Choosing a subject to major in in college is a daunting task - 20 to 50 percent of students enter college with an undeclared major, and a many as 75% of students change their major at least once over the course of their college career. Computer Science is often overlooked in discussions about what to major in - many students hesitate to apply because they don’t want to be pigeonholed as a software developer, or they mistakenly believe that you need years of specialized knowledge to even approach the degree. This blog post will attempt to clear some of these misconceptions up, and discuss a few reasons why YOU should study computer science in college.
1. Computer science can help you in any career
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding coding is that CS majors get stuck working on unimportant widgets and websites in the bubble of Silicon Valley, and that coding only helps coders.
Coding is a skill, not necessarily a career. Your career prospects are constrained not by your major, but the collection of skills that you have accrued. Coding can be applied to nearly any other interest in order to improve it. For example, journalists use coding to create immersive and innovative web experiences relating to their articles and economists use coding to efficiently process and analyze large sets of data and to create large-scale simulations. Coding can, and should, be applied to any discipline to make your work more efficient and effective. It’s just a matter of combining your interests and applying your skills.
2. Computer science can be lucrative
Our second reason is the reason that everyone talks about - computer science is, and will continue to be, very lucrative. CS consistently ranks as one of the highest paying career tracks, with a starting salary of close to $60k, and a mid-career salary in the $100k range. At the current pace at which CS majors graduate, there are expected to be a surplus of more than a million computing jobs between now and 2020.
3. Computer science is creative
Being a competent computer scientist allows you to solve important problems in new and interesting ways.
Programs like Code For America, which has produced awesome tools including Adopt a Hydrant (allows citizens to volunteer to dig fire hydrants out of the snow in the case of inclement weather to save emergency services valuable time), Aunt Bertha (helps users easily learn about and apply to food, health, housing, and employment programs) and Reroute.it (caluclates the environmental impact of different transportation choices), pair programmers with experts in other industries (in this case civil servants) in order to harness this creativity productively to solve problems using software.
There are a lot of compelling reasons to study computer science in college. Coding is a valuable skill that can be applied in any career. The ability to code boosts your career prospects dramatically, and allows you to flex your creative muscle.
Are you an undecided major? How have you used coding to express yourself creatively? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @codehs!
- Will McCambley