The future is bright for computer science graduates or professionals, but more so for those with graduate degrees in the field. Knowledge and expertise in computer science is crucial in today’s economy, marked by rapid technological advances.
The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics notes that employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. They add that computer scientists are likely to enjoy excellent job prospects as many companies report difficulties in finding highly skilled workers.
As technology continues to evolve at an accelerated pace, the demand for computer science professionals who have the capabilities to not only cope, but progress with its advancements is crucial to stay competitive in our global job market. As newer forms of technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), become mainstream, graduates will want to keep abreast of new developments in the field.
Those looking to enhance their career prospects, be it in academia, research or across various businesses, industrial or even governmental, will find acquiring advanced knowledge of computer theory and technology highly useful. The US has long been home to many top institutions that specialise in the field, making it an attractive option for international students. For instance, a report from digital mortgage broker Mojo Mortgages has found that most unicorn (tech startups valued at US$1 billion) company founders studied at US universities.
If your interest is piqued, here are four public US universities that are producing the next generation of leaders in computer science:
Located in the Dallas Metroplex in Texas, the University of Texas at Dallas has one of the largest Computer Science Departments in the US, with 3,315 undergraduate students, 1,110 masters students, 165 PhD students, 50 tenure-track faculty members, 44 full-time instructional faculty and over 500 part-time student employees. It offers nearly 300 course-sections that cover almost every area of computer science and software engineering.
The UT Dallas Computer Science Department faculty are engaged in cutting edge research funded by the National Science Foundation, DARPA, Department of Defense, and industry to the tune of nearly $9 million per year. The department is particularly strong in AI, machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), data science, software engineering, cybersecurity, theory, systems and networking. As a testament to its prowess, UT Dallas has many accolades under its belt, including being ranked 5th in the US for AI undergraduate studies by Great Value Colleges, 7th in US for NLP research, 11th in US for AI research and 5th in US for software engineering research on csrankings.org.
The degree program offers intensive preparation in design, programming, theory and applications of computing. Training is provided for both academically oriented students and students who aspire to work in world’s leading tech companies such as Facebook, Amazon.com, Microsoft, Google, and Apple, where a number of UT Dallas graduates work. Aspiring graduate students can choose from numerous programs, including Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science or in Software Engineering. Nearly all students enrolled in the PhD program are fully funded, receiving a monthly stipend of about US$2,000 per month and full tuition coverage.
This public university was founded in 1965, and is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. UCI is known for its academic achievement and premier research and innovation. Located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities, this is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing US$5 billion annually to the local economy.
As an independent school focused solely on the computer and information sciences, ICS has a unique perspective on the IT disciplines, acting as a broad foundation for them to build educational programmes and research initiatives that explore the many applications of the computing discipline, be it circuits and systems to software engineering and human aspects of computing. By blending research with education in multiple disciplines, ICS is leading interdisciplinary efforts to meet the challenges of the future.
The school aims to lead the innovation of new information and computing technology by fundamental research in the core areas of information and computer sciences and cultivating authentic, cutting-edge research collaborations across the broad range of computing and information application domains as well as studying their economic, commercial and social significance.
The school’s Department of Computer Science curricula, faculty and research areas focus on a range of topics, including algorithms and complexity; AI and machine learning; biomedical informatics and computational biology; software engineering, among others. ICS offers a variety of graduate computer science programmes, including the Professional Master of Computer Science, MS and PhD in Computer Science; and MS and PhD in Networked Systems.
NJIT established the WYCC in 2001; a facility that teaches a broad range of computing disciplines to students on campus and online, in addition to carrying out cutting-edge computing research, and working closely with the industry. They also support faculty and student innovation and collaborate with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The WYCC builds on three decades of experience in computing education and research. The faculty is engaged in cutting-edge research in areas ranging from networking and computer security to big data analytics, to bioinformatics, gaming and virtual reality. Here, students have access to mobile devices, high-end workstations, game development software, robots, and networking equipment – both wired and wireless.
Despite being the largest computing programme in the region, classes remain small, averaging under 30 students. To ensure students’ career-readiness, the curriculum features multiple team projects and co-op programmes in collaboration with industry, ensuring graduates are groomed for a wide range of employment options.
WYCC offers graduate degrees in various areas of computing that aims to challenge, stimulate and prepare students for career growth in the high tech world of the 21st century. These include the MSc in Computer Science, MSc in Information Systems, MSc in Bioinformatics, MSc in Software Engineering, among others.
WYCC also has an Industrial Affiliates Programme, a platform for bridging traditional boundaries between NJIT and industry to form mutually beneficial relationships.
Located in Madison, South Dakota, DSU is a public university founded in 1881. The school has grown from strength to strength, standing among the most technologically advanced campuses in the Midwest. DSU specialises in computer management, computer information systems, and other related undergraduate and graduate programmes. It places special emphasis on the preparation of teachers with expertise in the use of computer technology in the teaching and learning process.
Students benefit from an intimate learning environment; class sizes are small, while the student–faculty ratio is 17.4:1. Prospective graduate students can pursue graduate programmes such as the MSc in Computer Science, MSc in Cyber Defense, Doctor of Philosophy in Cyber Defense and Doctor of Philosophy in Cyber Operations.
The website notes that the MSc Computer Science is different from traditional computer science programmes. Other CS programmes focus primarily on the theoretical aspects of computer systems and computability; the CS programme builds upon these same foundations, but emphasises the practical application of computer science. Graduates can branch into careers as cyber security specialists, software developers, and more.
*Some of the institutions features in this article are commercial partners of Study International