Is Computer Science a Good Major?

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Majoring in computer science can be an excellent opportunity to strengthen valuable skills while leading to several in-demand career possibilities.

[Featured image] A young person with long curly hair in a ponytail sits in front of a desktop and laptop. They're turned, smiling at the camera.

Computer science can be a good major when you’re looking for strong career prospects after graduation and opportunities to develop numerous skills. Graduates are often in demand across sectors, have the potential to earn higher than average salaries, and may be able to advance more quickly in their careers. Additionally, computer science degree programs often expect you to develop valuable skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, programming, and project management. 

That being said, computer science bachelor’s degrees have developed a reputation for being hard to finish because many programs expect you to learn a programming language and complete advanced math courses. In this article, we’ll discuss what makes computer science a good major and whether it’s the right choice for you. 

5 benefits of majoring in computer science

Although some companies have dropped the bachelor’s degree as a requirement for certain entry-level tech jobs, many benefits come from selecting computer science as your college major.   

1. Subject matter immersion 

When you major in computer science, you not only get the chance to immerse yourself in the fundamentals of computer systems, but you will likely get the opportunity to specialize in an area, such as data science, game design, artificial intelligence, or security. 

As a computer science major, you'll typically learn a programming language and take math and physical science courses before completing coursework in your specified area. 

Sample foundational coursework can include: 

  • Programming skills

  • Calculus

  • Discrete mathematics 

  • Probability and statistics

  • Computer systems

  • Data management and analysis

  • Basic algorithms

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning

  • Natural language processing

Learn more: What is a Computer Science Degree? 

2. Skills development

Employers value applicants who have a mix of workplace skills (sometimes called “soft skills”) and technical skills. Thanks to the computer science coursework you take, the projects you participate in, and the portfolio you develop, you can expect to learn and strengthen a variety of skills to showcase on your resume.

Workplace skillsTechnical skills
Attention to detailMathematics
Active listeningProgramming language
CommunicationSoftware development
Time managementQuality control analysis
Problem-solvingProject management
OrganizationData analysis
LeadershipSystems analysis

Learn more: When Should You Include Your GPA on Your Resume?

3. Internships 

Many schools foster relationships with companies to offer their students an array of computer science internships. You can also use a job board, like LinkedIn, to apply to relevant opportunities and potentially receive college credit. 

4. Networking 

Becoming more acquainted with your faculty members, peers, and even professionals who visit or participate in your computer science program can be an excellent way to network and gain greater visibility for your work. The connections you make in your computer science major can be helpful once you begin looking for a job after graduation. 

Read more: 9 Networking Tips to Expand and Strengthen Your Network

5. Time to discover other interests 

While your major coursework will focus on computer science and related subjects, the general education requirements and electives you take are an excellent opportunity to explore your interests. 

In fact, you can choose to minor or double major in a complementary subject and expand your career prospects after graduation. Not sure what to major in? Consider these five factors to help guide your decision.

Learn more: Is a Bachelor’s Degree Worth It?

What can you do as a computer science major? 

Computer science majors can explore many opportunities across sectors. The types of jobs you pursue will likely depend on the area you end up specializing in. For example, a student studying machine learning may seek to become a machine learning engineer. Similarly, a student studying game development may seek to become a product manager at a game design firm. 

There are a wealth of opportunities to consider. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that a bachelor's degree is the most common entry-level requirement for the computer science roles below [1]: 

  • Computer support specialist 

  • Computer programmer

  • Graphic designer

  • Computer network architect

  • Network system administrator

  • Information security analyst

  • Web designer

Learn more about the top five entry-level computer science jobs, and what you can do with your computer science degree after graduation. 

Is computer science the right major for you? 

Majoring in computer science may be a good choice for you if you’re interested in the subject matter and have some ability to do the work. Programs do not necessarily expect you to know a programming language when you enroll, but getting a head start can be beneficial. 

If you do not have an aptitude for or interest in advanced math or programming languages, then computer science may not be the best choice for you. However, if you’re interested in working in computer science to some extent, say as a data scientist, then a comparable major, like mathematics or statistics, may be a suitable alternative. It’s worth noting that many data scientists understand how to work with SQL, a programming language. 

Explore further 

Browse new computer science courses on Coursera and take the time to figure out whether this subject is the best major for you. If you’re interested in learning online, check out the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of London, where you can specialize in areas like game design, machine learning, or user experience.

Article sources

  1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Computer and Information Technology Occupations, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm.” Accessed October 20, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

Learn without limits