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What is Computer Science?
Georgia’s top industries include information, which is everything related to computer science, artificial intelligence, cyber security, network administration and anything connected to computers as well as real estate, finance and retail, and more.
Computer science professionals most basic role is to give instructions to computers, guiding how the computers handle the same task over and over again, as the computer scientist works to solve a problem facing the real world. Some of the tools they use include algorithms they create, written code, and their creativity, which can help them get through a stubborn problem.
This is an esoteric and vague description of the tasks a computer science professional might engage in, but the positions you can hold with this degree are broad and depend on the company where you work, certifications you earn, what level of education you gain, and much more.
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Computer Science Education in Georgia
Georgia’s employment numbers for the information sector are promising. There has only been one month in which there was a drop in the employment of computer science professionals. Every other month in 2021 has shown a positive gain in employment, which means that students who are considering computer science as a profession would be well-advised to plan to enter school and major in computer science.
In another area, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that, between 2019 and 2029, computer and information systems positions will grow by 11%. Graduates with two-year degrees can find employment in entry-level work in the industry and those who hold bachelor’s degrees may be able to open even more doors in the field.
Some computer science professionals have gone to school and learned how to write code to complete specific tasks. Other professionals may design and engineer the various components of computer hardware or they may create software which runs and completes specific tasks, such as allowing other professionals to create and make the best use of spreadsheets for data reporting purposes.
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Here, you can take a look at the top 10 industries in the Peach State:
- #1 Real estate, rental, and leasing - $74.1 billion
- #2 Professional and business services - $72.8 billion
- #3 Manufacturing - $63.3 billion
- $4 Finance and Insurance - $47.8 billion
- #5 Information - $46.2 billion
- #6 Educational services, healthcare, and social assistance - $45.3 billion
- #7 Wholesale trade - $45 billion
- #8 Retail trade - $32 billion
- #9 Transportation and warehousing - $25.3 billion
- $10 Construction - $24.8 billion
Associate Degree in Computer Science (AS)
Computer science students at this level learn about the theoretical foundations of the field. This might include the basics of what type of work can be done in a virtual environment and the existing programs that can allow them to perform these tasks. The skills they learn introduce them to practical techniques so that they are able to apply and use them in their roles as computer science professionals.
After graduation, new computer science professionals may work as web designers, robotics programmers, Android and iOS developers, and video game designers, among others. However, though experience and self-directed learning used to be the main way computer science professionals would progress in the field, there is now much more emphasis put on education. There are also many more educational paths those interested in this field can choose to follow.
Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science (BSCS)
At the bachelor’s level, students learn about the math and logic foundations that support computing. They may also learn how to create computer programs that solve problems. In their courses, students learn the computing technologies in operating systems, graphics, hardware, database systems, networks, and at least some of the basics of artificial intelligence. They may also learn about the human-computer interaction in some of their classes.
At this level, students take prerequisite courses, science courses, and programming languages. Before they earn their undergraduate degree, students may also gain practical experience through internships, which can help them as they start their first jobs after graduation.
Some career paths for graduates of a bachelor’s degree in computer science include computer programmer, applications analyst, data scientist, computer support specialist, database administrator, IT architect, hardware engineer, machine learning engineer (artificial intelligence), and more.
Master's Degree in Computer Science (MCS)
Many job openings may require a master of science in computer science, especially those that include any level of management. Students who want to go beyond constructing simple programs, working with databases, or performing support work know that a higher degree may be required for their goals. Enrolling in a master of science degree program allows students to deepen their knowledge of the issues and challenges that are developing in the digital arena.
In their master’s program, students learn how to create sophisticated algorithms and craft unusual approaches to gathering data and managing it. Some possible career fields may include electrical engineering, cyber security, data science, artificial intelligence, robotics, and more.
PhD Degree in Computer Science (PhD)
A PhD or doctoral degree program in this field isn’t limited only to computer science professionals. Instead, students may come from teaching or other technology fields. They may also have earned non-computer science degrees.
The required curriculum often includes around forty-eight hours of PhD coursework with 12 hours of core courses, 12 hours of breadth courses, and 24 hours of elective courses. It can take anywhere from four years to seven years for PhD students to complete their final educational goal.
PhD graduates tend to work either in research or in academia no matter what they study. Doctoral graduates in computer science may find work in universities, government agencies, or research institutions. Or they may work in an IT company or biotech company such as Anthem, GE, Google, or Thermo Fisher Scientific.
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Become a CIS Professional in Georgia
Unlike accountants of counseling professionals, states do not require any form of licensure or certification for the majority of computer science professionals. However, that doesn’t mean that employers will not require certification depending on the industry they are in and the roles they are trying to fill.
Some computer science or IT professionals may be required to seek and obtain certifications that pertain to their particular expertise in this field. These are usually professional certifications, which are different from that which is earned in a university or college certification program.
A professional certification signifies competence in a specialty of computer science or IT. It also solidifies the professional’s knowledge or experience with methods, products, or even professional practices. Some certifications prove the holder’s ability with a specific technique, while others are offered by companies to prepare workers to use the programs or services that they offer.
Some of the professional roles that require certification may include software developers, project managers, systems engineers, security managers, and network administrators. The reason for this is because these professionals are required to use their technical expertise to work with, manage, and protect vital operations and sensitive data. This is why some employers require that their IT professionals possess credentials that prove their expertise.
Vendors may create certification programs for professionals who use their products. These certifications include:
- Cisco Certified Network Associate
- Cisco Certified Design Professional
- Cisco Certified Network Professional
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate
Professional associations, non-profit organizations, and others also provide certifications for those experts in the IT field.
Professional Software Developer Certification
- CompTIA A+
- CompTIA Linux+
- Project Management Professional
- Certified ScrumMaster
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- Certified Information Security Manager
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- IT Information Library Foundations Certification (ITIL)
- Software Engineering Master Certification (SEMC)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional - Architecture (CISSP)
Careers for Computer Science Graduates
- Software Tester
Software testers create test scenarios to check on the usability of software. They run these tests and write the reports on the software effectiveness and any defects and send their reports to the production team.
This position may also be known as a software test engineer or a quality assurance tester (QA tester). The software tester may also communicate with company clients, as they try to understand the product’s requirements.
- Systems Analyst
A well-rounded systems analyst must fully understand the industry they work within as well as their clients technology requirements. They may bring new technology into existing systems after they have completed cost-benefit analyses, ensuring the new systems will be financially sound.
- Technical Support Specialist / IT Support Specialist
A technical support specialist helps to maintain and repair IT systems. Among their duties, they may diagnose and repair faults in the system, resolve problems with the network, and install and configure new hardware and software.
Whether support specialists are helping customers or employees in a large organization, they need to be able to interact and communicate face-to-face, via phone, or email. This requires good communication skills. They may also need good writing skills so they can write up documentation. Additionally, being able to multitask and work on more than one case at a time is also a necessity.
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- Cyber Security Analyst
This professional provides protection to hardware, software, and company networks from cyber-criminals who would get into the systems to steal data or lock the company out. They have to understand the company’s IT infrastructure in the most minute detail, monitor it continuously, and evaluate threats that may disable the company’s or client’s network. Their job responsibility is to always be looking for new ways to increase the company’s protection of its sensitive data and networks.
- Technology Director
This role involves the management and supervision of an organization’s technical operations. The IT director oversees the employees in the IT department to ensure that all technology systems are providing support to the organization’s goals and objectives.
The technology director may also work in collaboration with other departments, determining their technological needs and develop solutions that are in line with the overall organization’s objectives. A successful technology director has an excellent tech aptitude and top-notch skills in managing both people and projects.
- IT Project Manager
This professional is responsible for taking on large IT projects, planning them, putting them into operation, and coordinating and overseeing the project to completion. Working on and completing IT projects may require the project manager to choose staff from other departments to work on the project and they may also use external resources. While they are working on and managing a project, the PM documents instructions for end-users (employees) and helps with testing the final product to ensure it is operating as expected.
- Full Stack Software Developer
This professional is a computer programmer who has skills in both front-end and back-end coding. They design user interactions for websites, develop databases for functionality, and code them for mobile platforms. Full stack developers accept projects and oversee them from beginning to the final product.