Computers are already ubiquitous in the workplace, with the constantly-evolving concept of cloud computing becoming so popular that Tech Jury says 90% of businesses were in the cloud (in some form) in 2022. All of those systems need maintenance and software, requiring people who are dab-hands with keyboards at their fingertips to build networks, analyze data, and develop software.
Enter computer scientists.
By studying computer science, you open yourself up to a branching career path that could take you into almost any sort of business. But before that, you need to know the answer to a simple question – “Is BSc Computer Science a good course?”
Understanding BSc Computer Science
Think of a BSc in Computer Science as though it’s a buffet, with every topic covered being a different dish. You’ll get a taste of everything that’s on offer in the computing field, with your later educational (and career) decisions being based on the dish (i.e., the topic) that you like best. Among those topics and study areas are the following:
- Networks and Computer Systems – Taking a more hardware-oriented focus (though software plays a part), this topic covers how to connect computers so they can interact with one another.
- Programming – The language of computers is one you’ll need to learn how to speak if you want to develop software or websites. You’ll discover that there are a lot of languages to choose from, each with its own specific uses.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – As one of the fastest-growing fields in computing (Statista anticipates growth from $100 billion in 2021 to almost $2 trillion by 2030), AI is already becoming essential in business. You’ll learn the concepts that govern AI, such as machine learning and neural networks.
- Network Security – Every advancement in computer science brings with it malicious parties who wish to use (or subvert) that advancement to their own ends. Computer science courses teach the foundational aspects of network security, setting the stage for later specialization.
Moving beyond what you study (and the above isn’t an exhaustive list of topics), how long you spend on earning your BSc in Computer Science is another key deciding factor. Most traditional universities offer three-year courses, extending to four years if you take an internship or in-course work. The newer breed of online universities offer more flexibility, with some fast-track courses taking as little as two years, while others offer a more free-form version of study that lets you move at your own pace. With the latter, you could take several more years to complete your degree, though you’ll be able to fit your studies around work and family more easily than you would with a full-time course.
Benefits of BSc Computer Science
Assuming you’re willing to place the time (and monetary) investment into a BSc in Computer Science, there are three core benefits you’ll get from the course.
1 – Acquire In-Demand Skills and Knowledge
The basics you learn are in demand in most companies, with many offering additional training and tuition to help you build beyond the basics to become a specialist. Key areas of interest for employers include:
- Programming – Those who can speak the language that lies behind software are always in demand, with programmers earning an average hourly rate of $33.10, according to Indeed. Salary expectations climb as you move through the ranks, with senior software engineers capable of earning in the early six figures.
- Data Structures and Algorithms – Problem solvers are popular in any business. The knowledge of algorithms you develop when studying computer science allows you to create code (almost like a set of steps) that’s designed to solve problems. The same applies to data structures, which focus on the locations and methods used to keep data organized.
- Computer Networks and Security – Even a small office has a network of computers, laptops, smart devices, printers, and servers that all need to communicate with one another. Computer scientists enable that communication, and keep the “conversations” machines have with each other shielded from intruding eyes.
2 – Versatility and Adaptability in the Job Market
Computer science graduates are like the chameleons of the job market. They have so much foundational knowledge in an array of subjects that they’re well-placed to be “Jacks of all trades” as general computer experts. Plus, the base they have can be built from, setting the stage for them to specialize in specific areas of computing based on their preferences.
We’ll dig into some specific roles you could take (along with their salaries) in the next section of the article.
3 – Opportunities for Further Education and Specialization
You’re already part way down the road to computer science mastery once you have your BSc, so why stop there? The opportunity exists for further education and specialization, which could open the door to further career opportunities:
- Masters and Ph.D. Programs – A Master’s degree in computer science (or a related subject) is the next logical educational step once you have your BSc. You’ll build on what you’ve already learned, in addition to having a chance to specialize in your thesis. PhD programs aren’t immediately open (you’ll need your Master’s first) but they give you a chance to delve into subject-specific research and could set you up for a career in teaching computer science.
- Professional Certifications – If you prefer the less formal educational route, professional certifications enable you to study at your own pace and give you handy pieces of paper you can use to prove your skills. Great examples include Cisco’s CCIE program and CompTIA’s range of certifications.
Job Prospects and Career Opportunities
Building on the previous mention about your chameleon-like ability to get jobs in multiple fields, you need to know is BSc in Computer Science good for the career-focused student. These are the roles you can get (with salary data from Indeed).
Software Development and Engineering
Rather than being the person who uses software, you can be the person who forms and puts together the building blocks that make the software tick. Software developers and engineers use their coding skills to create the next great apps, websites, computer games, and anything else that needs a computer or mobile device to run.
Average Salary – $114,470
Data Analysis and Data Science
Data, data everywhere, and not a drop to drink. That little spin on the classic “lost at sea” phrase tells you everything you need to know about how many companies feel in the Big Data world. They’re collecting tons of data but don’t know how to organize what they have or extract useful information from it. Data analysts and scientists solve that problem.
Average Salary (Data Analyst) – $74,570
Average Salary (Data Scientist) – $129,574
Cybersecurity and Network Administration
There’s a never-ending battle being waged between network administrators and hackers, with each trying to stay one step ahead of the other. Cyberattacks are on the rise, with Security Magazine pointing out that attacks around the globe increased by 38% in 2022. That means there’s always demand for cybersecurity specialists.
Average Salary – $107,063
Research and Academia
Rather than using your skills to benefit private enterprises, you could be responsible for the next generation of computer scientists. The academic path is a noble one, though not always the most profitable, and it affords you the chance to research the subjects you’re passionate about. The level you reach in academia depends on your own academic accomplishments, with a BSc usually being enough for school-level teaching. You’ll need a Master’s or Ph.D. to go into further education or complex research.
Average Salary (Computing Teacher) – $26.79 per hour
Entrepreneurship and Freelance Opportunities
Why restrict yourself to a single company when you could build your own or spread your scientific seeds wide by becoming a freelancer? More control over your destiny is the biggest benefit of this career path, though there’s a more “sink or swim” mentality. Those who hit it big with a great business idea can hit it really big, but there are plenty of failed computing businesses on the entrepreneurial road.
Average Salary – It all depends on what you do and how well you do it
Factors to Consider When Evaluating the Worth of BSc Computer Science
If you’re still asking “Is BSc Computer Science a good course?” the answer is a definite “yes.” But there are some factors to consider before you commit to several years of computing studies:
- Personal Interests and Aptitude – Success in any area of study requires a passion for your subject and a certain amount of talent in the field. If you’re missing one (or both) of these for computer science then a BSc may not be for you.
- Job Market Trends – It’s very possible to make a six-figure salary as a computer scientist, though specialization is often needed to hit the highest figures. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s happening with the job market to ensure you’re studying toward a future role.
- Return on Investment – Undergraduate programs can cost anywhere between $15,000 and $85,000, so you need to feel confident that a computer science course is the right one for your future career. Otherwise, you’re left with a massive hole in your bank balance that you need to fill with student loan repayments.
- Job Satisfaction – Working yourself into the ground is never a good thing. You need to feel confident that you’ll achieve the appropriate balance between your work, personal, and family lives.
Comparing BSc Computer Science With Other Courses
A BSc in Computer Science is far from your only choice if you’re interested in delving into computers. Here are three alternatives to consider.
BSc Information Technology
Though an IT degree covers some of the same ground as a computer science one (especially when it comes to computer networks), you’ll trade theoretical knowledge for practical application. Expect to do a lot of work with databases and basic software, with some coding along the way.
BSc Data Science
As a more specialized course, a BSc in Data Science sees you delving deeper into the math and statistics behind computational systems. You’ll learn how to analyze data and may get a better grip on emerging tech, such as machine learning, than you would with a computer science degree.
Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Science)
A bachelor of engineering takes a more hardware-centric focus than a BSc, with this course teaching more about the principles of electrical engineering and how our computing devices actually work. There are still software components, and you’ll touch on similar subjects to a BSc, but you’ll get more practical experience with this course.
Is a BSc in Computer Science Good for You?
The most important question to ask isn’t “Is BSc Computer Science a good course,” but rather is it the right course for you? Your career goals, coupled with your desire (or lack thereof) to invest your time and money into the degree, may be the main deciding factors.
As with any course, ask yourself what the ultimate benefit is to you and weigh up your options (remembering that there are several types of computing degrees) to make the right choice.
Soon, we will be launching four new Degrees for AY24-25 at OPIT – Open Institute of Technology
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Product Definition process that has shaped these upcoming programs.
🚀 Phase 1: Discovery (Late May – End of July)
Our journey began with intensive brainstorming sessions with OPIT’s Academic Board (Francesco Profumo, Lorenzo Livi, Alexiei Dingli, Andrea Pescino, Rosario Maccarrone) . We also conducted 50+ interviews with tech and digital entrepreneurs (both from startups and established firms), academics and students. Finally, we deep-dived into the “Future of Jobs 2023” report by the World Economic Forum and other valuable research.
🔍 Phase 2: Selection – Crafting Our Roadmap (July – August)
Our focus? Introducing new degrees addressing critical workforce shortages and upskilling/reskilling needs for the next 5-10 years, promising significant societal impact and a broad market reach.
Our decision? To channel our energies on full BScs and MScs, and steer away from shorter courses or corporate-focused offerings. This aligns perfectly with our core mission.
💡 Focus Areas Unveiled!
We’re thrilled to concentrate on pivotal fields like:
- Advanced AI
- Digital Business
- Metaverse & Gaming
- Cloud Computing (less “glamorous”, but market demand is undeniable).
🎓 Phase 3: Definition – Shaping the Degrees (August – November)
With an expert in each of the above fields, and with the strong collaboration of our Academic Director, Prof. Lorenzo Livi , we embarked on a rigorous “drill-down process”. Our goal? To meld modern theoretical knowledge with cutting-edge competencies and skills. This phase included interviewing over 60+ top academics, industry professionals, and students and get valuable, program-specific, insights from our Marketing department.
🌟 Phase 4: Accreditation and Launch – The Final Stretch
We’re currently in the accreditation process, gearing up for the launch. The focus is now shifting towards marketing, working closely with Greta Maiocchi and her Marketing and Admissions team. Together, we’re translating our new academic offering into a compelling value proposition for the market.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Far from being a temporary educational measure that came into its own during the pandemic, online education is providing students from all over the world with new ways to learn. That’s proven by statistics from Oxford Learning College, which point out that over 100 million students are now enrolled in some form of online course.
The demand for these types of courses clearly exists.
In fact, the same organization indicates that educational facilities that introduce online learning see a 42% increase in income – on average – suggesting that the demand is there.
Enter the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT).
Delivering three online courses – a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and two Master’s degrees – with more to come, OPIT is positioning itself as a leader in the online education space. But why is that? After all, many institutions are making the jump to e-learning, so what separates OPIT from the pack?
Here, you’ll discover the answers as you delve into the five reasons why you should trust OPIT for your online education.
Reason 1 – A Practical Approach
OPIT focuses on computer science education – a field in which theory often dominates the educational landscape. The organization’s Rector, Professor Francesco Profumo, makes this clear in a press release from June 2023. He points to a misalignment between what educators are teaching computer science students and what the labor market actually needs from those students as a key problem.
“The starting point is the awareness of the misalignment,” he says when talking about how OPIT structures its online courses. “That so-called mismatch is generated by too much theory and too little practical approach.” In other words, students in many classes spend far too much time learning the “hows” and “whys” behind computerized systems without actually getting their hands dirty with real work that gives them practical experience in using those systems.
OPIT takes a different approach.
It has developed a didactic approach that focuses far more on the practical element than other courses. That approach is delivered through a combination of classroom sessions – such as live lessons and masterclasses – and practical work offered through quizzes and exercises that mimic real-world situations.
An OPIT student doesn’t simply learn how computers work. They put their skills into practice through direct programming and application, equipping them with skills that are extremely attractive to major employers in the tech field and beyond.
Reason 2 – Flexibility Combined With Support
Flexibility in how you study is one of the main benefits of any online course.
You control when you learn and how you do it, creating an environment that’s beneficial to your education rather than being forced into a classroom setting with which you may not feel comfortable. This is hardly new ground. Any online educational platform can claim that it offers “flexibility” simply because it provides courses via the web.
Where OPIT differs is that it combines that flexibility with unparalleled support bolstered by the experiences of teachers employed from all over the world. The founder and director of OPIT, Riccardo Ocleppo, sheds more light on this difference in approach when he says, “We believe that education, even if it takes place physically at a distance, must guarantee closeness on all other aspects.” That closeness starts with the support offered to students throughout their entire study period.
Tutors are accessible to students at all times. Plus, every participant benefits from weekly professor interactions, ensuring they aren’t left feeling stuck on an educational “island” and have to rely solely on themselves for their education. OPIT further counters the potential isolation that comes with online learning with a Student Support team to guide students through any difficulties they may have with their courses.
In this focus on support, OPIT showcases one of its main differences from other online platforms.
You don’t simply receive course material before being told to “get on with it.” You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace while also having a support structure that serves as a foundation for that learning.
Reason 3 – OPIT Can Adapt to Change Quickly
The field of computer science is constantly evolving.
In the 2020s alone, we’ve seen the rise of generative AI – spurred on by the explosive success of services like ChatGPT – and how those new technologies have changed the way that people use computers.
Riccardo Ocleppo has seen the impact that these constant evolutions have had on students. Before founding OPIT, he was an entrepreneur who received first-hand experience of the fact that many traditional educational institutions struggle to adapt to change.
“Traditional educational institutions are very slow to adapt to this wave of new technologies and trends within the educational sector,” he says. He points to computer science as a particular issue, highlighting the example of a board in Italy of which he is a member. That board – packed with some of the country’s most prestigious tech universities – spent three years eventually deciding to add just two modules on new and emerging technologies to their study programs.
That left Ocleppo feeling frustrated.
When he founded OPIT, he did so intending to make it an adaptable institution in which courses were informed by what the industry needs. Every member of its faculty is not only a superb teacher but also somebody with experience working in industry. Speaking of industry, OPIT collaborates with major companies in the tech field to ensure its courses deliver the skills that those organizations expect from new candidates.
This confronts frustration on both sides. For companies, an OPIT graduate is one for which they don’t need to bridge a “skill gap” between what they’ve learned and what the company needs. For you, as a student, it means that you’re developing skills that make you a more desirable prospect once you have your degree.
Reason 4 – OPIT Delivers Tier One Education
Despite their popularity, online courses can still carry a stigma of not being “legitimate” in the face of more traditional degrees. Ocleppo is acutely aware of this fact, which is why he’s quick to point out that OPIT always aims to deliver a Tier One education in the computer science field.
“That means putting together the best professors who create superb learning material, all brought together with a teaching methodology that leverages the advancements made in online teaching,” he says.
OPIT’s degrees are all accredited by the European Union to support this approach, ensuring they carry as much weight as any other European degree. It’s accredited by both the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF), with all of its courses having full legal value throughout Europe.
It’s also here where we see OPIT’s approach to practicality come into play via its course structuring.
Take its Bachelor’s degree in computer science as an example.
Yes, that course starts with a focus on theoretical and foundational knowledge. Building a computer and understanding how the device processes instructions is vital information from a programming perspective. But once those foundations are in place, OPIT delivers on its promises of covering the most current topics in the field.
Machine learning, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity – all valuable to employers – are taught at the undergraduate level. Students benefit from a broader approach to computer science than most institutions are capable of, rather than bogging them down in theory that serves little practical purpose.
Reason 5 – The Learning Experience
Let’s wrap up by honing in on what it’s actually like for students to learn with OPIT.
After all, as Ocleppo points out, one of the main challenges with online education is that students rarely have defined checkpoints to follow. They can start feeling lost in the process, confronted with a metaphorical ocean of information they need to learn, all in service of one big exam at the end.
Alternatively, some students may feel the temptation to not work through the materials thoroughly, focusing instead on passing a final exam. The result is that those students may pass, but they do so without a full grasp of what they’ve learned – a nightmare for employers who already have skill gaps to handle.
OPIT confronts both challenges by focusing on a continuous learning methodology. Assessments – primarily practical – take place throughout the course, serving as much-needed checkpoints for evaluating progress. When combined with the previously mentioned support that OPIT offers, this approach has led to courses that are created from scratch in service of the student’s actual needs.
Choose OPIT for Your Computer Science Education
At OPIT, the focus lies as much on helping students to achieve their dream careers as it does on teaching them. All courses are built collaboratively. With a dedicated faculty combined with major industry players, such as Google and Microsoft, it delivers materials that bridge the skill gap seen in the computer science field today.
There’s also more to come.
Beyond the three degrees OPIT offers, the institution plans to add more. Game development, data science, and cloud computing, to name a few, will receive dedicated degrees in the coming months, accentuating OPIT’s dedication to adapting to the continuous evolution of the computer science industry. Discover OPIT today – your journey into computing starts with the best online education institution available.