Computer Science

Increasing use of computer and information technology has spurred the need for workers with specialized skills which include database administrators, computer scientists, and network system analysts. Job duties and specializations continue to change as technology evolves.

Computer scientists can be inventors, researchers, or theorists. Computer scientists with theoretical expertise apply their knowledge to fix problems and develop new technology which can include hardware development, complex theory, and programming-language development. Certain researchers develop virtual reality technology or robots. Computer scientists can work with other specialists such as electrical engineers to develop complex machinery and computer systems.

Computer science researchers working at schools have similar job responsibilities as other computer scientists. Those working for schools usually have more time to focus on theoretical applications while those working for corporations or organizations focus on company projects intended to generate revenue. Some researchers in the private sector have more flexibility to determine the projects they work on.

The Internet has made large quantities of data accessible, so there is an increasing need to extract, store, and manage data. Database administrators are computer scientists who specialize in database management systems (software used to store and organize data). Database administrators remove data from old systems, transfer it to new systems, and fix technical problems. Since databases are connected to the internet, and more sensitive information is transmitted online, database administrators coordinate with network administrators to develop network security and thwart unauthorized access to information.

Network systems and data communications analysts, also known as network architects, are computer scientists that design networks such as (LANs), local area networks, (WANs), intranets, the internet and other networks. Network connections can include the linking of two offices to globally integrated networks. Network systems and data communications analysts use hardware and software to perform network analysis and planning. Some networks may require hubs, routers, cables and wireless adapters in conjunction with software or network drivers. Analysts may also conduct research and make recommendations.

Telecommunication specialists are computer scientists thatintegrate computers and communication equipment, including voice and data communication systems. They also install and maintain communication systems.

The expansion of the internet has led to the creation of numerous specialists working on websites and servers. Webmasters are responsible to maintain websites, and if necessary, improve the function and speed of the site. Internet developers or web developers, also known as web designers, design, create, and update websites.

Work Environment
Computer scientists, including database admnistrators, network architects and computer systems analysts, typically work 40 hour weeks in comfortable offices, but sometimes they work nights and weekends to resolve technical problems or meet deadlines. Telecommuting has enabled computer scientists to increase productivity, but for security reasons, some work must be done at the office.

Computer scientists may experience back pain, eye strain, or carpal tunnel syndrome from working in front of computers all day.

Training and Education Requirements
While their is no prescribed path to launching a successful career in computer science, many employers that hire computer scientists consider a bachelor's degree in computer science or a closely related discipline to be a prerequisite to entry-level job placement. However, some positions may only require a 2-year associate degree, and yet some require a graduate degree. While education is important, skill and knowledge are more important. At the end of day, what you can actually do will determine how successful you are as a computer scientist.

Ever evolving technology requires that computer scientist are always at the top of their game. They often take continuing education courses and are required to stay abreast of the lastest technological break throughs, inventions and evolutions in computer science and technology.

Most community colleges these days offer 2-year associate degrees and/or extensive course work in computer science or a related technology discipline. Many community colleges and technical schools also offer various technology certificates and certifications that will prepare students for career opportunities in computer science related occupations.

The majority of four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor degree programs computer science or a closely related technology disciplines. Many also offer master's and doctorate degrees in computer science. Colleges and universities offering degrees in computer science often have hybrid programs that include course work in engineering. These hybrid programs prepare students for more advanced careers in computer science and technology fields and positions.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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