What is Computer Science?
Computer science is the study of computers and computational systems, focusing on the theory, design, development and application of the software and software systems that power our world. Many people equate computer science with being a programmer. While programming is essential, it’s only part of the discipline. A computer scientist’s role can range from writing code and solving abstract problems to negotiating the complexities of how humans and computers interact. Every day, computer scientists keep vital networks operating, gather and analyze vast quantities of data, protect sensitive information and information systems, and visualize information in new ways.
As the world grows more interconnected, and the systems we design to handle new challenges evolve, computer science and engineering are increasingly vital and valuable skills for the 21st century and beyond. Either as a career path or as supplemental expertise for your current job, skills in computer science can improve your long-term prospects in terms of salary and job satisfaction and deliver competitive advantages in a crowded job market.
Computer Science Fields
Computer science is an umbrella term that covers many different fields of study. Computer science can be applied to a variety of industries and disciplines, including business operations, banking and finance, architecture and construction, logistics, manufacturing, health care, research and academia, entertainment and more. The study of computer science can be broken down into several specializations, including:
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – Teaching computers and “smart” machines to carry out tasks and learn to solve problems by themselves.
- Business Information Technology – Solving problems related to growing and managing businesses of all sizes.
- Cybersecurity – Protecting systems, data and networks from cyberattacks and data theft.
- Data Science – Using statistics, analysis, mathematics, engineering and visualization to solve complex problems by “mining” vast amounts of data.
- Digital Content Management – Managing content such as text, graphics and media used by e-commerce and other platforms to keep information organized and accessible.
- Health Informatics – Using information technology to collect and analyze health care records, study health care trends and improve outcomes.
- Human-Computer Interaction and User Experience – Improving how humans and computers can interact to achieve desired goals.
- Information Systems – Connecting and protecting computer systems that allow people to collaborate within organizations and around the world.
- Library and Information Science – Designing and developing knowledge organization systems that help students, faculty and other researchers find information crucial to their work.
- Software Engineering – Developing and building software and information systems using engineering principles to meet the needs of different users and platforms.
All of these disciplines require dedicated computer scientists and engineers who can develop, maintain and improve the software and systems that help make our lives easier and safer.
Learn more about the diverse and rewarding career opportunities in computer science available with a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Drexel University.
Computer Science Industry Trends
Computer science affects so many aspects of our lives, from the app we use to buy a cup of coffee to the data modeling used to predict the weather. That’s why there is an ever-growing demand for computer science professionals, especially those with a master’s degree and other types of advanced training.
The scarcity of qualified computer scientists and the built-in adaptability of the field results in much greater job security. As an added bonus, in an economy where remote work is becoming more commonplace, computer science allows for greater work-life balance and makes it easier to live where you choose.
A master’s degree in computer science can also provide a significant income boost. Data shows that computer science degree holders are typically higher paid than those with master’s degrees in business, engineering and science.
Also, as the importance of diversity in computer science becomes necessary and desirable, more companies are making efforts to cultivate a diverse workforce. This makes computer science an especially valuable degree for women and people of color. Maybe that’s why computer science is one of the top five degrees sought by international students, and according to the American Association of University Women, computer science has one of the smallest pay gaps between male and female professionals.
What do you learn in Computer Science
Computer science starts with computational thinking—understanding how to define large problems and break them down into smaller pieces. Then you learn how to understand the inputs, assets, interactions and variables that are part of solving the problem. You learn how to write code using different computer languages to create algorithms, steps and rules for the software to follow, that help solve the problem.
But what you learn in computer science is about more than writing code. Computer science also deals with issues like the ethics of managing information and understanding the growing role that data and innovation play in our society. Studying computer science also teaches soft skills like creative problem solving, visual thinking, collaboration, project management and the perseverance necessary to solve seemingly unsolvable problems.
Computer Science Graduate Programs at Drexel’s College of Computing & Informatics
Computer science is a valuable skill, but everyone looks for something different from a computer science program, especially working adults who need a computer science graduate degree program that aligns with their career goals.
Rated as one of the top 28 computer science degree programs in the U.S. in 2021 by College Factual, Drexel’s College of Computing & Informatics offers graduate degrees in Computer Science and Software Engineering using a stackable certificate model to customize your degree program. Students without a computing background should first complete our foundational Graduate Certificate in Computer Science, which upon successful completion, can be combined with other certificates to create a customized master's program, and/or applied toward a full master's program in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, or Software Engineering.
Whether your interest is in business information technology, health informatics, cybersecurity or information systems, we offer master’s degrees and graduate minors that can be studied in person, online or through a hybrid program. This flexibility lets you customize your degree program so you can focus on the areas of study that have the most bearing on your career path and industry.
As one of the largest programs at Drexel, computer science faculty include world-class researchers working across all major areas of computer science, and our program focuses on integrating foundational computing theory with practical applications. Because of our program’s prestige and focus on real-world application, our graduates are highly sought after by businesses including Microsoft, Amazon and Google.
Ready to take your career to the next level? Learn more about the computer science degree programs offered.