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Master's Degree in Computer Science: Overview
Earning a master's degree in computer science prepares students to advance a career in technology research or development. Jobs in the computer science field can typically be found in a company's information technology department, a government agency or a non-profit entity. A master's degree program gives students specialized skills in one or more areas of technology, including network security, software development or artificial intelligence.
Prerequisites for a Computer Science Master's Degree Program
Those earning their master's degree in computer science often already work in high-tech positions. Many schools do not require a specific undergraduate major to enter the computer science master's program, though a bachelor's degree is usually part of the criteria for admissions eligibility.
Some programs allow new students with little or no experience in computers or technology while others prefer some proficiency in math, operating systems and programming. Prerequisites vary for a master's program, and students are encouraged to contact the graduate school to verify that all undergraduate prerequisite coursework has been completed prior to enrolling.
Graduate Courses in Computer Science
Master's degree programs typically offer courses that follow a specialized training regimen. Graduate studies focus and enhance subjects learned in an undergraduate program, often leading to the development of skills in a concentrated discipline, such as network security or software engineering. Courses often include the following:
- Computational theory and practice
- Operating system analysis
- Network architecture, language and security
- Database design, data warehousing and storage
- Data compiling and network/Internet protocols
- Software theory and algorithms
Those with a master's degree in computer science may choose to perform technical research or advance an existing career. Technicians in the information technology field may use a master's degree to seek management positions. Historically, the computer science field has grown steadily with the advent of new technologies for business and personal use.
The employment outlook varies by job. For example, software developers were projected to see a 17% rise in jobs from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Database administrators could see an 11% increase in employment opportunities during the same decade, per the BLS.