How did you first get into computer science (what kind of degree or work experience led you to the field)?
I started coding when I was 14. I was in love with it from the get go. By the time I was in high school, I was certain that I would be majoring in Computer Science. My high school did not have courses in programming, so I took courses at a local community college during my junior and senior years in the evenings. I got my bachelors in Computer Science in 1999 from Rutgers.
Why get a bachelor’s in computer science and why now?
Careers in Computer Science are fun and well-paying. Although you may be able to get a job as a software engineer without a college degree, a degree in Computer Science is still the most straightforward path to a high-paying career in this field.
What’s the best way for students to prepare for a bachelor’s in computer science (what kinds of skills or knowledge do they need to be successful?
Learn some Python and/or web development. Think of a project you’d like to do, an app you’d like to develop, and just jump into it and start learning by doing.
What kinds of other topics, electives, or majors fit well with computer science?
Just about anything works well with CS.
Psychology is my favorite, as I am interested in Artificial Intelligence, Computational Cognitive Modeling, and Human-Computer Interaction. However, computational simulations and machine learning are just as important and widely employed in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and meteorology as they are for social, behavioral, and cognitive simulations.
Students who tend to pair up CS education with English or Communications often end up in fields having to do with technical writing and reporting. Business education also tends to go well with CS, especially for entrepreneurs and future project managers.
Anything you’re passionate about will have a digital side to it.
What computer science topic are your students interested in right now?
Mobile and Web applications, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Game and 3d development, Cloud computing, Web 3.0.
What types of jobs are computer science graduates finding? Is there a favorite company or organization where students like to look for a job? What do entry-level computer science jobs look like?
Software Engineering is the most popular job for Computer Science majors. Often-times entry-level jobs in software development are focused on front-end development (i.e., user-facing applications).
If you had to choose one or two books, articles, documentaries, podcasts, etc. to be included on a required reading list for computer science students, what would it be?
None. Technology is changing so quickly that to focus on a specific medium is folly. I would recommend that students take on a project or app they would like to develop, and then look up relevant topics on the web or find relevant tutorials on YouTube.