Are you interested in getting a degree in computer science? Do your ears perk up when you hear phrases like 'computer generated imagery' and 'computational complexity theory'? If so, then you're in for some good news. Computer science is currently proving itself to be one of the most desirable fields to work in, complete with recession-proof stability and some of the highest wages around.
Ever since Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine was first proposed in 1837, humans have been enraptured with the development of the computer-aided technologies that help us live a richer life. This holds especially true today, as the U.S. Department of Labor expects the employment of computer scientists to grow by 19 percent through the year 2020 despite an otherwise stagnant economy. Needless to say, now is an excellent time to pursue an education in the field of computer science, so let's consider the three different levels of education one could pursue.
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1. Associate's Degree
Think that a two-year degree in this economy simply isn't viable? Think again. While it is hard to obtain a job in most fields with just an associate's degree, this is actually not a bad option for your programmers on a budget. According to the U.S. News University Report, computer science was the #1 highest paying associate's degree one can receive, netting anywhere between $44,703 and $66,973 a year.
2. Bachelor's Degree
Given the competitive nature of today's job market, a bachelor's degree is now seen as less of a guarantee of -and more of a prerequisite for- financial success. A bachelor's degree in computer science would therefore be considered the 'safe move' by most people, and with good reason. According to PayScale's College Salary Report, those graduating with a bachelor's degree in computer science have an average starting salary of $56,600, with the average mid-career salary rising to a stellar $97,900.
3. Post-Graduate Degree (Master's/Ph.D)
This is the mother of them all, the highly-revered post-graduate degree. Luckily for those on the computer science track, it is also a profitable one. Back in 2011, Forbes had it listed along with physician's assistant studies as the #1 advanced degree to get, with a mid-career pay of a whopping $109,000. Though it certainly takes longer to achieve, a post-graduate degree in computer science will invariably provide you with the most freedom in your job search.
Finally, you should consider a fact that is at once glaringly obvious and yet crucial to not overlook: technology constantly changes. This means that as the programming languages and internet climate continue to evolve, your skill set will have to follow suite. Therefore, if you are not at a job that is consistently teaching you new methods and technologies, it is vital that you go through a secondary certification course to keep your job skills relevant.