Everyone knows that computers are our future. It must be true because that is what everyone seems to be saying. Perhaps someone should tell the kids entering college. As of 2014, USA Today reported that the top 10 most popular college majors have been unchanged for some time. Computer science is nowhere on the list. As it turns out, the people getting an education in preparation for their future aren’t all that excited about a formal education in computers. There are a number of reasons that might explain this state of affairs.
- Fear Factor – The general public is still afraid of computers. They feel a little more comfortable about buying one and turning one on to do a familiar task, but the moment something goes wrong, they pick up the phone and call someone else. It is one thing to use a working computer for a known task, and quite another to attempt a repair or go anywhere near the command line.
- Trucks vs. Cars – As Steve Jobs noted, traditional computers are more like trucks. They will always have a use, but most people don’t need to own one. Traditional computers are being overtaken by smartphones and tablets.
- No Need to Learn – Thirty years ago, it was necessary for people to know how to maintain a vehicle. A certain amount of maintenance wants required. Now, it’s not. You don’t even need to know how to change a tire these days. Computers are much the same way. There are plenty of programmers making all the apps we could ever want. Computers work well enough so that we never need to open the chassis.
There are plenty of places like the Computer Science schools in Pennsylvania that understand the value of a solid CS foundation. Although business-related majors top the list, GMU has this to say about how CS can make a difference:
With courses in business disciplines, such as accounting, marketing or management, you will extend your Computer Information Science toolkit to include skills today’s businesses want and need. Choosing a concentration in Business will give you important insight into how businesses operate.
Here are a few other things you can do with that computer science degree:
1. Software Developer
Somebody has got to make the software you use everyday. On average, that person also makes about $90,000 a year. It could be for iOS and Android or for the next connected toaster. All computers need software to run. If you are the software developer to write it, you could determine the future of breakfast.
2. Web Development
Millennials spend about 40 hours per week on the Web. That’s what we used to call a work week. Now, it’s just a little light browsing. The point is that someone has to code all that infrastructure, content management, widgets, design, and layout. And the one who does it will bring home about $82,000.
3. Tech Support and IT
There is the level of tech support agent that tells you to unplug and replug all your devices. Then, there is the one that actually has the solutions to your problem. That’s the one you want to be. Perhaps corporate IT is more your speed. Either way, about $72,000 makes either a great choice.
4. Security Architect
PayScale lists some of the best jobs for CS majors by salary. These tend to be more managerial. A security architect designs the security framework and protocols for a company. When data breaches happen, the fingers point at her. At $132,000, she can handle the pressure.
5. Business Intelligence Architect
BI also makes you a solid member of the six-figures club. It is another happy merger between CS and business. These days, collecting large amounts of data is easy. Analyzing that data to help a company make the right decisions is the challenge. Your expertise in computers and your business acumen is just the thing some forward-thinking company is looking for at this very moment. They are also looking to pay you about $122,000.
While the possibilities are not endless, there are a lot more than what is listed here. There may be legitimate reasons for avoiding a computer science major, but the lack of career opportunity, fulfillment, and reward are not among them.
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