In December 2009, the National Science Foundation (NSF) held the Computer Science Education Week, designated by the US House of Representatives “..in recognition of the transformative role of computing and necessity of rigorous computer science education at all levels.”The said event emphasized on the need to include more computer science courses for secondary level students, citing the foreseen demand for information technologists in the next several years; and that, while several of the employment opportunities will not require full degrees, “..all of them require a solid background in computer science.” (NSF, 2009).
Advancement in the computing science field will most definitely be heightened by seeking higher and continuing education. In fact, the popularity of computer science, along with other related programs, saw an increase in the last year throughout several colleges (Markoff, 2009); making it one of the most sought-after college majors in the US. Generally defined, this field of study involves the examination of computing theories and their applications. Computer science majors delve into how computers operate, various programming languages, algorithms, operating systems, understanding the internet, website development, information systems, and many others.
Basic requirements for a computer science degree include at least 120 credit hours worth of various courses which include applied mathematics, natural and physical sciences, humanities, social science, and technical writing. Computer science students are prepared to be experts in the application of mathematical and computing principles in developing and implementing computer-based systems and software as well as conduct effective research on computing and other affiliated disciplines. The Association for Computing Machinery indicates several career options for computer science graduates, a few of which are:
* Software design and implementation
* Computer technology application
* Management of IT infrastructures for organizations
Other career options include network administration, website and web graphics design and development, and computing research. The average salaries for computer science and computer engineering graduates, ranked among the top-earning degrees in the country, are both pegged at USD 61,000 (Pepitone, 2009). Combining a computer science degree with other fields of study such as biology, engineering, psychology, forensics, journalism, advertising, business administration, and several other courses should make way for even more lucrative careers.
Attending any college will surely require huge costs and going for a Computer Science degree is no exception. There are, however, financial aid options available. The amount of scholarships and grants vary with each college and are awarded to qualified students. Application for federal student aid begins with accomplishing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form which is available online. A number of top corporations also offer undergraduate scholarships as well as future employment opportunities in their respective fields. For those seeking acceptance into graduate schools, rendering hours as research or teaching assistants may help supplement tuition costs. In recognizing the statistical decline of women in the field of computer science, the committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) also lists fellowships for women who wish to further their computer science education .
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