Where Can a Master’s Degree in Computer Science Take You?

Computer science has a long and storied history. Since Charles Babbage invented his analytical engine in 1837, people have worked towards the refinement and expansion of humankind’s ability to compute. Key figures like Alan Turing and Marvin Minsky pushed the field into new realms. Today, computer science is a complex and diverse field encompassing all sorts of specialties and with relevancy to a whole host of career paths. The world around us is driven by computing more than ever before.

As computer science evolved, so did computer science education. In 1953 Cambridge University offered the first ever degree in computer science. Around a decade later, in the early 1960’s the first Master’s and Doctorate level qualifications in computer science were offered in the United Kingdom and the United States. Today, thousands of universities worldwide offer qualifications of varying quality in the field. Where exactly can a Master’s degree in computer science take you? Here are some of the career paths and research fields that such a qualification can open up for a diligent student. It is important to remember that computing is an absolutely vast field. If you want to get ahead, you’ll likely need to specialize before you get to Master’s level. Where does your passion lie? For those who want to up their game and get a qualification whilst at work or locked down due to COVID-19, taking on a masters in computer science online is possible. Well renowned universities are investing more and more in online learning. 

Systems Engineering

Computer scientists are in high demand as systems engineers. Systems engineers design, implement and maintain complex systems – often in IT. A Master’s level degree in computer science is invaluable if you want to become a successful systems engineer. Practical and theoretical knowledge of how digital systems operate and interact is essential when constructing or maintaining a system for governmental, business, or any other commercial function. 

Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence, first seriously theorized upon by Alan Turing and made famous by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov, is finally becoming a reality. Not quite in the way which Asimov predicted, mind you. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are revolutionizing the way we interact with machines. Machine learning involves the complex growth of a computer’s communicative acumen through an intake of knowledge. It is being employed in everything from translation tools to caregiving robots. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are cutting edge fields. Whilst a Master’s degree in computer science will absolutely put you in good stead to go into these industries; it may be worth looking at postgraduate research qualifications if you want to head up any major developments. 

Alternately, the application of these technologies to pre-existing fields is a huge part of computer science in itself. 

Data Analysis 

Almost all large businesses and governmental organizations make use of data analysts. Data analysis is absolutely crucial for market or population research. We live in an age going through a crisis of accumulation. Because we spend so much of our time online, we create absolutely masses of data as we go through our lives. Making sense of all this information are data analysts. 

Data analysis isn’t just about counting. It concerns data representation, unpicking the meaning of data, and forecasting what it might mean for the future. Long term business strategy would flounder without data analysts. The complexity of social movement and demographic trends cannot be understood by analyzing data alone, but they can be investigated thoroughly. Cutting edge computer science in this field involves the use of algorithms to make sense of masses of data, the innovative visualization of findings, and the development of consumer data analysis software.

Game Development

Game development is big business. Ever since the release of Pong in 1972, games have been subject to innovation and upheaval. The gaming industry is worth an estimated 151 billion dollars as of 2020. The best game developers are talented computer scientists but also creative thinkers that have an eye for kinetics, story, and beauty. Games developers usually work in large teams alongside writers and directors. However, in recent years, independent game developers have found success working on small scale projects alone. The indie game market has been aided by platforms such as steam, which hosts independent games alongside major titles. 

Forensic Computer Analysis

Forensic computer analysts can work in law enforcement, cybersecurity, espionage, or counter-espionage. By far, the most disturbing threats to the stability of democratic countries in the last ten years have come from cyber attacks. Computer scientists were instrumental in discovering the work of the St Petersburg Troll Factory and uncovering efforts to influence European and American Politics. 

The forensic analysis of computer systems is extremely useful for law enforcement agencies wishing to uncover evidence of criminal activity. Forensic computer analysts often find well-paid work as private cybersecurity consultants. Beefing up digital security measures at organizations that fear hacking and corporate espionage is a complex task that takes great cunning as well as computer science acumen. 

Software Engineering

Software engineering is a branch of computer engineering concerned with the development of applications and software. Vast amounts of investment are being poured into software engineering. This is partially because of the ubiquity of applications and software. Perhaps even more so than hardware, the quality of software determines almost all of our technology’s functionality. Innovative software engineers are paid handsomely and can work in fascinating areas. 

The specializations within software engineering warrant an entirely separate article. Needless to say, there are plenty of them. Work in software engineering can range from cutting edge, socially revolutionary development to the dull coding of business applications. Only the most talented computer scientists can find high paying work in a field they are passionate about. Specialize early and identify gaps in the market and problems with existing software. Think of it as scientific creativity.