What is Computer Science?
Computer science is the study of how data and instructions are processed, stored and communicated by computing devices. It involves designing software and addressing fundamental scientific questions about the nature of computation but also involves many aspects of hardware and the architecture of large computer systems.
Computer scientists create the brains in our smartphones, they keep airplanes from falling out of the sky, they help surgeons do a better job and they automate aspects of manufacturing, to name but a few. The reality is, there are many different roles that a computer scientist could fill, but any computer science role is likely to involve:
- thinking about and conceptualising computational and maths-related problems and challenges
- developing new products or solve practical computing problems
- conducting research involving experimentation and modelling
- working as part of a research team with programmers, IT professionals, and mechanical, electrical or software engineers to solve problems and create new products
- studying, experimenting and investigating technological fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual reality
- seeking to improve the performance of existing computer systems and software
- developing new hardware or computing techniques and materials
Key skills for computer scientists
- Excellent maths skills
- Excellent computer and technology knowledge and skills
- An ability to analyse problems and trace them to their core causes
- A systematic approach to work and problem solving
- A stickler for accuracy
- A strong ability to anticipate and diagnose problems
- Ability to organise and classify large amounts of information
If you’ve studied computer science, you will have gained many technical and non-technical skills which are highly valued by employers, from leadership to programming. The increasing scope of computer science means you have plenty of choice in a wide variety of highly specialized areas.
Computer technologies are integral to modern life, so you’re likely to find your computer science skills in high demand across many different industries. These include financial organizations, management consultancy firms, software houses, communications companies, data warehouses, multinational companies, governmental agencies, universities and hospitals.
As always, it’s extremely beneficial to have completed relevant work experience. You should also consider compiling a portfolio of your own independent projects outside of your degree, which could be in the form of programming, moderating online or even building an app. This will demonstrate to employers your interest in the subject and your problem-solving skills, creativity and initiative.
To wrap up below I share some careers where your computer science degree would be a perfect fit…
Information systems manager
Other computer science careers
If none of the above computer science careers suit you, other options with a computer science degree include: working in other areas of development (such as web, games, systems, products, programs and software), as an analyst (be it business continuity, systems or technical), as an administrator (of databases or networks), or in an academic or industrial research capacity, contributing to the ongoing development of computers and related technologies. You could also pursue computer science careers in teaching, IT training, journalism, management or entrepreneurship.