One of the most popular and in-demand skills is anything related to computers–programming, repair, networking, and cybersecurity to name a few. If you love the challenge of coding computers to do just about anything you can visualize, the hardest part of deciding on a post-High School career may be selecting the right specialty. One of our Ask a Tech Teacher crew has come up with a short list of questions you should ask before getting started:
- Is your selected specialty right for you?
- What are the employment opportunities?
- What income can you expect?
Choosing the Right Computer Science Specialization
Specialization is crucial in building a professional career, with most occupations encouraging their current or prospective workforce to gain additional training and knowledge within their domain of expertise. Computer science is no exception. A master’s in computer science program allows you to choose from a wide range of specialty areas based on your specific interests and career goals.
However, with an array of specializations available, knowing the right one to specialize in can be challenging. If you’re looking to enroll in an online MS in CS, it’s important to try and understand what area of specialization will be suitable for your career progression. Below are some of the factors you should consider when choosing a specialization in computer science to ensure you select the right one for you:
1. Career interest
When choosing a specialization in computer science, you should ensure that it’s in line with your career interest such that you remain motivated and challenged throughout your professional career. However, since computer science is a vast field, you may find that some of its elements beyond college education may be less appealing as compared with others. For instance, if you are a computer science bachelor’s degree holder, you may be more interested in digital media classes than software development or programming. Therefore, choosing to specialize in digital media will allow you to focus on topics you enjoy, keeping you interested throughout your career.
2. Employment opportunities
The availability of employment opportunities in the subject of study is another factor to consider when choosing a computer science specialization. Computer science is typically an in-demand discipline whose job specializations such as data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity are gaining increased relevance by the day.
You should choose a specialization field in high demand, and the job outlook is expected to increase in the future. This can help make you more employable once you graduate and may even lead to you getting promotions to more advanced leadership positions.
3. Salary expectations
As many employers continue to seek out individuals with specific technical experience and training backgrounds, salary has become one of the determinant factors when choosing which computer science specialty to pursue. Employers often incentivize job applicants to these roles with the promise of a substantial salary. This makes many people specialize in computer science fields with high-income potential to elevate themselves as more valuable employees. If your goal is to increase your earnings and gain financial stability, ensure you choose a rewarding and well-paying computer science specialization area.
Due to the vast array of possible specializations that exist within the entire computer science industry, it’s crucial that you choose a specialty that aligns with your technical abilities, personal interest, and long-term goals. Ultimately, choosing your ideal specialty in computer science comes down to your professional goals and personal interests. Consider the factors we’ve laid out above to help you choose a specialty in computer science that aligns well with your particular career path and personal interests.
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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.