3 answers

Best colleges for computer science majors?

Asked Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I'm a CareerVillage staff member and I'm posting this because we know that many young people are looking for the answer to this question. This is among the most popular questions searched by youth, and we're hoping you will take a moment to share your response to it. Thank you! #computers #computer-science #computer-programming #college #college-major #it #cis

Things you can consider for this specific question...

Which colleges have highly ranked computer science programs?
If you majored in computer science in college, where did you attend and what did you think of the program?
Where have successful or high-profile computer science majors gone to school?

3 answers

Leon’s Answer

Updated Fort Worth, Texas

I attended Syracuse University (SU) in the early 1960's and the first mandatory computer course I took was Lisp (still suitable for Artificial Intelligence programs), the second oldest computer language after Fortran. At that time, SU was working with IBM and hired some AI experts. Now SU specializes in Big Data. So Universities change their computer science emphasis.

A University's major focus regarding computer science can be very different. Universities specialize in many areas--Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Systems, Human-Computer Interfaces, Computer Architecture, Algorithms and Data Structures, Machine Learning and Data Mining, Cryptography, 3D Digital Modeling, Computer Game Programming, Object-Oriented Programming and Design to mention a few . You have to understand what area of the computer industry EXCITES you.

When I finally graduated from SU I received a BS in Management Information Systems (MIS). This degree allowed me to learn as much as I wanted about Computer Science but also learn how computer science is used in business and industry.

I hope this showed you Computer Science major programs in the first two years teach the basic courses but the last two years can be very different from one college to another. Therefore "Best colleges" can be different for potential students.

Leon recommends the following next steps:

  • On the Internet, review the Wikipedia summaries for the Computer Science programs in different colleges (Big data -Wikipedia, Cryptography-Wikipedia, etc.).
  • Research the Computer Science programs and emphasis for colleges of interest.
  • Also important, research the jobs related to these specialties.

Sam’s Answer

Updated Bend, Oregon

I may have a slightly different perspective on this question. I went to a small college with a small CS department. It doesn't show up on any of the lists of prestigious institutions and most people probably haven't heard of it. Even so, I managed to learn a great deal both in class and on my own. Coming out of college I was able to get a nice job based on the skills I had acquired and I’ve continued to move forward ever since. In career terms, you’ll probably advance more quickly if you go to Stanford or MIT, but please don’t get the impression that those are the only ways forward. By the same token, there are wonderful opportunities for learning about interesting subjects at those kinds of schools, but computer science is a constantly evolving field and knowing how to teach yourself will be tremendously useful in the future.

My advice is: look at the other answers to this question for good suggestions to aspire to, but never get discouraged if you don’t end up there. There has rarely been a more democratized subject than computer science and while it is by no means easy, if you have an internet connection, curiosity, and patience, it’s within your reach.

Jan’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

I went to the University of Waterloo in Canada, which has a very renowned Computer Science co-op program. This could be an interesting opportunity for students looking for schools outside of the U.S.

It is a 5 year program where your time is split between 6 co-op work terms (each being 4 months long) and the rest of the time at school. The school terms spend a lot of time on Computer Science fundamentals and concepts and the work terms help reinforce those ideas and teach you more applicable skills.

The assistance you get in obtaining an internship is phenomenal and I had no trouble getting internships, even though I came to Waterloo with no previous work experience of any kind.

When you graduate the program, you'll come away with ~2 years worth of cumulative work experience and it is not uncommon for graduates to already have a full-time job lined up for them.

Jan recommends the following next steps:

  • Check out the program details here and see if it is right for you: https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/future-undergraduate-students/co-op-and-regular