Computer Science (BA)

Computer Science is the study of algorithms - formal procedures for problem solving that can be implemented mechanically (in hardware) and linguistically (in software).

Computer ScienceThe mission of the Computer Science program is to prepare and inspire students for successful employment or graduate study in computing and for thoughtful engagement in the development and application of algorithmic approaches to problem solving.

Careers in Computing

Now is an excellent time to begin studies in computing. Students in computing can take advantage of a great window of opportunity in the computing job market.

Job Market Demand is High and Growing

According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs forecast, through 2014:

  • Computer science will be the third-fastest-growing profession, growing at more than twice the rate of the number four profession.
  • Of the top five fastest growing job titles, two are related to computing: network analysts and application software engineers. Network administrators, systems software engineers and database administrators are also in the top 12 fastest growing jobs.
  • All of the computing job titles listed above have salaries in the top 25%. The national average for starting salaries with a bachelor's degree is more than $50,000.

Job Market Supply is Low and Falling

College enrollment in computing fields has declined dramatically since the most recent peak in 2000. This decline does not yet show any sign of stopping.

When demand is high and supply is low, computer professionals will be able to “write their ticket” as employers compete to hire graduates for rewarding, lucrative jobs.

Students who begin their computing studies now have a window of opportunity to benefit from a “seller's market” for their skills. In a few years, as the unmet demand for computing professionals becomes widely known, the enrollment rates for computer science will likely start to grow at a rapid rate, increasing competition for jobs.

What about offshoring and other concerns?

In spite of the facts above, students sometimes raise two concerns about computing careers.

  • In 2000, the lucrative web commerce market collapsed, in what has been called the “dot bomb” phenomenon.
  • U.S. companies are increasingly outsourcing jobs. Many have moved computing jobs “offshore” to countries with lower costs of doing business.

Although these trends are real, their impact on computing career opportunities is widely misunderstood. Let's look at some facts.

First, the “dot bomb” fallout that began in 2000 has had very little impact on career opportunities for computing professionals. Job opportunities are plentiful, and wages are excellent. Recent figures for United States employment in computing fields indicate:

  • the number of people employed in computing was 17% higher than in 1999. The number was actually 5% higher than in 2000, at the peak of the “dot com” bubble.
  • Since 1999, wages for U.S. computing workers have increased at twice the rate of inflation. The “dot bomb” fallout has not prevented computing professionals from earning excellent salaries.
  • As shown above, there is a variety of actual data and future forecasts showing high demand and high salaries for U.S. computer workers.
  • Many experts say that offshoring actually creates U.S. job opportunities. Purely technical work that requires little face-to-face communication skill can easily be sent out of the country. However, computing professionals with communication and project management skills are needed in the U.S. to manage and coordinate the offshore workers and their efforts. This creates an advantage for computing professionals with the broad knowledge and skills provided by a liberal arts education.
  • Many companies are finding that the advantages of offshoring don't meet their expectations. Economic studies have shown little connection between the use of offshoring or outsourcing and the financial and business success of organizations. Offshoring and outsourcing are not magic solutions for lowering costs. To use them effectively, organizations need U.S. computing professionals with a variety of technical, communications and management skills.

The actual job market impact of the “offshoring” phenomenon is similar.

Computing professionals with a liberal arts background are uniquely qualified to take advantage of these trends.

Internships

Many students majoring in computer science and computer information systems have gained practical experience in applied computing and information technology as interns. Internships have included software development and rollout, integration, troubleshooting and maintenance of networks, databases, operating systems and other information technology.

Through these internships, Davis & Elkins students have worked with a number of area organizations, including:

  • West Virginia Wood Technology Center
  • West Virginia Rivers Coalition
  • Randolph County Housing Authority
  • The Phillips Group
  • Randolph County Community Arts Center
  • Randolph County Youth Build
  • The Home Ownership Center
  • Elkins Trucking Co.
  • Johnson Realty
  • J.C. Lumber Company
  • Master's Service
  • Randolph County Board of Education
  • National Radio Astronomy Observatory
  • Mountain State Information Systems

For further information contact Assistant Professor of Computer Science Steve Mattingly, 304-637-1357, or Professor of Mathematics and Physics Dr. Sharmi Roy, 304-637-1262.

 

D&E Hosting National Science Honorary Conference

Undergraduate science students from throughout the United States will gather at the College for the Chi Beta Phi National Conference.