How to Become a Computer Information Specialist in Connecticut

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What is Computer Science?

A computer science professional is a technology worker who has special expertise in software development, programming, or cyber security, to name but three possible career paths. These professionals tend to involve themselves in deeper technology issues such as artificial intelligence, cryptography, and even language development. Computer science is a field steeped in theory and innovation.

Given the emphasis on theory, many computer science professionals end up taking a career path that is rather academic in nature. Even those who work for private, business concerns will spend their days researching programming languages and may even develop their own variants to solve specific problems.

Computer science professionals may also work on things like video games or other consumer products. The Internet of Things, for example, is being developed by computer scientists. Cryptocurrency is also heavily reliant on computer science innovators who are creating new solutions for financial transactions, supply chains, and even the arts and literature.

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Computer Science Education in Connecticut

Connecticut is virtually a bedroom community for New York City. Thus, it is full of technology firms that build the systems that are implemented in NYC. Meanwhile, in Connecticut, there is plenty of demand for computer science professionals. One of the state's top industries is finance and insurance. Businesses in this sector need computer scientists to work on big data, create new software systems, and more. In fact, financial firms that work on trading may need experts to write algorithms that execute trades and are able to exploit momentary price fluctuations in ways that humans are incapable.

The state is also strong in manufacturing, which may not seem like a tech-heavy field. However, manufacturing equipment needs to be programmed and maintained by experts in computer science. In fact, many warehouses are operated primarily by computer software systems that ensure efficient inventories and organization.

Connecticut is full of many tech-dependent businesses and industries that rely on computer software to operate at maximum efficiency. One of the more high-profile companies that is headquartered in Connecticut, ESPN, may not seem like it needs much in the way of computer science, but it relies heavily on technology to thrive. Its marketing team needs data scientists and data analysts to parse viewer data and their ever-growing database of shows need to be sorted and cataloged in ways that make for easy access. Since ESPN is a haven for sports enthusiasts, they also need computer scientists to create databases of sports statistics.

Furthermore, Connecticut makes for a great place to launch a software start-up or other technological concern. This is because the state is full of top computer science degree departments and venture capital firms, not to mention its proximity to many large population centers. A small start-up can work in Connecticut where they enjoy lower overhead and then eventually sell their software or other products and services in Manhattan, Boston, or even to an insurance concern in Hartford. Thus, Connecticut's computer scientists can enjoy the state's bucolic living while having access to world-class financing and markets.

Associate Degree in Computer Science (AS)

A two-year associate computer science degree is a terrific way to launch a career. Degrees from community colleges may still be ABET accredited and thus attract the attention of many in the profession. Community colleges also tend to offer computer science degrees, plus the core college curriculum, at a discount compared to other public four-year institutions.

Though a two-year computer science degree only provides students with the basics of the field, it can help them form a foundation for later learning. Many associate degree holders can find entry-level positions in the field and then build on their credentials by earning certifications. While a four-year bachelor’s computer science degree is perhaps ideal, an associate computer science degree plus industry certifications can help form a wildly successful career. After all, most hiring managers are looking for skilled coders and thinkers more than they need to see a degree.

Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science (BS in CS)

A four-year bachelor’s computer science degree is perhaps the ideal academic background for a computer science career. Computer science programs at four-year colleges and universities are able to offer students an in-depth view of the computer science world. Though not quite a specialized as a master’s computer science degree, undergraduate computer science programs can offer students the possibility of finding a specialized area for research and development.

Four-year colleges and universities also allow students to inform their computer science degrees with minor areas of focus. Some may minor in mathematics, but other possibilities include accounting, business, philosophy, and even fine art. These minor concentrations can help when students venture into the economy and need to differentiate themselves from their fellow computer scientists.

Finally, a bachelor's computer science degree provides the requisite background for those who seek to advance their academics. Only with a bachelor's computer science degree can professionals seek a master's computer science degree.

Master's Degree in Computer Science (MCS)

Computer science is a deep and rapidly evolving field that increasingly demands deeper and deeper knowledge of the field. Thus, the demand for a master's computer science degree is growing at an exponential rate. In a master's degree program, students can hone their knowledge and skills around a very focused area of research or knowledge. Some may spend their time focused on artificial intelligence, whereas others might work on technologies such as geographic information systems. Data science is another hot area that may appeal to those who have a love of mathematics.

Computer science master's degrees can take many forms and the field may even be paired with other fields to create innovative degrees. For instance, some MBA programs offer a concentration in computer science while there are also dual-MBA programs where students can complete their business training on top of a computer science master's degree in approximately three years, depending on each program's individual requirements.

At the master's level, computer scientists find that their work nears that of philosophy; they delve deep into subjects such as the nature of language and consciousness. With that in mind, it's vital that computer scientists also study ethics and morality.

PhD Degree in Computer Science (PhD)

A PhD in computer science is a highly valued degree in this field. Since so much rides on the launch of a new technology, the rigorous scientific training required for a doctorate in computer science is vital to success. In fact, many corporations seek out computer science professionals who hold a PhD. They often are looking for top talent to help research new methods in areas such as cryptography, software design, or graphics. When firms have a team of PhDs on board, they are sure to create cutting-edge, reliable technologies that may even change the world.

While a computer science PhD is not a necessity for success in the technology field, it can be very helpful for those who yearn for success in more academic niche areas. Interestingly, PhDs in computer science may build on their doctoral thesis and use that work to launch a dynamic, disruptive start-up firm. Not only do they have the personal expertise to begin the work but those years in universities and industry conferences will surely have provided the sort of professional network needed to staff the best firm possible.

Become a Computer Science in Connecticut

It's a long road to become a computer science professional in Connecticut. In fact, many would contend that the path to computer scientist starts when one is rather young. When youngsters show an interest in, and talent for, things like mathematics, computers, and other technologies, they may be well on their way. These days, budding computer scientists may start their path by designing computer games using various web technologies. There, they will begin learning the rudiments of computer code.

In school, budding computer scientists should seek out electives that teach programming languages or otherwise instruct them on the latest technologies. Often, these future scientists find like-minded friends with whom they share ideas and compare work. If possible, students might try to enroll in local high schools that have a technical or STEM focus. This will prepare them for success in college.

To find the best college program, students should look for computer science departments that hold ABET accreditation. ABET confers credentials on schools and programs that focus on engineering, computing, and mathematics, among other STEM subjects. However, regionally accredited colleges and universities are also capable of providing top-quality instruction. In fact, students should seek out the computer science degree program that best suits their long-term goals.

Once in college, students should not only take the courses that challenge them the most, but they should seek to round off their education with work in other departments. For instance, computer science students who see themselves practicing their discipline in the business world might wish to take a minor concentration in management, economics, or finance. Those who are interested in data science should consider taking mathematics courses and budding video game creators might look at courses in graphic art, creative writing, and even music.

In the final two years of college, computer science students should consider internship opportunities. Real-world experience in a software design firm, for instance, could prove immensely helpful in the long run. Alternately, many computer science students could begin to apply their knowledge in personal projects, or even small businesses. For instance, they could work with local small businesses and build their websites, design mobile apps, or consult with them regarding cyber security.

Careers for Computer Science Graduates

  • Software Tester:
    This is a position that is vital in the software development process. Software testers effectively try to break and find flaws in their team's software. They may even work as independent, outside testers who have no bias toward the project. This is often an entry-level position for computer science graduates who are seeking a career in software development.
  • Cyber Security Analyst:
    Computer scientists who are experts at cryptography might pursue work as cyber security analysts. The demand for information security is at all-time highs and that need is unlikely to ebb any time soon. Students who are interested in cyber security might seek a program with CAE credentials and then work with government agencies to gain experience.
  • Big Data Analyst:
    The internet has done many things, and one of them is to create a huge trove of data. This data is useful in fields such as marketing, economics, public health, and politics. Computer scientists are perfect candidates for this line of work since they understand how to write the algorithms that can sort and make sense of entire terabytes of data. Successful candidates for data analyst positions often are experts in coding Python and R, though other languages may also be desired.
  • Web Designer & Developer:
    Computer scientists often work more as website developers than designers, but they are always highly valued. Developers are the computing professionals who work on the back end of a website. Their code powers the useful widgets end-users need to do things like search a database, order concert tickets, or even upload photos. Developers may need to master languages such as C++, SQL, JavaScript, Java, and PHP, among many others.
  • Network Architect:
    These technology experts are hired to create computing networks for small and large organizations. They are the ones who set up file-sharing systems and who find ways to more efficiently connect users to relevant databases and may even help construct an intranet for larger companies. Architects are more likely to spend time designing networks than actually building them, but they will often be called to consult on network development.
  • Software Designer:
    This is a common aspiration for students of computer science. They employ their technical skills to envision how a piece of software should operate. They may consider things like the target end-user and intended use for the application. The software packages they work on can be as high-profile as a network browser or as obscure as an invisible website cookie.
  • Computer Science Professor:
    With a PhD, a computer expert can become a professor in a college or university. While colleges can hire computer science instructors with a master's degree, they are unlikely to gain a full-time, much less a tenure-track, position. However, computer scientists who have achieved fantastic things in the business world may still be called to lecture at the undergraduate level despite having limited academic credentials.
  • Security Consultant (cyber security):
    This field is red-hot these days. Every public and private entity in the nation is anxious to protect its digital assets. Malware and ransomware attacks are becoming routine, and security consultants are thus called to assess a firm's cyber security protocols. Consultants may redesign a firm's whole approach to cyber security, or they may work as penetration testers who attempt to hack a system or otherwise discover its flaws.

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