College Majors

Major Spotlight: Computer Science

In countless old Star Trek episodes, a baffled captain asked the computer for help, and the computer promptly replied with an answer. What was once science fiction is becoming reality, thanks to computer scientists working in voice recognition.

If you study computer science, you may learn how to design computer programs that allow humans and computers to speak to one another. Keep in mind, your work is more likely to help a vision-impaired person than a captain navigating the universe, but you never know.

Computer science majors learn about computer systems and the way humans and computers interact from a scientific perspective. Instruction includes programming and the theory and design of software.

“I really enjoy the area of human-computer interaction, which combines the areas of graphic design and computer science.”

Bonnie, senior, computer science, University of Maryland, College Park

Are You Ready To...?

  • Join the campus chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery
  • Complete an internship designing Web pages, developing software, testing software, or building other computer skills
  • Build teamwork skills and friendships while problem solving with other students
  • Regularly stay up until all hours trying to debug your computer programming

It Helps To Be...

Precise and mathematical but also able to think abstractly. In order to solve problems, you’ll need to think like a human and like a computer at the same time. This requires creativity, imagination, and the ability to think logically.

College Checklist

  • Is the program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology?
  • Will you be accepted into the college’s computer science program as a freshman or must you wait to apply as a sophomore?
  • Does the college require a minimum grade point average in your computer science classes to be accepted into the major?
  • If you’re interested in the circuitry of computers, does the college offer electrical and computer engineering courses?
  • Will you have the chance to specialize, in artificial intelligence or databases, for example?

Did You Know?

While programming is essential to studying computer science, the major can prepare you for careers that involve no programming at all.

Course Spotlight

As a computer science major, programming courses will be a key part of your studies. These classes cover languages such as C++ and Java, and introduce you to the precise thinking behind computer programming. You’ll learn how to solve problems by translating a question into instructions a computer can follow to come up with the answers. And you’ll explore what goes on inside a computer when it’s solving a problem. 

Explore this major in more depth on Career Finder