Why Study Computer Science?

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Computer Science, or CS, is one of the most popular fields of study for international students. In fact, in the 2019/20 school year, 14.7% of international students in the United States were taking information or computer science programs, making it the third-most popular field of study in the country. And the US isn’t alone; Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia are also seeing steadily rising interest in this field.  So, in honour of STEM Day this year, we’re taking a closer look at what computer science is, and why it attracts so many students. Have you ever wondered why study computer science, or if a CS degree is worth it for you? Read on to learn more.

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What is Computer Science?

To put it simply, computer science is the study of how computers work. But it isn’t just about computers and computational systems. The field has a theoretical and mathematical focus, and involves exploring processes like algorithms to solve problems. When studying computer science, you look at both the computer’s hardware and software. You might take classes on topics ranging from artificial intellingence to data analysis; security to human-computer interaction. By the time you graduate, you’ll have gained an understanding of how a computer performs (hardware) and its programming languages (software).

While studying in a STEM field (science, technology, math, and engineering) is well-known, many folks are updating the acronym to STEAM to include arts programs. Learn more about STEM vs. STEAM education on our blog.

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What are the Entry Requirements for Computer Science Programs?

While program entry requirements will vary, computer science degrees often emphasize the importance of strong math skills. These programs may include classes on advanced functions, calculus, and vectors. Some institutions also look for students who have a foundation in physics.

Participating in subject-area competitions isn’t usually a requirement. However, joining these events can set you apart from other student applicants. It shows your personal interest in CS and its practical uses, which can help your program application rise to the top of the pile. Competition can be fierce: our internal data from 2022 found that “computer” and “computer science” were the fourth- and fifth-most popular search terms on our platform, when looking at searches from the 17 countries with the world’s fastest-growing international student populations. With rising interest in this popular STEM field, making your application stand out is more important than ever.

Additionally, having a beginner’s background in one (or more) programming languages like Python, Java, or C++ can be helpful. (Don’t worry: you’ll pick up more programming skills in class. But a head start can help you decide which electives or programming languages to study further!)

Find out which Canadian universities offer top-ranked Computer Science programs.

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What Can You Do with a Degree in Computer Science?

You’ll gain a wide range of skills. Technical skills such as data analysis and programming, and interpersonal skills, like problem-solving and leadership, are some of them. A degree in computer science can prepare you for careers in industries including communications, finance, software, health care, and government. Technology plays an important role in many aspects of life, and so the skills taught to CS students are in high demand. However, many graduates choose to stay in the booming tech industry.

Popular careers for computer science graduates:

  1. Information Technology Consultant
  2. Data Analyst
  3. Game Developer
  4. Business Analyst
  5. Web Developer
  6. Product Manager
  7. Software Developer
  8. Cybersecurity Consultant
  9. Finance Programmer

Remember, this list is just a start. There are more diverse job opportunities open to computer science grads!

Plus, many roles filled by computer science grads are expected to hire heavily through the next decade. In fact, in the United States, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts thatemployment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2022-2032, much faster than the average for all occupations” (emphasis ours).

Curious about studying computer science in the US or the United Kingdom? Here are some of the top computer science programs in the US. Or, study across the pond with these popular UK courses.

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So, Why Study Computer Science?

Computer science can open many different doors to careers in both STEM and non-STEM fields. Have an interest in the medical field? You can work there. Education? Whether you choose to become a Dean of Computer Science at a college, or a network architect for a school board, there’s a role for you. Do you like gaming? Gaming companies, both large and small, are almost always looking for CS grads.

We live in the Digital Age. Many parts of the job market are actively searching for computer science graduates, and most roles offer competitive salaries and benefits. Plus, because much of your work is online, you may find your job is flexible around whether you work at the office or remotely. This can mean you’ll have a better work-life balance, which can benefit your overall health.

If you complete a degree in computer science, you’ll also be recognized for having finished a tough program. This shows your dedication and resilience, personal characteristics that are valued by employers.

Considering a degree in computer science? Or, still unsure what exactly you want to study and where to start? No matter where you are in your study abroad journey, we can help. Register for free with ApplyBoard!


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