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What is Computer Science?
In Nebraska, corn, ethanol, and livestock (the golden triangle) are vital to Nebraska’s economic health. This state is second in producing ethanol and it’s in the top three for its corn production. Beyond agriculture, manufacturing is the state’s top economic producer; finance and insurance are second. Other top businesses include real estate, rental, and leasing; professional and business services; and educational services, healthcare, and social assistance.
Computer science and cyber security work together to help organizations analyze and store data and to help stop data breaches. Professionals from both specialties work together to increase protections, patch weaknesses, and turn back cyber-attacks.
Computer science professionals can focus their work on software development, databases, or networks, among other things. The professional’s job title may be influenced by their degree and their organization since some companies assign specific names to particular job roles in the field.
Along with duties such as writing and programming software, a computer science professional may develop applications or focus on data maintenance or protection. These professionals may work as IT specialists or support specialists or any number of other options as an entry-level position. But they may move into database management, software or hardware development, and more once they have some education under their belts.
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Online Computer Science Education in Nebraska
Though they may not seem connected, computer science and all of its specialties, such as software development, are critical to the economic well-being of this state. So, which industries are looking for college graduates who have earned their degrees in computer science or information technology? More than you might think.
Healthcare - Computer professionals in medical offices and hospitals are working closely with the professionals in these industries to provide everything they need in terms of storage and privacy. Electronic health records (EHRs) have taken over paper patient records, wearable devices are gathering patient data, hospitals are buying both virtual and mixed reality technology, which doctors can use in learning new surgical procedures.
IT also worked to transform healthcare and ensure that hospitals and practices comply with the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to digitize all health records by 2014.
- Finance - Credit union members and banking customers check their bank accounts online every day. This allows them to know how much money is in their accounts and even move money around or pay their bills without writing checks. IT professionals and cyber security professionals help to stop data breaches and to create the software and apps that their customers use.
- Retail - Here, IT professionals develop websites for customers to use in E-commerce, software to let marketers analyze customer behavior via business intelligence programs, and apps allowing online or mobile purchases.
- Manufacturing - The Internet of Things and automation merge with manufacturing to develop new and more modern products.
- Forestry - Foresters use technology to decide which trees to cut down, enhance conservation, and prevent destructive soil erosion.
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Depending on the student’s professional goals, they may need to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, quality assurance, software engineering, or a related field. Some employers may require their lead engineering or management personnel to hold a master’s degree.
Online Associate Degree in Computer Science (AS)
Community college students may earn an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science in Information Technology, Computer Science, or another similar field. At this level, students must complete around 60 credit hours of coursework to graduate. These degree programs can also provide students with the ability to transfer to a four-year degree program, in which it should only take two more years to complete their degree.
Courses students in these programs take include general education. These courses include those in Health Education, English and Literature, Foreign Language, Physical Sciences, Communication, History, Social Sciences, etc. These are the same courses that most students must take in their first two years of a bachelor’s degree and, if your school has a transfer agreement, can mean that you will not need to take any of the general education once you begin your bachelor’s. After this, students take their core courses that are focused on their chosen degree. These teach students about processes and basic knowledge in computer science.
After graduation, they may find employment opportunities in roles such as help desk technician, IT technician, web developer, systems administrator, systems analyst, database administrator, site reliability engineer, software developer, or information security analyst.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science (BS)
Organizations and government agencies need computer science professionals who are able to help them stay current with new developments in technology. Colleges, universities, and online computer science programs are ready to educate students who will graduate and begin working as computer science professionals in private companies, non-profits, and government organizations.
Graduates should find that the prospects for employment are excellent; organizations have had difficulty finding sufficient numbers of computer science professionals in recent years. Depending on the industry graduates are interested in, they should be able to find a position that blends well with their interests.
Even while students are still in school, they can find opportunities that can enrich their classroom learning. For instance, Google has a Summer of Code program which helps put theory into practice. Career options include web developer; software developer; and computer systems analyst.
Online Master's Degree in Computer Science (MS)
Students looking for academic programs which can lead to promotions and greater professional opportunity should consider earning a master’s in computer science. Some schools require their incoming students to have a strong background in computer science, while others may be willing to fill in the gaps for those who are looking to make a shift in their career trajectory from business into the computer science field. Even so, there may be prerequisite requirements in mathematics, programming languages, database structure and use, operating systems, and other subjects. It’s dependent on the school, so you should check this out thoroughly before setting your heart on any specific program.
Careers for graduates may include computer network architect, computer and information research scientist, software developer, database administrator, computer and information systems manager, information security manager, web developer, computer systems analyst, and mobile app developer.
Online PhD Degree in Computer Science (PhD)
A PhD in Information Technology or any other computer science field will focus heavily on research. These programs revolve around interdisciplinary informatics, computer science, and management information systems, among other options. Students will earn doctoral degrees upon completion of any PhD program, no matter what their focus is; and they gain a solid foundation in scholarship after graduation. This should lead to placement in a position which best suits their professional strengths, whether that is management or a high-level academic role. The majority of those who complete PhDs do so to gain tenure at a university or move forward into a research position.
To be admitted to one of these programs, students should have a solid foundation in the program’s core areas and should be able to demonstrate a high level of commit to the field.
Students earning their PhDs will interpret and combine research literature from several areas of the IT disciple, identify research questions and create the best approaches for investigation, show the ability to contribute to scholarly literature, and effectively engage students as they teach IT content.
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Become a CIS Professional in Nebraska
IT and computer science professionals may want to earn certifications for several reasons. They may be on the hunt for a new position or more responsibility and they are looking to learn new skills which will allow them to do more. However, it’s important to note that it is not a state requirement for computer science professionals to hold any licensure or certification. The need for certification lies completely in the needs of the hiring companies or the need of the employee to gain certain skills.
Specific roles may require that professionals earn certifications. These include project manager, systems engineer, software developer, security manager, and network administrator. Here are just some of the certifications that you can choose to earn to support your career in computer science.
- Cisco Certified Network Associate: Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching Certification
Professionals learn about the installation, monitoring, and troubleshooting of network infrastructure products produced by Cisco. Network professionals learn to handle the shift from traditional networks over to software-driven network architecture. The certification is ideal for both network administrators and engineers. Participants should have up to three years of networking experience.
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer: App Builder
For software developers, this certification focuses on developing mobile or web applications, as well as quality assurance. Professionals who want to earn this certifications should earn the MCSA certification first, then pass the required exams in development and programming. Knowledge of C# and ASP.Net may be helpful.
- CompTIA Security+
This certification is for IT professionals working in cyber security and looking to move into intermediate roles as security administrators, IT auditors, network administrators, or systems administrators.
This professional certification helps candidates gain the basic cyber security skills and techniques they need. These include intrusion detection, risk management and mitigation, and threat management. You will find performance-based questions on the exam that evaluate IT security problem-solving competency.
Potential Careers for Computer Science Graduates
- Software Cyber Tester
Software testers create testing scenarios, looking for the usability of software. They run tests and write reports on the effectiveness of the software, as well as any defects noted, and then send the report to the production team. This professional may also be called a quality assurance (QA) tester or software test engineer.
- Technology Director
A technology director supervises every technology operation and evaluates them based on established goals. They create and establish IT systems and policies, which helps support the rollout of strategies set by upper management. They also analyze the organization’s business requirements in all departments, determining their technology needs.
- UI Developer
- Application Developer
Application developers may also be called software architects or software developers. They have the responsibility of developing source code and modifying it for different software applications.
In addition to creating source code, the application developer also tests the code and debugs any issues it may have. They may develop technical handbooks representing the code and design of new apps.
- IT Project Manager
This professional is in charge of large-scale IT projects; they plan, coordinate, carry out, and supervise these projects. They generally use chosen staff from other internal departments but may also make use of external resources. The project manager makes sure that everyone complies with project and budgetary requirements.
- Senior Database Administrator
This professional takes responsibility of the design and installation of databases from all supported database platforms. They also carry out, administer, provide support, and ensure security of the databases, as well as documenting everything concerning the databases.
They are responsible for every database management function: the strategic planning, the management, support, and performance tuning of every database application.
- Cyber Security Analyst
Security analysts have an important role in protecting an organization’s sensitive and proprietary information. They work with various departments to identify and repair flaws in the organization’s security systems, programs, and solutions; they also recommend specific measures which may help improve the organization’s overall security posture.
- Data Scientist or Data Analyst
A data scientist is responsible for mining, or extracting, good, usable data from good data sources. They may use machine learning tools to choose features and create and optimize classifiers; they complete preprocessing of both structured and unstructured data; and improve data collection procedures to include all relevant information in developing analytic systems.
- Computer Science Professor
A computer professor develops and designs a curriculum which will encourage student learning. They teach courses in computer science and information sciences. They stimulate class discussions and make sure students are engaged in discussions and learning. They may also provide academic counseling and tutoring and they maintain class-related records and grade student coursework.