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Computer Science - Overview


Computer science programs prepare people to work with computing problems and solutions. Students learn computer systems design. They study software and hardware design. They also learn to profile the needs of specific end-user situations.

It's become a cliché that once you buy a computer, it's already outdated within about two weeks. Technology keeps advancing faster and faster. Computers that used to take up a whole room now fit into the palm of your hand! We now think of typewriters as artifacts from the dark ages! Today we live in the Information Age. Computer scientists take technology and bits of plastic to give us more ways to digitize our world.

With a degree in computer science, you can work as entry-level programmers and network administrators. You can work for all kinds of organizations, from small businesses to software start-ups to government agencies. After all, nearly every professional organization uses computers to keep things running. That means people are needed to keep the computers running themselves.

In computer science programs, you might be surprised to learn that you take several math courses, including advanced algebra, statistics, and calculus. This is because math is the basis for most computing languages. Of course, you take several computer science courses. This includes learning different programming languages, such as Java and C++. You take courses about computer networks, database management, and operating systems (think Mac OS X or Windows 2000). You also learn how computers are built and how to develop new computer technology.

In addition, many programs allow you to specialize in a specific area of computer science. These can include artificial intelligence, computer graphics, and numerical analysis, to name a few.

Most four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in computer science. Most community colleges offer two-year programs that can be transferred to a four-year school. Many schools offer graduate degree programs in computer science. These programs take from two to five years after you finish your bachelor's degree. Most people who get graduate degrees in computer science become high-level computer scientists or professors.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.
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