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About the Major
Computer science explores computer programming in-depth, from theory to innovative computer solutions development. It provides the solid foundation in reasoning and logic needed to make processes more efficient and build intelligence capabilities into systems.
Jobs in Computer Science
- Data scientist
- Software developer
- Research scientist
- Systems analyst
- Database administrator
Video Game Tinkering Led to Computer Security Career
Growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, DeMarcus Williams liked to tinker with the family computer and his PlayStation console. “What particularly interested me was making the games behave in ways they weren’t meant to” — like getting characters to walk through walls.
Now he lives in Maryland, near Baltimore, and he tries to make important parts of the internet behave exactly as they’re meant to. He’s a security engineer with Amazon Web Services, the world’s biggest cloud computing company.
When AWS engineers create a new feature or upgrade, “that can’t go into production until it goes through my team first.” It’s a painstaking process. They look for vulnerabilities in not only the new code itself, but also all of the devilishly complicated ways it will interact with existing AWS code.
“The people who go above and beyond, who may participate in competitions, who may have a side project or two, those are the candidates that stick out coming right out of college.”
Williams graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2018 with a degree in computer science. He worked first for the defense contractor Raytheon before moving to AWS.
Two professors, Dr. Todd McDonald and department Chair Dr. Todd Andel, especially helped prepare him for his career. They’re both Air Force veterans with computer security backgrounds. They occasionally taught special topics courses for small groups of eight or so students.
“It was a great learning opportunity to get to pick their brains about actually doing security stuff for the military,” Williams said. “It was way cooler than sitting in one of my other classes.”
Those are the kinds of bonus opportunities that all computer science students should grab, he said.
“I interview candidates for Amazon, so I look at resumes all the time. Anybody can go to class and do their schoolwork and that’s it. But the people who go above and beyond, who may participate in competitions, who may have a side project or two, those are the candidates that stick out coming right out of college.”
Did You Know?
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in computer and information technology occupations will grow 11% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding 531,200 new jobs.
- The federal government has designated the School of Computing as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.
- The accelerated bachelor’s to master’s program in computer science typically allows students to complete the master’s degree within one academic year after completing the bachelor’s.