In addition to extrinsic motivators like salary and career prospects, your personal interests and personality can often be good indicators of whether or not studying computer science is a worthwhile pursuit. Below are some reasons — both external and internal — why you may want to consider a career in computer science.
Degrees with High Demand
Computer science is a booming field and it’s only expected to keep growing for the foreseeable future. Because computers and devices that use them impact just about every facet of our modern lives, nearly every company needs talent with a computer science background. Students considering a computer science major can be well assured that their studies will give them an advantage in a job market where their skills are in demand.
Mix of Collaboration and Individual Work
Depending on your role, computer science careers can offer a nice mix of solitary work (spending time alone, chipping away at a program) and teamwork (reviewing code as a group and brainstorming clever solutions to problems). If you find that you like a little of both collaboration and self-driven work, computer science is a great field to consider, as both aspects of working life are present in these kinds of careers in varying amounts depending on the company and particular role.
Regardless of personal preference, a good programmer should do what they can to develop skill and experience in both working styles, allowing them not only to figure out which is more conducive to their personal workflow but also to ensure that they have the capacity to do either should the need arise.
Puzzles and Problem-Solving
As a field, computer science is particularly attractive to those who enjoy working on puzzles — any kind of problem-solving, logic-oriented activity. You should find it satisfying and stimulating to tease out creative solutions from complex problems.
Variety of Specialties
With computers used in just about every industry and with countless applications, the world of computer science is vast, and there is plenty of room for specialization. While there are industry standard coding languages, and certain things that stay the same regardless of where you are, many organizations still need people with rare talents and skill sets. That means that there are a surprising amount of niche markets hidden within the computer science landscape.
To take best advantage of this, make an effort to study particular industries that fascinate you, and gain a thorough understanding of the unique challenges those fields face, as well as how computer science is currently used — and how it might be used — to solve those challenges. Learn a variety of coding languages and probe their strengths and weaknesses for addressing certain kinds of problems. This knowledge will make you an invaluable asset to any organization that is seeking your specialties.
Jobs in the computer science realm are renowned for their above-average pay. For example, a software developer, one of the most common computer science roles, can expect to earn anywhere from $50,000 to $110,000 a year, with a median salary of about $73,000 a year.
However, it’s not advisable to simply join the computer science field just because the pay is attractive. Computer science is a complex area of study, and though you don’t necessarily need to be a genius to grasp the techniques and principles, it takes a particular type of mind to thrive and find consistent fulfillment from it. Many students have been convinced by the potential salary to start down the road to a computer science career, only to find that computer science doesn’t intrinsically satisfy them.
If you’re unsure of whether computers and coding are right for you, it’s possible to try some free online courses and independent study to get your bearings and see if you find the work engaging before you invest in a computer science degree program.