Computer science is a demanding major, but it could be worth it if you’re passionate about problem-solving and have determination. It’s also an excellent career choice in this era of hiring freezes and layoffs.
Computer science involves writing precise and accurate computational instructions for computers. It covers everything from algorithmic theory to data structures and programming languages.
Theoretical Computer Science
Theoretical computer science, also known as TCS, is mathematical and abstract in spirit but draws its motivation from practical and everyday computation. Its aim is to understand the nature of computation and, as a result, provide more efficient methodologies.
It studies algorithms and their complexity using analytical, combinatorial and probabilistic techniques. It also focuses on programming languages, formal languages and automated theory. It examines the classification system of computational tasks based on their time, memory and randomness requirements.
It has led to breakthroughs such as the NP-completeness problem and polynomial time primality algorithms. It has been the basis for other studies such as logic calculi, computability theory, information theory, algebraic data types and program semantics.
Computer architecture involves the logical aspects of a physical computer. This encompasses both the outer and inner architectures, and is sometimes divided into microarchitecture and macroarchitecture.
Computer scientists work with software at the core of computers, but they also explore how these systems interact with humans through the study of human-computer interaction and natural language processing. Similarly, they address issues of information retrieval and uphold security measures.
This field of science can range from the abstract — such as the problems that can be solved with computers and the complexity of the algorithms to solve them — to the tangible – designing applications that perform well on handheld devices and upholding security measures.
Computer scientists are responsible for designing autonomous (“self-thinking”) software that can learn from massive data sets to solve problems and make predictions at scale. Artificial intelligence (“AI”) is one of these tools.
AI aims to replicate human intelligence in machines, and it is used across many industries. Its uses range from financial trading to healthcare diagnostics.
The field of AI has evolved to include disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, psychology, physics, philosophy and linguistics. It has produced such milestones as Siri and Alexa voice assistants, IBM Watson’s victory on Jeopardy and self-driving cars. It is also capable of sifting through terabytes of data to identify small anomalies in medical scans.
Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence that allows computers to learn and make decisions without being explicitly programmed. It is the technology behind self-driving cars and natural language processing.
It can detect patterns of fraudulent activity and other suspicious behavior that would be hard for humans to notice. It can also predict when equipment is likely to fail, allowing companies to plan maintenance ahead of time and minimize downtime.
Computer scientists with strong background in linear algebra, probability and statistics are well-positioned to succeed in machine learning. As the field continues to expand, many jobs will require these skills. This can lead to a skills gap and an increase in demand for new graduates.
Data Structures and Algorithms
Data structures are a set of ways to organize the information on a computer so it can be processed efficiently. They form the foundation of a programmer’s basic “toolkit”.
Algorithms are well-defined finite sequences of instructions that can be implemented with a computational system to reach a repeatable goal. They include sorting algorithms, search algorithms and shortest path algorithms.
It is important to learn about these two topics as they are essential for web development and programming work. Employers like Google and Facebook look for candidates who have solid knowledge of these topics during the hiring process. Coding Ninjas offers expert mentor-led courses on these subjects.
Computer graphics is responsible for the display of art and image data on digital display devices. Its development has revolutionized animation, film, advertising and video games. It is also responsible for the creation of a variety of special effects in film.
Computer scientists who are skilled in graphics software can be highly sought after. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who work in this area are expected to see the highest job growth among all computer science degrees through 2024.
The career path of a computer scientist is varied and exciting. If you think this is the right major for you, explore Carroll’s transfer agreements with other schools around the country and world.