In the age where powerful artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT exist, is a master in computer science worth it?
The short answer? Yes, a master’s in computer science degree is still worth it.
Although the media has sensationalised the impressive features of what AI tools are capable of, human experts are still required design, develop, and maintain these systems.
Students and graduates of computer science degrees shouldn’t have to worry about having their jobs replaced by AI.
Instead, they should embrace these new technologies that’ll help increase their productivity.
In fact, the demand for computer science professionals is expected to grow as technology advances, creating new job opportunities and challenges that require human expertise.
The US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) projects job outlooks for computer science professionals will remain positive despite the introduction of advanced AI tools.
Employment in this industry is projected to grow about 21% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Is a master in computer science worth it?
Unsurprisingly, computer science is the among the most-searched degrees in the US, given its status as one of the fastest-growing subjects in the world, according to a research done by The University of the Potomac.
Similarly, a survey by Forbes on a class of 2022 high school graduates showed that computer science was among the popular areas of interest mainly due to potentially lucrative careers and high salaries.
The salary ranges of computer science graduates vary according to their chosen speciality.
To paint a picture, Payscale.com reports that a software engineer in the US can earn an average of US$88,946, while a Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Engineer can earn an average of US$125,873.
Before we can answer the question, “Is a master in computer science worth it?”, let’s first understand what pursuing this degree entails.
Computer science is the study of computers and computational systems. Unlike electrical and computer engineers, computer scientists deal mostly with software and software systems.
In general, graduate degree classes for computer science will be very different from undergraduate studies. Unlike at an undergraduate level, where you only delve into theories of the subject matter, you can expect all your graduate classes to require a deep understanding of the subject matter.
Some of the courses you’ll learn in a master’s of computer science are:
- Artificial intelligence
- Computer and network security
- Information management
- Human-centred computing
What is ChatGPT?
Imagine the Magic 8 ball but one that can answer more complicated questions. That’s ChatGPT.
What makes this chatbot unique is its ability to learn quickly.
ChatGPT’s ability to produce entire sentences comes from its “learnings” of the model — making it a powerful tool that anyone can ask to do basically everything, from translation to writing essays.
Open AI, the company behind the AI tool, recently launched a new version of the programme in March. 13.
The newly launched ChatGPT-4 includes updates such as accepting images as inputs, handling over 25,000 words of text and having advanced reasoning capabilities.
The platform has also collaborated with organisations such as Duolingo, Khan Academy and even the government of Iceland to preserve the Icelandic language.
“GPT-4 is significantly safer to use than the previous generation. It can reportedly produce 40% more factual responses in OpenAI’s own internal testing, while also being 82% less likely to respond to requests for disallowed content,” shares the AI company.
All in all, is a master in computer science worth it? Yes.
While AI undoubtedly has a significant impact on the field of computer science, it is unlikely to replace the need for skilled human professionals.
Looking at it with a glass-half-full perspective, AI will continue to complement and enhance the work of computer science graduates, further allowing them to tackle new challenges.