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Degrees and Schools
Many colleges and universities provide bachelor's, master's and Ph.D degree programs in computer science and computer engineering. Students in a Computer Science Master's Degree program usually focus on a particular area of computer science such as human-computer interaction, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, scientific computing or another area.
Typically, the primary focus of a doctorate degree in computer science is research. A Computer Engineering Doctoral Degree program provides advanced training for working with a company's computer systems and computer networks. A Management Information Systems and Technology Ph.D degree provides advanced training for working with a company's computer network systems.
Students typically study the following subjects:
- Database management
- Software development
- Computer science theory
- Computer programming
- Data Structures
- Computer architecture
- Logic and computation
Online Classes and Programs
A wide array of computer science degrees are available online including bachelor's degrees in software development, information technology and computer systems. Master's degree and Ph.D programs are also available online.
Online students should look for schools which have been provided accreditation from an agency which has been approved by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education.
Most computer scientist positions require a Ph.D in computer science, computer engineering or in a related field due to the focus on research. Computer scientists who have only a bachelor's degree or a master's degree usually have limited advancement opportunities. Scientifically based companies and organizations typically seek applicants who have a background in physical sciences, engineering or mathematics.
Certifications can improve the chances of obtaining a job. Certifications are offered by various organizations associated with computer specialists.
The primary employers are the computer systems design and related services industry, computer and electronic product manufacturers, government agencies, financial institutions, colleges and universities, Internet services providers, web search portals, hosting and related services firms, and insurance companies.
How to Evaluate Schools and Programs
The answers to the following questions can help students select the appropriate school:
- Training - Does the school have comprehensive computer laboratories? Does the program provide plenty of hands-on training? Does the program include a relevant externship? Do students have a variety of externship choices?
- School's Reputation - Is the school recognized for its computer science programs? What kind of reputation does the school have with employers of computer and information scientists?
- Job Placement - Are students provided job placement services? Do employers of computer and information scientists recruit students at the school? Does the school provide job fairs?
- Curriculum - What type of electives are offered? Can students select an area of specialization?
- Financial Aid - What types of financial aid are available? Is the school qualified to provide federal financial aid?
- Accreditation - Is the school accredited by an agency which has been approved by the the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education?
Computer and Information Scientists Job Description
Computer and information scientists research and develop new technology for business and scientific needs as well as for consumers. They also search for new ways to use computers to meet the needs of users. Some computer scientists are involved with programming-language design and hardware design. They also create software programs that entertain and educate people. Computer and information scientists also work on projects such as designing robots.
Computer science researchers working at colleges and universities, usually focus on pure theory, whereas computer science researchers working for companies are typically involved with projects that may produce patents and profits. However, there are some researchers working in non-academic settings that have the opportunity to determine the focus of their research.
Shown below are some of the responsibilities of computer and information scientists:
- Evaluate computer hardware and software problems and develop solutions
- Use theory and innovation to develop or apply new technology
- Create processors, computer chips and hardware to speed up and enhance the performance of software
- Help create organizational goals, policies and procedures
- Perform analysis of business, scientific, engineering and other technical problems
- Assess feasibility issues of project proposals and plans
- Collaborate with others to determine computer requirements
- Association for Computing Machinery
- IEEE Computer Society
- Software & Information Industry Association
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