From creating smartphone apps to developing large-scale software that powers business and industry, computer scientists use their technical and creative skills to improve people’s lives in almost every area imaginable. The systems created by computer scientists impact all aspects of society and influence or transform work done in medicine, education, music, travel and business.
As a computer scientist, you could develop video games or improve health care through the development of electronic medical equipment. You might produce animation for the movie industry, invent a new hand-held device or develop software to manage an air traffic control tower. Many computer science students found their own tech start-up companies and chart their own path after graduation.
The Department of Computer Science is interdisciplinary and collaborative, giving students the opportunity to explore applications in fields ranging from science to architecture. Students tackle problems hands-on, including completing a year-long software design project for an industry client or to jumpstart their own startup. Students also can gain professional exposure through the student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery on campus.
CU Boulder is surrounded by a thriving high-tech industry. From well-known companies such as Oracle, Microsoft and Google, to national laboratories (NIST, NOAA, NCAR, and NREL) and robust technology start-up culture, the opportunities for internships and jobs for computer science students in Boulder is virtually unlimited.
In addition to the excellent internship and employment opportunities, computer science undergraduates can gain valuable experience through research with expert faculty both in and outside of the department. Project EPIC studies how social media technology is used during times of mass emergencies and supports this with research in software engineering, human-centered computing, natural language processing and low-level systems. The Center for Computational Language and Education Research (CLEAR)) performs research related to human language technology and its application to personal learning. Research in our department also includes work on health informatics, cognitive modeling, data mining, computer vision, and computer science education.
Computer science graduates have excellent job prospects and are in demand from companies based in many industries including traditional software/hardware companies (IBM, National Instruments, HP, Sun Microsystems, Apple and Google) and technology start-up companies.
About 20 percent of CU Boulder engineering bachelor’s graduates (college-wide) continue onto graduate school, gaining admittance to top schools such as MIT, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, University of California Berkeley, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Computer scientists are expected to have a faster than average growth rate with employment projected to increase 12 percent through 2024. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The average starting salary nationally for computer science majors in 2015 was $75,191 (National Association of Colleges and Employers). The median salary nationally for all computer and information technology occupations in 2015 was $81,430 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Here’s a look at some specific careers:
- Computer network architects: $110,620
- Software developers: $100,690
- Computer programmers: $79,350