Getting a B.S. in Computer Science

SAN MATEO (01/31/2000) - Credentials: B.S., Computer ScienceA bachelor's degree in computer science is a staple of help-wanted ads for IT positions, and it provides a solid foundation for an IT career. But it is possible to succeed in IT without one.

The basics: Who offers it

Many four-year colleges and universities offer a major in computer science.

Prerequisites: Admissions requirements vary by institution.

Requirements: Four years of full-time study in a variety of fields, with a heavy concentration in computer science.

Cost

Cost per year for full-time student

Average private college: $22,102

Average public university: $8,986

Years to complete bachelor's degree: 4

Percent of IT professionals whose companies offer tuition reimbursement: 76.7%Typical areas of study in computer scienceHardware systemsNumerical analysisProgrammingManagement systemsArtificial languageSoftware systemsDatabasesVital statistics: By the numbersPercent of all bachelor's degrees awarded in computer and information sciences, 1994: 2.1%Number of bachelor's degrees awarded in computer and information sciences, 1994: 24,200Who has onePercent of IT professionals with bachelor's degree(*)Senior management: 86.4%Middle management: 84.9%Staff: 80.9%Percent with a bachelor's degree in computer science(**)Senior management: 13.2%Middle management: 21.7%Staff: 34.3%Career planning: Will not having a bachelor's degree hinder your career?

"We can all point to executives in technology companies that don't have degrees, but when we're talking about somebody who's trying to work his or her way up in management, it's tougher. The question is, did they not see it through, did they not see the value, were they too nonconformist to go to school and take tests?"

-- Gretchen Lewis, partner, Heidrick & Struggles, Menlo Park, Calif.

Web resources

About.com's Guide to Computer Science -- CompSci.about.comGuide J.D. Baker offers links to college computer science departments and other sites of interest. This site also has a newsletter and forums.

(*) Of the 93.5 percent of survey respondents who reported holding any degree.

(**) Of survey respondents with a bachelor's degree or higherSources: 1999 InfoWorld Compensation Survey, Stanford University, Mankato State University, Princeton Review Online, U.S. Department of Education

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