Computer Science: A Growing Industry with Many Career Choices

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Despite the sometimes tedious workload and fast-paced changes, Computer Science is a major that can lead to lucrative career choices, great flexibility, and the ability to work with other disciplines and other industries. This paper will discuss the pros and cons of choosing computer networking as a career choice.

HISTORY OF COMPUTER SCIENCE

Computer science is interdisciplinary requiring knowledge in math, science, and physics. According to Princeton University, “Computer science is the systematic study of information and our interaction with it” (“Computer Science”). Developing different ways of storing, processing, representing data, and being adept at computer forensics is the purpose of computer science.

Computer science as a college major is a relatively new discipline. Columbia University teamed up with International Business Machines (IBM) in the 1930s. Columbia “offered the first academic-credit courses in computing in 1946” (Wood). After the 1940s computer science programs and departments began to spring up at prestigious learning institutions. For example, “IBM worked with Howard Aiken, a professor at Harvard University, to design and build the first running programmable computer, the Harvard Mark I, which was installed at the university in 1944” (Wood). Computer science, as a major, took off in the 1960s and has expanded ever since.

The computer science major has gone in and out of popularity. According to IBM historians, “[S]ince the financial crisis of 2008, computer science has re-gained popularity. The excitement these days is about interdisciplinary programs combining computer science with biology, medicine and business” (Wood). Because computer science is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, computer science majors now have more career options available to them. These changes in the computer science field have made computer science a much more attractive area of study.

PROS OF A COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJOR

The interdisciplinary and career choices available to computer science majors are growing every day. Computer science majors have the opportunity to work as Database Administrators, Software Developers or Architect, and/or a Computer Networker. CNN Money published a report in 2009 and 2012, which ranked Software Developers as one of the Best Jobs in America (CNN). Despite the move of many computer science jobs overseas, labor experts are still ranking jobs within the computer science field at the top.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) produced a report projecting growth in the computer science field. The BLS projected that by 2020 the demand for IT Managers would increase by 18%, Database Administrators by 31%, Analysts by 22% and Software Support by 30% (Thibodeau). These projections are good news given that computer science is on the rise again. The BLS attributes this growth to the healthcare industry, IT security, and cloud computing (Thibodeau). The potential for growth and obtaining a job after graduation is high for computer science majors, making it a profitable choice.

Computer networking, in particular, is an advantageous career choice within the computer science field. “In 2010, there were 347,200 network and computer systems administrators employed in the U.S., earning a median wage of $69,160. Employment in these occupations is expected to grow 28%, or 96,600 jobs, by 2020” (Thibodeau). Computer networking is a lucrative and stable choice within the computer science field.

Computer networkers manage the sharing of information between two or more computers that are connected. This connection between computers is what is called a computer network. Computer networkers are responsible for the hardware and the software that allow the connections between computers to take place.

Computer networkers, unlike other career choices within the computer science field, are able to interact with customers and clients. Businesses often hire computer networkers to be a part of their full-time personnel. Computer networkers maintain the business’s network and are often responsible for helping with everyday computer maintenance. They interact with people, as opposed to being stuck at their desks.

Additionally, computer networkers are sometimes required to travel. There are companies that do contract work and employ networkers to travel and layout the actual network cables that link computers together. Computer networkers have the opportunity to work in different types of environments, from hospitals and large corporate towers to small office buildings.

Last, the opportunity to work with people in other disciplines and industries is another advantage of computer networking as all industries now require computer networks. “[I]f you’re an architect now, you’re in computing. Physicians are in computing. Businesspeople are certainly in computing. In a way, we’re all in computing; that’s just inevitable” (Turkle). Computer networking allows one to directly interact with others in unrelated fields without having to learn an entirely new discipline.

Of the career choices available to computer science majors, computer networking has the most advantages. It requires interaction with clients and people, it allows for travel, and it promotes interaction with other industries and fields.

CONS OF A COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJOR

Although there are many pros to being a computer science major, particularly a computer networker, it is not without tedium. For example, computer networkers are required to lay thousands of feet of cable, which can sometimes turn into miles of cable. Laying thousands of feet of cable requires crawling into walls, ceilings, and other cramped and filthy spaces.

In addition to crawling in small and potentially disgusting spaces, computer networkers also have to stay abreast of technological changes. The world went from dial-up, to DSL, then cable in a very short amount of time. Who knows where the future will lead? While it is advantageous to be in a field that is growing and changing, those advantages also require keeping up with advances that keep networkers in demand.

Graduates also face the risk that the skills they have learned will be obsolete after graduation. New developments may happen faster than a collegiate program can adapt. As a result of the rapid pace of changes, computer science requires a great deal of self-study in order to stay on top of new developments.

CONCLUSION

Networkers are able to interact with people, travel, and work with other disciplines and industries. The pros of being a computer networker outweigh any of the cons.

Works Cited

CNN. "Software Architect ." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 2 Mar. 2014. <http://money.cnn.com/pf/best-jobs/2012/snapshots/3.html>.

"Computer Science." Princeton University. Trustees of Princeton University © 2014, 31 Oct. 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <http://www.princeton.edu/majorchoices/departments/computer-science/>.

Thibodeau, Patrick. "IT Jobs Will Grow 22% Through 2020, Says U.S.." CIO. N.p., 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 2 Mar. 2014. <http://www.cio.com/article/703141/IT_Jobs_Will_Grow_22_Through_2020_Says_U.S.>.

Turkle, Sherry , and Diane L. Coutu. "Technology and Human Vulnerability." Harvard Business Review Sep. 2003: n. pag. Harvard Business Review The Magazine. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.

Wood, Ben, Howard Aiken, and Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. "The Origins of Computer Science." IBM100 -. IBM, n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2014. <http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/ibm100/us/en/icons/compsci/>.