Computer science: The best degree in tech - Engineering & Natural Sciences

Computer science: The best degree in tech

If you wrote an algorithm to find the best degree in tech, you’d need it to check a few big boxes.  

You’d want a degree that led to high job satisfaction. Opportunities pretty much everywhere you look. Top-of-the-charts pay. A degree with the chance to mix right-brain creativity with left-brain number-crunching and analytical skills. 

With those inputs, your program would likely say: “Get a computer science degree!” 

For years, the amount of computer science jobs have outnumbered eligible candidates. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, two-thirds of all new STEM jobs are in computing — but just 11% of STEM bachelor’s degrees are in computer science. 

close-up photo of a young man at a desk with two laptop computers and a pad of paper open in front of himCOVID-19 has only accelerated the need for skilled software programmers, web developers, network architects and other jobs you can pursue with a major in computer science. 

“Companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years,” wrote the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. in a report published in October. “And the share of digital or digitally enabled products in their portfolios has accelerated by a shocking seven years.” 

Everything’s going digital, fast. And students with computer science degrees are in a prime position to benefit. 

Starting salaries for computer science grads are expected to rise this year by 7.1%, to $72,173. That’s the highest among all the majors surveyed, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.  

Nearly half of the employers surveyed in the study said they plan to hire newly minted computer science graduates this spring. And those jobs aren’t just in Silicon Valley. Organizations everywhere seek out the kind of skills computer science graduates bring to the table. 

“Computer science is an incredibly versatile degree,” said John Hale, chair of the Tandy School of Computer Science at The University of Tulsa. “Every business, every organization, relies on the skills that computer science graduates bring to the table. People tend to think of computer scientists simply as programmers, but it’s a much broader field than that.”  

In fact, you probably won’t find a lot of job postings for “computer scientist.” Instead, you’ll see job titles such as “data scientist” (average pay: $100,560), “network architect” (median pay: $112,690 a year), “information security analyst” (median pay: $99,730 a year), “network administrator” (median pay: $83,510 a year) and “web developer” (median pay: $73,760 a year).  

Here are just a few of the places where computer science skills are put to work: 

  • Data centers. Behind all the websites and apps we all rely on, big data centers power the Internet. How big, you ask? Amazon’s data operation, Amazon Web Services, pulled in more revenue last year than Coca-Cola. At The University of Tulsa, our expertise in web services, sensors, cloud computing and cybersecurity gives you a leg up in pursuing work on the Cloud of Things.  
  • Government. Cybersecurity is a growing threat — and to keep people safe, government agencies need more computer science experts than they can find. Some estimates hold that the U.S. needs to boost its workforce by more than 60% to fill available positions. 
  • Health care. Computers are reshaping medicine, from the laboratory to the patient bedside. Increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence help researchers turn piles of data into leads for new treatments. And as hospitals and other organizations put patient records online, skilled computer science experts are needed to not just build those networks but to also ensure they stay secure. 
  • Retail. Increasingly, “going shopping” means logging online. The National Retail Federation predicts that online sales will jump nearly 20% in 2021, accounting for a quarter of all retail revenue. But making sure customers can find what they want, when they want it, is a huge challenge. And it’s one that computer science grads can help solve, as they develop systems to predict demand and ensure the right products are in stock on store shelves and warehouses. 

Learn more about computer science at The University of Tulsa 

The Tandy School of Computer Science at TU has been preparing students for careers like these for many years. With majors and minors in computer science and computer simulation and gaming, as well as minors in bioinformatics, computational sciences, cybersecurity, data science and high-performance computing, you’ll build a foundation for any of these careers — and discover skills for ones that haven’t even been invented yet. In our advanced labs, specializing in Internet-connected consumer devices, critical infrastructure, network architecture and more, you have a chance to participate in meaningful research early on, even as an undergraduate.