On the surface, it would appear that making a case for a degree in computer science is a slam dunk. Anybody with a pulse can see that computers run our world. But what most people don’t see are some very important things when making a career decision. This article will touch on those specific nuances of the Computer Science major.
Historical Computer Problems
If you’ve been around before the turn of the century, you’ve no doubt heard about Y2K where all the computers had to be programmed to account for the change in going from the 1900s to the 21st century. What most people don’t know is why this was a problem.
Old computer code, especially old COBOL code (Common Business Oriented Language) was written in mm/dd/yy format, with only two digits being allocated for the year. What programmers didn’t have was the foresight to realize that eventually that same format, when hitting the 21st century, would cause major problems when there was no way to tell, for example, if somebody’s birth date was 11/11/1932 or 11/11/2032. And it wasn’t just birth dates that were the problem. It was any piece of information that required keeping track of a date, including credit card and employment data.
Ongoing Computer Problems
Point is, computers are only as good as the people who program them and because of this mistakes are made and have to be corrected. Add to this the fact that computers are machines and eventually break down (a hard drive has a life expectancy of about 5 years), and computer professionals are needed to fix and/or replace these computers. And contrary to popular belief, replacing a computer isn’t always as simple as taking it out of the box. For complex networks, IP addresses have to be configured so that these computers can speak to each other.
Of course on a more personal “what’s in it for me” level, there is the money because we all have to pay the bills in order to keep living. According to Network World, computer science ranks number 8 for salary potential with an average starting salary of $59,800 and an average mid-career salary of $102,000.
And the good news is that you don’t have to physically go to a university to earn your degree. Many courses, such as the NJIT online Master’s of Computer Science, can offer you a degree online from the comfort of your home.
The need is there. The money is there. And certainly the opportunity is there to learn a skill that you’ll be able to use for the rest of your life.