Everything You Need to Know About Majoring in Computer Science

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 15, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Related: A Day in the Life of a Software Engineer

Sarah, a software engineer, shows you a day in the life of a remote software engineer including work hours, work environment and job duties.

Computer science is an exciting and rapidly growing field that offers many opportunities for students. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on computers and technology, the demand for qualified computer science professionals continues to grow. Knowing about majoring in computer science can help you make the best decision for your future. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about majoring in computer science, from what to expect in the classroom to job prospects after graduation.

The basics of everything you need to know about majoring in computer science

There's extensive information you can review when considering everything you need to know about majoring in computer science. Below we break down what you can expect while getting your degree and after you graduate.

A computer science major is a person who studies the theoretical and practical aspects of computers and computation. The field of computer science includes the study of algorithms, programming languages, data structures, and software systems. It also encompasses the study of computer hardware, networking, and security. Majoring in computer science prepares students for various careers in the technology sector, including software engineering, systems administration, and research.

What are the courses in computer science major?

The core courses in majoring in computer science include:

  • Introduction to Computer Science

  • Data Structures and Algorithms

  • Programming Languages

  • Software Engineering

  • Operating Systems

  • Databases

  • Networks and security

You may also take courses in artificial intelligence, parallel computing, and human-computer interaction to improve your skills and specialization.

Related: How to Start a Computer Engineering Career in 5 Steps

What does a major in computer science teach students

A computer science major typically covers the following areas:

  • Innovating and developing new technologies

  • Solving complex problems

  • Working with computers and software systems

  • Designing and optimizing algorithms

  • Understanding how computer systems work

  • Creating new programming languages

  • Improving cyber security

Benefits of majoring in computer science

The benefits of majoring in computer science include:

Range of career options

A degree in computer science opens the door for many exciting and well-paying careers, such as software engineering, systems administration, and research. You can work in various industries, including health care, finance, manufacturing, and more. It's a field with good job security, as there is always a demand for qualified computer science professionals.

High earning potential

Computer science majors are among the highest-paid graduates, with a computer scientist earning an average salary of $160,588. There is much room for career growth and advancement in computer science. Plus, many companies offer generous benefits packages, including health insurance and retirement plans.

Related: 14 Computer Science Salaries and Jobs (With Common Duties)

Opportunities to make a difference

Computer science majors can make a difference in the world with their skills. They can work on developing new technologies to improve lives, create new educational software to help people learn, and develop systems to make the world a safer place. They can also use their skills to help solve social and environmental problems.

A well-rounded education

Besides providing you with the technical skills required for a career in computer science, a degree in computer science also gives you a well-rounded education. You can learn critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills essential in any field. Plus, you can take courses in other areas, such as business, to gain a more well-rounded education.

How to prepare for a major in computer science

There are a few things you can do to prepare for a major in computer science:

1. Study math and science in high school

Computer science is a field that requires strong math and science skills. If you're interested in computer science, take challenging math and science courses in high school. These courses give you a good foundation for the rigours of a computer science major.

2. Decide which degree you want to pursue

There are various degrees you can pursue in computer science, such as a Bachelor of Science (BS), Master of Science (MS), or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Each degree has different requirements, so it's essential to decide which one is right for you. If you're not sure, you can always speak with a guidance counsellor or professor for advice.

3. Develop computer science skills

If you want to major in computer science, it's good to develop your computer science skills before you start college. There are many resources available, such as online courses, coding boot camps, and books. You can also join a club or take part in competitions to get more experience.

4. Take math courses

Math is a fundamental requirement for computer science. If your high school doesn't offer any math courses, you can consider taking some at a local community college or online. There are a variety of math courses you can take, such as algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. These courses can give you the mathematical foundation for a computer science major.

5. Learn skills like coding and programming

Coding and programming are important skills for computer science majors. If you're not familiar with these concepts, you can learn them through books, online courses, or coding boot camps. You can also learn quality coding practices, such as unit testing and code reviews. These skills can help you succeed in your computer science courses and eventually your career.

6. Choose an industry to work in

There are many industries that computer science majors can work in, such as health care, finance, manufacturing, and education. It's important to choose an industry that you're interested in and that offers excellent job prospects. You can research different industries to see which one is a good fit for you.

7. Seek internships and research opportunities

If you want to gain experience in computer science, you can find internships and research opportunities in college. These opportunities allow you to work on real-world projects and learn from experienced professionals. You can also build your network and make connections that can benefit you after graduation.

What are the career options for computer science majors?

There are many career options for computer science majors. Some of the most popular careers include:

Software engineer

The most popular career option for computer science majors is software engineering. Software engineers design, develop, test, and deploy software applications. They work in various industries, including the financial sector, health care, and retail.

Systems administrator

A systems administrator manages and maintains computer networks. They often work in the IT department of a company and ensure that all systems are running smoothly. They may also troubleshoot technical issues and provide support to users.

Research scientist

A research scientist is a broad term that covers a variety of different careers. For example, computer science majors may find employment in data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, etc. They often work in research laboratories, conduct experiments, and analyze data used to develop new products or services.

Database administrator

A database administrator manages and maintains databases of all types. They ensure the data is accurate and accessible to users. They may also develop new database applications or migrate data from one system to another.

Network engineer

A network engineer designs, implements, and maintains computer networks by using various technologies. They often work in the IT department of a company and ensure that the network running smoothly. They may also troubleshoot network issues and provide support to users.

Security engineer

A security engineer ensures that computer networks and systems are secure from attacks. They often develop security policies and procedures that prevent unauthorized access to data. They may also test systems for vulnerabilities and respond to security incidents.

Software developer

A software developer creates and maintains software applications. They ensure that the software is well-designed, efficient, user friendly, and meets the users' needs. They may also test and debug software applications.

Web developer

A web developer is an individual who specializes in the development of World Wide Web applications. A web developer is responsible for the coding, designing, and layout of a website. They may also develop e-commerce applications, web-based applications, and more.

Related: 13 Jobs You Can Get With a Computer Science Degree

Tips for majoring in computer science

You can set yourself up for success in your computer science major by following some simple tips:

Get involved in extracurricular activities

One of the best ways to get the most out of your computer science major is to get involved in activities related to your field of interest. There are many clubs and organizations you can join that allow you to work on projects, meet other students with similar interests, and learn more about the field.

Network with other students and professionals

Computer science is a field that is constantly changing, so it's crucial to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. One way to do this is to network with other students and professionals in the field. Attend conferences, join professional organizations, and get involved in online communities.

Practise your skills

It's essential to keep your skills sharp by practising regularly. You can use many online resources to hone your skills, such as coding challenges, and online courses. You can also get involved in open source projects or build your applications to get real-world experience.

Explore more articles