To Nicole Gal McElroyJanuary 31, 2023 at 1:38 PM
Occidental Square Park in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle, Washington in October 2021. (Photo by Chona Kasinger – Bloomberg/Getty Images)
The computer science industry, and more generally the digitization of the world at large, is at the forefront of both innovation and explosive growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow by 21% between 2021 and 2031. In addition, the field is full of ambitious start-ups that promise exciting careers and interesting projects.
The strong demand for people with these skills has also fueled the growth of related degree programs. In fact, according to statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of master’s degrees awarded in computer and information science and support services has nearly tripled over the past decade.
Sophia Jaghori is one of the candidates for the master’s program and will graduate from an online program at Syracuse University in the spring after working in other fields for several years. As a college student in Afghanistan, she had a secret desire to study computer science. But, she says, her wish was beyond the reach of any young girl in her native country, so she chose to take math classes instead. It is a problem-solving discipline that also requires analytical thinking, she reasoned.
“Mathematics was something I could do. I thought if I studied it, I could become a teacher,” says Jaghori, now 34.
It wasn’t until Jaghori completed her Computer Science degree in 2017, when she and her husband moved to Seattle at the age of 28. She “immediately started thinking about how she could pursue a field she loved.”
Computer Science Career Switcher
The number of students entering computer science from other industries and careers, like Jaghori, is part of the number of students with a bachelor’s degree and professional experience in the field, but it’s certainly possible. There are (and are growing) roots. If you have a bachelor’s degree in a slightly unrelated field, attending a master’s degree program is a great way to change your course to computer science. Often, you won’t be too late to catch up on some basic coursework, and you won’t waste time (and money) rereading your second bachelor’s degree.
For Jagori, she was not only changing her field, but adjusting to a new country and language. That said, I had to establish myself in an ESL class before I started thinking about computer science prerequisites. It took her nearly two years to complete this process. Classes Jaghori took included Introduction to Programming, Java 1, and Java 2. Additionally, Jaghori contacted several schools and spoke to professors at each university about how someone with her background could make the leap into computer programming.
luck Jaghori details his experience switching fields and advice for others considering a similar move.
Paths to a Master’s Degree in Computer Science Online
luck: What was the biggest obstacle you faced when starting your career in computer science?
Jaghori: I loved computer science. I didn’t even care how long it took. But there were many obstacles, difficulties. Being a mother of two children. Most of the schools I was looking for wanted his TOEFL score. With my TOEFL score, I was finally able to enter Syracuse.
What was the best advice you received regarding the application process?
The best piece of advice that really helped me came from an advisor at the University of Washington. She told me to evaluate my undergraduate transcript first. She suggested taking these prerequisites at any community college to save money on tuition.
Why did being online help the course?
I have two boys, one is 11 years old and the other is 9 years old. now i’m not working As I am a full-time student, I quit my job to focus on my studies. I would like to find an internship, a part-time job as a programmer. I am also considering an internship to gain experience.
What worried you most about making this switch?
My bachelor’s degree is not in computer science and this program is online. I was afraid it wouldn’t help much. It was really stressing me out. I attended the program and everything blew me away. I was able to do this and had support from my group and my professors.
How did your background in mathematics help you?
Computer science and mathematics are closely related when it comes to problem solving. In programming, we write, but both areas challenge us and make us think deeply to find solutions. There are many ways to solve the problem. In mathematics and computer science it’s the same.
What will help you close the gaps as you progress through this degree program?
Connect with other students. Every semester he tries to find someone who has never worked in science and feels like him. I ask people questions and talk about their ideas and experiences. How have they overcome their problems? What will help them? I am connected with most of the students who attended my class. Professors are also very responsive. I email them and they reply right away.
What do you enjoy most about coursework?
Writing applications is fun for me. When I make it work and I see my work and really see what I’ve done, they make me so happy.
check all luck’Learn more about our degree program rankings and specific career paths.