For students undertaking a degree in computer science, in the process of completing one or ready to graduate.
Forbes ranked computer science as the third most valuable career. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the job market for software engineers and computer science majors will see an increase of nearly 25 percent in the next 10 years due to a high demand for computer software.
The average growth in pay is as high as 73 percent, with a median yearly salary of $87,800-$97,900.
Tony Patterson, 48, graduated from Seattle University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in mathematics.
He immediately began working at Alstom Grid as a software engineer. Alstom’s engineer teams develop solutions for worldwide electrical power grids in an effort to provide the most advanced and efficient systems. Patterson is now a chief architect and hiring manager.
His architect job entails designing software systems, which heavily require the use of coding languages. Apart from system design, he works on evaluating and analyzing software problems.
A key difference between his expectations after completing his degree and working in the field was how his daily work wasn’t immediately reflective of aspects in his curriculum. The coursework will give students a variety of knowledge in order to prepare them to work in multiple facets of software engineering and programming.
Computer science majors will find a high demand for graduates in metropolitan areas. These skills can be transferred universally for any system that uses a common programming system or coding language.
Students interested in the field shouldn’t wait until entering an undergraduate program to begin their education. Self-study is valuable in acquiring the knowledge and the readiness required of a constantly evolving career field. The more passionate an individual is about learning outside of their coursework and career, the greater their competency and ability to move up.
“[Even] students with an average ability will have no problem finding a good paying job,” Patterson said. “However, it’s the work you do outside of your career that will move you forward.”
Patterson recommends this field for students who have the logical mentality for problem solving, but speaks about the fluidity of the job.
“Ultimately we pick the job that pays for our lives over what we have fun doing. However, there are a million ways to specialize [in computer science]. Computers are needed for so many things we use every day. You can find a niche where you’re really passionate about something, and build your career off of that one interest.” Patterson said.
While in school, reading books that go beyond the curriculum can have a great impact on future desirability to employers Students can also utilize the freely available information on the Internet like how-to videos on YouTube. Yearly conferences and self-study books can also make a dynamic difference in future incomes.
Patterson offers some advice to students pursuing Computer Science.
“Expose yourself to fresh ideas,” Patterson said. “Staying engaged is key to becoming successful.”
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