're enjoying your education and the experience, computer science isn't at all that difficult.
Can I Teach Myself Computer Science?
To some extent, yes, but you need the proper roadmap. You can simply research the career you're most interested in and see what you need to learn. To be fair, it might not be the smoothest experience ever, but it's certainly doable. You might find yourself in a loop of wanting to learn more and more things that might serve you no purpose; always make sure you're on the right track towards your goal.
Most employers don't require a college degree to hire you; your experience speaks for you. So, just focus on working on your own projects and learning all the skills you need.
Computer Science vs. Information Technology
Many people tend to confuse between computer science and information technology, even though they're quite different.
To put it simply, the difference between computer science and information technology is that the computer science major creates the programs that the information technology major uses and maintains. So, IT majors don't need an in-depth understanding of computers as CS majors do.
Additionally, every enterprise or office needs its own IT team, so landing a job is a little easier. On the other hand, computer science majors work more in the tech industry. What's more, salaries-wise computer science careers tend to have a higher average of salaries than IT ones.
Now that you know everything about computer science, its careers, its skills, and the difference between CS and Information Technology, you're ready to make the final decision whether you'll get your computer science degree or not.
Keep in mind that computer science is quite a competitive field, and it'll require a lot of effort on your side to land your dream job. However, I wouldn't necessarily describe it as a 'hard' field; if you're interested in CS, it's one of the world's most enjoyable fields.