Preparing for a technical degree before college

April 4, 2013

When thinking of potential majors, the future financial benefit of the degree program is often a key decision point. Those who get college scholarships will want to make the most of their educations, and many students therefore look to fields that both interest them and can generate the greatest income.

The monetary success possible in technical fields makes pursuing them a good career choice for many. This may be a factor in a growing trend: More students are looking to get their undergraduate degrees in computer science. 

Technical fields yield large incomes
Network World recently pointed out that current income trends show that, technical majors, albeit challenging, give college graduates the best job opportunities. Additionally, the starting salaries for these majors are often higher. 

According to the 2012-2013 PayScale College Salary Report, all of the top 10 degrees with the greatest salary potentials are in technical fields. Petroleum Engineering is top-ranked with an average starting paying of $98,000 per year. Also on the list is computer science, with yearly incomes beginning at over $58,000.

"Our computer science majors last year had upwards of eight to 10 offers, and they could have had more if they would have pursued them," said Kevin Hewerdine, career services director at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, as quoted by Network World.

Computer science requires a certain level of technical understanding and may be daunting to many students deciding on a degree. However, the field is trending. 

More people invest in computer science
According the Computer Research Association (CRA), an influx of students are going into computer science. 

A 2011-2012 CRA survey shows that the percentage of undergraduate computer science majors in the U.S. increased by 22.8 percent over the two years examined.

Additionally, more women are in the field. The CRA reports that the number of female graduates with bachelor's degrees in computer science increased from 11.7 percent in the 2010-2011 school year to 12.9 percent in the 2011-2012 year. 

According to a recent New York Times report, a big gender gap existed in the computer science industry in the past. Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization in Manhattan, aims to get more women in the field by teaching computer basics at the high school level.

Reshma Saujani, founder of the initiative, notes that in the past, women began to enter fields in which they had formerly been the minority.

"Back in the '60s, you didn't have gender parity in law or medicine, but something happened and women started opting into these professions. We have to do that in computer science," Saujani said, as quoted by the news source.

The CRA survey reflects a lessening in this gender gap. Seeing the financial benefit of computer science, more women might join the ranks of those going into the field.

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