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10 Online Computer Science Degree Specializations

10 Specialties in the Field of Computer Science

computer science fields of specialization

With a growing job market, computer science is a popular major for college students. Computer science majors can enhance their employment potential by choosing a specific computer science specialization. While many of these fields overlap with each other, they allow students to focus on a specific interest area. After graduation, students can use their computer science specialization to attain jobs that match their interests.


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1. Artificial Intelligence

Science fiction films often use artificial intelligence machines to drive along the storyline, but in the real world, AI is a hot specialization.

Courses about artificial intelligence cover the main principles and techniques. Students may study machine learning, logical reasoning, natural language processing, probabilistic modeling, and knowledge representation. Each course is designed to help students learn potential applications for artificial intelligence in fields like text processing and biology.

2. Computer and Network Security

Considering the threat of hacking from individuals and foreign governments, it makes sense that technology companies want specialists in computer and network security. In this specialty, students may study how networks and network security work. They may learn about secure databases, advanced operating systems, and cryptography as they explore this field. Throughout the process, students will work toward creating safety-critical systems that are secure from potential attacks.

3. Human-Computer Interaction

As more products and programs work toward enhancing human-computer interactions, this field will receive a growing focus. Ranging from wall-size computers to smartwatches, this specialty focuses on helping students visualize how humans will interact with the technology. Students must learn how to design user-centered processes and products. As they study these courses, students may take classes on tangible computing, collaborative work, information visualization, real-world computing, and artificial intelligence.

4. Software Theory

Software theory combines many branches of computer science to show students how to write secure code. Students are expected to learn programming languages and software applications that they will use in the real world. Unlike theoretical computer science courses, software theory focuses on how computer science applies to databases, programming languages, and compilers.

5. Systems

While programming a mobile application may receive the media’s attention, someone has to create the devices that run these programs. In a systems specialization, students learn tasks like building an operating system or a router. By specializing in systems, students will learn hard-programming skills to develop new security techniques and a next-generation Internet. Due to the design of courses on systems, students will easily be able to take this specialization in an online format.

6. Network Administration

Network administration is another of the computer science fields of specialization that focuses on keeping business computer systems running. Network administration is the design and management of computer infrastructure to connect multiple devices. Network administrators ensure that the entire IT system’s hardware and software function well. Network administrators monitor the on-site servers, run performance testing, and update outdated system components. Specializing in network administration opens jobs in various workplaces, such as banks, hospitals, universities, and advertising firms. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that hiring in network administration will increase 5 percent by 2028 for 18,200 new jobs. Network administrators receive a mean annual wage of $88,410.

7. Data Science

Data science is a popular online computer science degree specialization that centers on the mining of vast digital information. Data science is the method of collecting, analyzing, and storing big data to extract valuable insights for decision-making. Data scientists program algorithms and build computer databases to run their in-depth statistical analytics. Data scientists are machine learning experts who automatic predictive modeling for data-driven future forecasts. Data scientists use their Python and SQL proficiency at tech companies, R&D firms, insurance carriers, manufacturers, government agencies, and more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of data scientists will jump 16 percent by 2028 for 5,200 new jobs. Data scientists report an average yearly pay of $100,560.

8. Mobile App Development

Online Computer Science Degree Specialization App DevelopmentApp development is one of the computer science fields of specialization that trains students to design new mobile platforms. App development is the process of creating software for phones, tablets, laptops, smart appliances, and wearable tech. App developers brainstorm creative new mobile systems for internet users to download. App developers brainstorm software concepts that solve the public’s real-life problems. App developers choose layouts, write code, test mobile software, and build updates that debug code. App development pros can work for software startups and IT companies or freelance in the business sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 26 percent growth for 241,500 new app developer jobs. App developers have median annual earnings of $111,620.

9. Programming Languages

Programming languages is a broader computer science specialization area that teaches pupils how to code for any computing career. Programming languages are the alphanumerical codes used to tell computers which functions to execute. Examples of programming languages include JavaScript, C++, Ruby, Scala, HTML, Swift, and COBOL. Computer programmers apply these languages to write then fix code for operating systems, apps, games, word processors, and more. Computer programming jobs are available in most sectors from engineering to finance and marketing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics warns that the 10-year job outlook shows a 7 percent decline for 17,900 programming jobs lost though. Computer programmers make a mean yearly wage of $92,610.

10. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is one of the newest computer science fields of specialization that’s concerned with data storage over the internet. Cloud computing is the usage of hosted web services to securely access digital files. Cloud architects create business strategies for adopting a cloud management system rather than physical computer hard drives. Cloud architects oversee the front-end and back-end development of cloud-based IT systems that protect business info from data breaches. Most cloud architects are certified for the public Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services platforms. The Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees a 5 percent growth for cloud architects to claim 8,400 new jobs by 2028. Cloud architects are given average annual compensation of $115,110.

Computer science is a growing industry that offers some of the top salaries available for entry-level workers. Due to this, many schools are focusing on ways to improve their computer science departments. With the advanced technology available today, undergraduate and graduate students may need to choose specializations to differentiate their resume in the job market. In addition, a specialization allows students to gain a deeper understanding of a specific field. While some jobs do not require a specialized major, obtaining this enhanced knowledge will make the student a more marketable employee to a prospective employer.

You may also like: 20 Best Online Schools for Computer Science

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-11/five-of-the-best-computer-science-classes-in-the-country