Why study computing in college?
Studying a tech-oriented field lets you solve problems in new ways. It gives you space to be creative and innovative. It provides you with skills and knowledge that will set you up for some of the coolest (and best-paying) jobs in today’s market.
Even better: You can combine the study of computer science or information science with whatever matters most to you.
Here are just a handful of literally thousands of examples:
Tech in Government
The government relies on tech to achieve important public objectives and governmental functions and initiatives. The U.S. Census Bureau, for example, uses satellite imagery technology to check addresses and has an Internet Self-Response tool for collecting population data. These innovations and many more were developed by teams of systems engineers and cybersecurity specialists to revolutionize the census.
Tech in Healthcare
Tech shapes our health in countless ways, from new medical imaging techniques to apps that better connect patients with doctors. In the field of biotechnology, for example, technologists are creating artificial hearts that run on specialized software and are using tiny embedded computers to restore people’s senses of hearing or sight.
Tech in Urban Policy
Making good decisions for cities requires us to envision the future. We can develop computational models that account for a profound range of human, economic, and environmental factors, and then use those projections to make decisions about everything from traffic-light timing to highway placement to drinking-water purification.
Tech in Security
The combination of tech and security systems has revolutionized the security industry. Between facial recognition, security applications, cloud software, advanced motion detectors, audio sensors, high-resolution videos, and more – security companies are embracing advanced tech solutions. Cybersecurity jobs are among the fastest-growing career areas nationally, and are predicted to grow 30% through 2029.
Tech in Business
Technology drives nearly every aspect of successful companies. This is true whether you are using artificial intelligence to better engage with customers, adjusting models to forecast smarter investments, harnessing the power of blockchain, or developing the new technologies that will become tomorrow’s consumer products.
Tech in the Performing Arts
Computer programs control the lighting sequences that illuminate performances and the stage rigging that allows actors to seemingly fly through the air in Broadway plays such as Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Dancers use motion-tracking technology to record performances for “movement libraries,” and music is composed in specialized software.
Tech in Biology
Computational biology is a fast-growing field as scientists master the power of the human genome. You could help to develop new gene-sequencing technologies powered by machine learning, identify genetic markers that help to predict diseases, evaluate and model population-level health, or use data mining to improve cancer treatment.
Tech in Photo and Film
Programmers recently introduced “neural filters” to Photoshop that allow us to alter a person’s facial expression or how old they look. Software lets us make fine-grained edits to film, eliminating or changing portions of a scene. Can you spot a “deep fake” video? An understanding of computing could help you to do just that.
Tech jobs are highly compensated.
According to Glassdoor, below are the average base salaries in the DC metro area for several popular jobs in the computing field as of 2021:
- Computer scientist: $93,185
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the creation of 531,000 new jobs in computing by 2029. Demand is expected to be highest in the areas of cloud computing, big data, and cybersecurity.
Finding your way in
People take many paths into careers in computing and tech. Ask around at a high-tech company and you’ll hear about all kinds of levels of education. There are all kinds of college programs, from bachelor’s degrees to Ph.D.s, and a vast array of prior internships and jobs. But there are some choices you can make for your undergraduate degree that can position you for success.
Break Through Tech DC’s academic partners are George Mason University (Mason) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). Break Through Tech DC’s programming, which supplements technical education at both Mason and UMD, is open to women (cis and trans) and nonbinary individuals with the goal of increasing gender diversity in tech.