How to Know if Computer Science Is for Me

About the Author

Jacob Peterson

Jacob Peterson is a professional writer, editor, and educator with over 10 years of experience. He graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a multidisciplinary Bachelor of Science (in Science, Technology, and Culture). He formerly worked in the education industry, where he focused on helping students gain admission to top universities through test prep, advising, and curriculum design. He currently runs Elevation Editing, an on-demand writing and editing company that offers a variety of services, including special help with college application essays.

Is Computer Science for Me?

Computer science is one of the most popular fields today. There are millions of workers in the industry. You may be wondering, is computer science for me?

This article explains many topics. You’ll learn what it’s like to study computers. You’ll also learn about working in this field. With this information, you can decide if computer science is right for you.

Read More: How Hard is it to Get a Job in Computer Science?

What is Computer Science?

Simply put, computer science is the study of computers. You also study the actions they perform.

This field includes many areas. You’ll study hardware (physical devices). You’ll also study software (programs). Data science and computer theory are part of your studies as well.

Some computer scientists work in a specific area. For example, you might focus on artificial intelligence. Others might focus on database systems and get a job as a database administrator.

Many computer scientists are software developers. Others are hardware engineers. Other common areas include:

  • bioinformatics
  • network security
  • information architecture
  • programming languages

Consider these factors when asking, “would i like computer science?”

Read More: Ultimate Guide to Computer Science

What to Expect While Studying Computer Science

Will I like computer science? This is a big question to think about!

While in a computer science degree program, you’ll learn at least one programming language. For example, you might study:

  • Python
  • Java
  • Ruby
  • Swift

Computer science majors must also learn the basics of science. This includes physics. Math and English will be part of your studies. Reading and writing are important, even when working with technology.

Computer science majors must also take classes in other fields. You’ll take computer science electives. You also need to do general education classes.

Your choice of electives should be based on your area of interest. For example, let’s say you like app, browser, or data structure development. In that case, courses in information systems may be helpful.

As another example, let’s say you want to focus on hardware. Classes in math and electrical engineering will help you meet your goal.

General education classes are taken by all college students. The courses below help you become a well-rounded student:

  • Physical sciences
  • History and government
  • Communications
  • Art and humanities

You’ll also take a physical education course. A world language course is usually needed, too. Many colleges require a first-year course that helps you get comfortable with college-level work.

These general education courses are the bulk of your computer science program during your first two years in college. However, your classes shift to be computer science in your third and fourth years.

What Type of Computer Science Degrees Can I Get?

A bachelor’s degree with a computer science major is common if you want to work in software engineering. This is the degree described earlier. You’ll study general education courses. Then you’ll begin focusing on computer science courses.

A bachelor’s degree requires about 120 semester credits. It takes four years of full-time study to complete.

However, many other jobs in this field require a graduate degree (a master’s or doctorate). Jobs in academics and advanced research labs often require a higher degree.

Add another one to three years of study if you want to work in one of these fields. This will get you a master’s degree. Add as much as three to five years after that for a doctorate.

Master’s Degree Studies in Computer Science

In a master’s program in computer science, you’ll do advanced studies. There are elective courses. But you will likely not have to do any general education classes. This means that getting your master’s focuses on computer science. More specifically, you’ll focus on your chosen area.

For example, if you want to go into artificial intelligence, many of your master’s degree courses will be in that area. If you get a master’s degree in software engineering, that’s what most of your graduate courses will cover.

Doctoral Studies in Computer Science

Graduate studies are a step up from undergraduate studies. A doctoral program is another step up from a graduate program. Doctoral studies are also more specific to your area of interest.

Computer science programs at this level have a dissertation. A dissertation is a lengthy and detailed research project. You have to defend it to a committee of faculty. In many cases, you’ll work on your research for years.

However, not all doctoral programs in computer science require a dissertation. Some require a capstone project or another hands-on project instead.

Getting a Job Without a Degree in Computer Science

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you might be able to find a computer science job. In some cases, you don’t even need a degree. Some jobs only require a high school education.

For example, some software engineer jobs don’t require a new four-year degree. Many jobs don’t need a graduate degree or a doctorate.

Some schools offer career-focused two-year programs. Professional certifications are available as well. These can help you get a job. There are also many cheap online degree programs.

Read More: Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degrees and Best Online Master’s in Computer Science

Is Computer Science Right for Me?

Most work in computer science involves computers. Computers and related technologies are important in most jobs. Computer science skills can be used in many fields, including:

  • health care
  • economics
  • law enforcement
  • education

If you have another passion, you can combine it with computer science.

For example, if you’re interested in software engineering, you can apply that to health care. Perhaps you develop a new software that makes it easier for health care providers to track a patient’s progress.

As for other examples, if you specialize in artificial intelligence, you might apply that to police work. You might develop more accurate facial recognition software. If web development is your area of focus, you might use that to build a better online learning experience for K-12 students.

So, ask yourself, “will I like computer science” and think about the factors above.

How to Know if Computer Science is For You

In a computer science career, you will apply creativity and critical thinking. You’ll also use problem-solving skills on a daily basis. If you’re wondering, “would I be good at computer science,” the answer is yes if you have these skills.

Many careers require logic and theory (such as algorithms). But others focus on practical applications, such as software products. Most companies require you to work well with others. It’s important to get comfortable working with people who may not share your opinions or background.

Most computer science workers must complete regular training. This is because technology is always changing. In many cases, you must also get certifications from professional organizations. This is to prove that you have the needed skills for the job.

One part of working in computer science is that some people have difficulty with is gender disparity…

Over 80% of recent computer and information science graduates are male. Some employers also have problems related to gender discrimination, such as pay inequality. This shouldn’t deter you if you love computer science. The issue doesn’t seem to be going anywhere in the future, though. You may want to consider it before starting a career in this field.

Given the factors listed above, is a computer science career the right fit for you? This is an answer that depends on your situation.

Despite some challenges, the field of computer science offers a lot of upside. It’s a field that’s in high demand. There are many job openings. The pay is good for computer science careers as well.

What Types of Jobs Can I Get With a Computer Science Degree?

Most people who have computer science degrees become software engineers or computer programmers.

If you don’t want to work with code, you’re in luck! There are many other jobs in this field. Which computer science career is right for me? Check the list below for possible ideas.

You can become any of the following:

  • cybersecurity expert
  • game designer
  • computer project manager
  • systems analyst
  • computer support specialist
  • database manager
  • network administrator
  • data structure analyst
  • web developer
  • computer researcher
  • business analyst

This is not a complete list of computer science careers. This is just a part of the career paths you can explore with a degree in computer science.

In some cases, these careers are a good fit for someone with a bachelor’s degree. But in others, you might need a graduate degree. Sometimes, a doctorate is needed to get the best jobs.

Getting a job is not just about education. To get a better job and to earn a higher income, you’ll need to get job experience. As a recent college graduate, this will likely mean working in an entry-level position for a little while. Then you’ll have the experience to get a higher-level career.

What About Salaries for Computer Science?

You shouldn’t have to worry about money. Tech jobs have fairly high salaries no matter the field. The median wage is over $42 per hour.

Software developers have great career options. The median wage is over $50 per hour. The job growth rate is also much higher than average.

The benefits in this field are great as well. Some employers even offer free lunches.

How to Know if Computer Science is For Me?

A computer science degree offers many options for you if you enjoy solving problems using computers.

You must have the patience and dedication to do a computer science degree. In some cases, you need advanced studies (including math classes). You have to do training after you find a job as well.

However, most computer scientists are rewarded with good salaries and strong benefits.

As noted earlier, many computer science jobs are having a lot of job growth. For example, computer research scientists are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that this field will grow by 22 percent through the end of the decade.

Choosing a career should be based on more than job growth and money. You should also consider your interests, skills, and talents. Think about how you can best use them in a career. If a computer science major fits your skills and talents well, you might have an exciting road ahead!

Also consider how to know if you like computer science. You might search for “is computer science for me quiz” or “is computer science right for me quiz” to find out. If you’re entering college, search for “should I major in computer science quiz” for help setting a path.

Related Reading: