Why study computer science?
Computer Science is an exciting, growing, challenging field that has impact in most aspects of everyday life. These areas include medicine, communications, auotomotive technology, weather forcasting, entertainment, mining, pharmacology, forensics, manufacturing, disaster recovery, security, law, business. For practically any area you can think of there is an application of computer technology. Yet there are still many new computer applications to be discovered and implemented in that area, and you could be involved in that exciting endeavor and service to humanity.
Computer systems analysts, database administrators, and computer scientists are expected to be among the fastest growing occupations through 2012.... The middle 50 percent (of software engineers) earned between $58,500 and $91,160.
- U.S. Dept of Labor
Now for practicalities: Computer science graduates are some of the most sought-after graduates and earn among the highest salaries right out of college. So while the news talks about how some of the routine jobs have gone “off shore”, there is still ample opportunity for talented computer science majors.
What also is valued by our graduates’ employers is all the problem solving skills and analytical abilities they developed in studying computer science. These skills also prove valuable to many areas of endeavor, and, in fact, a significant number of our CS graduates bring those skills to medical school or other professional schools.
Growing Fields Related to Computer Science
- Security Analysis
- Face recognition; email patterns; finding odd behavior in a crowd; breaking codes: issues that would be addressed by a computer scientist interested in security. One of our graduates just got a full scholarship and a very nice stipend to study this area in graduate school.
- A good field for someone with an additional interest in biology or chemistry. Analyzing gene sequence data to search disease markers, for example, requires sophisticated computer algorithms, large databases, and massive computer power. One of our graduates recently landed a job working with the Washington University Humane Genome project program.
- Game Programming
- Games have surpassed movies in income production. One of our faculty has been involved in commercial game production and brings that expertise to his software engineering course, where there is a semester long group project developing a game. Recently a friend of his, who is president of a subsidiary of Pixar, gave a talk on game production to the math/CS club.
- Artificial intelligence is used to build expert systems that make diagnoses or check for drug interactions. Medical imaging requires complicated image processing. Three dimensional visualization, like the NLM's visible human project, requires graphics and intense computing power. Mapping the brain's response to stimuli is powered by computer simulations. One of our graduates who works at the SLU medical school in brain research says “it’s all about programming and mathematics.”
- This is a huge field and will remain a big employer. Issues that are adressed here include networking, data encoding and encryption, wireless technology, and much more.