It’s no secret that degrees in computer science are well worth the effort and expense. Of all the STEM fields, technology is most rewarding for those who bother to obtain a degree; computer science specifically awards degree-holders with an average starting salary above $65,000 and opportunities to earn a healthy six figures.
However, there is more interest in computer science programs than ever before, so you will have serious competition for good jobs after you graduate. If you want to out-compete your computer science peers, here’s how you can make the most of your computer science degree.
Finish School First
Because competition for jobs is fierce, the sooner you complete your education and begin your job hunt, the better. By either supplementing or replacing your current CS degree with online classes in computer science, you can gather the necessary credentials and jump into your career.
Online education is ideal for earning degrees and gaining experience quickly because it allows you flexibility in your schedule. While your peers are lumbering to and from rigidly scheduled courses on campus, you can engage in internships, make connections at networking events, and find other ways to bolster your career. Then, whenever you have time, you can complete your coursework and earn your degree. Ultimately, with online school, you not only finish school sooner, but you also finish it stronger than your job competitors.
Bolster Your Education
While a computer science degree aims to teach you everything about computational theory, mathematics, hardware and software engineering, and other essential areas of knowledge, the tech industry is changing so fast that no degree program can feasibly keep up with the rampant innovation. Thus, while you are learning the fundamentals in school, you should be bolstering your education with any skills you can’t pick up in your classes.
For example, if you are acquiring a background in computer science for a future as a tech startup entrepreneur, you might want to take a few online courses in business management. Alternatively, if you want to dive into engineering after you graduate, you should investigate what it takes to get certified as an engineer in your state. Any preparations you make for your career before you start hunting for jobs will pay you back tenfold.
Know How You Work
Do you like a team around you, or do you work alone? Do you have a planner to organize your projects, or do you work in spontaneous fits and bursts of energy? Are you passionate about cutting-edge innovations, or are you more invested in established tech? Before you begin job-hunting, you should know your preferences in your work style and environment. This will help you narrow down what positions you apply for, give you greater energy for completing the application process, and likely nab you the job of your dreams.
Choose Your Career Wisely
Where you start in tech is extremely important. Because tech is such a vast field — and because competition for jobs in tech is coming from all sides — the experience you gain right out the gate could impact the entire trajectory of your career. Your first job is more than a first job; it is the first step on a staircase that leads in a strict direction. Deviating from that path can be difficult and time-consuming, so it is best, to begin with, a career map of where you want to go and how to get there.
Computer science isn’t easy. If math and programming languages do not come easily to you, it might take you longer to achieve your degree than you initially hoped. However, if you give up and abandon your degree, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to compete with the hoards of well-qualified job applicants swarming into tech.
No matter how hard the road to a tech career is, the rewards along the way are well worth it. Not only can you earn a healthy salary, but you can contribute to the innovation essential to a productive and progressive future. A computer science degree will never be useless; tech experience is sought-after in nearly every industry. As long as you keep trying, you will eventually find extreme success thanks to your computer science education.