Computer Science Career Preparation

Weston Martin

Weston Martin,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – One of the things I love about the computer science field is that the opportunities for careers seem almost endless. In recent years, the need for computer science majors has skyrocketed. This is very good news for anyone seeking a degree in CS (and many other engineering majors) because lots of need means lots of jobs.

Although it is very nice to not have to struggle with the thought of “am I even going to get a job after I graduate,” I still have the question of “how do I make sure I don’t hate my job?” Even if you love computer science you could potentially get a job you don’t like. If your interest is in developing new software then you don’t want to get stuck as a database administrator, and if your interest is in operating systems then you may not want to get stuck developing websites. So, how do you make sure you get the job you want?

The answer to that question is a two-part answer: you need to make yourself stand out and you need to pursue your interests. Luckily Ohio University and the Russ College are dedicated to partnering with students to help make these happen.

First, OU offers free (and paid) tutoring, and extra help sessions for difficult classes to make sure you have the resources to do well in your classes. This is crucial because one great way to make yourself stand out is to have a high GPA. However, although a good GPA is almost essential, what really makes you stand out from other students is experience. That means co-ops, internships, and/or undergraduate research.

Not only do these get you experience, they also help you pursue different interests without making long term commitments. This is where the Russ College offers a lot of assistance. They get companies to visit for career fairs specific to the college of engineering and they have staff members who are devoted to helping you get the co-op or internship that you desire. Then with your high GPA and your loads of experience, you will be a shoo-in for whatever job you desire.

2 thoughts on “Computer Science Career Preparation

  1. Tracey Stephenson

    It sounds like Ohio University has alot of offer. My son, Will, is a junior at Loveland High school, and plans to major in Computer Science. We have so far toured University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and applied science. We really liked it, especially that co-oping is part of the curriculum starting your 2nd year, and alternating semesters through to your junior year. Then senior year you are there for the last 2 semesters. Does OU do this as well?! Even if it takes an extra year as it is a 5 year program at UC. That is okay if getting experience along the way and finding out through these jobs/co-ops what you like or not like in the field of Computer science. We do plan to come to visit OU soon. It is just a matter of WHEN.

    Reply
  2. Weston Martin

    Hi Tracey,
    I’m glad to hear your son has an interest in Computer Science! Here at OU co-oping is not part of the curriculum but it is strongly recommended. We have a class on developing effective and professional skills to aid students in job/co-op searches and there are various workshops throughout each semester that also assist in developing these skills. The class and the workshops are within the engineering department so they are geared towards finding positions in the engineering and technology field. As I stated in the post, we also have a Director of Professional Experiences who’s full time job is to help students know how to get the co-op (or job) they want. More information about co-ops in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology at OU can be found at http://www.ohio.edu/engineering/academics/coops/

    I personally like the 4 year program over the 5 year program with the required co-op for two main reasons:
    1) You can get out in 4 years and still have 2 or 3 summers of co-op experience. Even if you choose to do something like a 6 month co-op you are still only looking at 4 and a half years.
    2) There’s a certain sense of responsibility and maturity that, to me, seems to be learned by searching for a co-op on your own (by on your own I mean doing it with the help of the university’s resources but doing it for a reason other than “it was required”).

    I hope this helps answer your questions and whatever you guys decide I hope your son enjoys Computer Science as much as I do! if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Reply

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