Overview of the Computer Science & Computer Engineering Double Major
Those interested in computer hardware and software will benefit most from combining the principles of computer science and computer engineering in a double major program. This course of study is designed to provide candidates with the skills necessary for computational design, algorithm programming, and software development, just to name a few. Rather than requiring program participants to earn two separate undergraduate degrees in each area, institutions offer five-year programs where candidates can achieve equal mastery in both subject areas. Careers in computer science and computer engineering can be quite lucrative, and graduates can go on to pursue a number of different career paths with their degrees.
Computer Science & Computer Engineering Admissions Requirements
Admissions requirements for programs in computer science and computer engineering will depend on the specific institution to which candidates apply. Some universities only accept a select few to their programs, with some institutions only accepting around 500 students per year, making them highly competitive. In order to stand out, applicants should be able to demonstrate proven academic success, preferably with experience in advanced placement courses focusing on mathematics and science. Additionally, participation in robotics clubs, computer programming camps, and other extracurricular activities will help applicants gain a better chance at admission.
Computer Science & Computer Engineering Course Descriptions
Computer technology is ever-changing, but many of the core elements used in modern devices remain the same. The most successful programs will provide candidates with coursework in the following areas to better prepare them for their future careers:
Computer Systems Concepts
Coursework in computer systems concepts provides aspiring computer engineers with the basic principles of computing systems, operating systems, assembly language, and more. Candidates will learn the specific structures that make up operating systems, including application interfaces, file systems, memory management, and processes. This essential coursework will provide candidates with the context they need to assess computing systems throughout their academic and professional careers.
Circuits & Signals
These classes are typically offered in a laboratory setting, providing candidates with hands-on experience as they learn about circuit theory, circuit building, signal processing, and programming. Program participants will have the chance to illustrate their knowledge of circuits, analog signals, digital signals, and more to build functional systems of their own. These experiences provide candidates with the confidence they need to attempt more complex circuit builds as they progress in their studies.
Software Design & Development
Not only do computer science and computer engineering dual majors need training in circuitry, but candidates will be expected to understand how to build software programs from concept to creation. Studies in software design and development do just that, providing participants with experience in developing embedded systems, such as memory, I/O, and interrupts. Coursework can also include elements of object-oriented design by teaching candidates CSS and C++.
Artificial Intelligence & Intelligent Systems
Advancements in artificial intelligence continue to dominate the digital age, and candidates must be prepared to contribute to their development after graduation. Coursework in artificial intelligence involves the study of game theory, logic representation and reasoning, machine learning, and language processing. Candidates may also learn how to apply principles in artificial intelligence to other areas of computer design and programming as they create their own computer hardware, software, and programs.
Algorithm Design & Programming
Most computer systems and programs operate at the algorithmic level, with specific data sets in place to aid in proper computational function. Classes in algorithm design and programming develop candidates' ability to create their own algorithms for computer system development. Among the different principles learned through this coursework, candidates will gain an understanding in dive-and-conquer algorithms, graph traversal algorithms, and optimization techniques.
How to Choose a Double Major Program
Just as institutions are selective about the candidates they accept into their programs, aspiring graduates must exercise caution when choosing their double major programs. Successful programs will balance components of computer hardware structure and building with software development and program design to provide candidates with a well-rounded educational experience. Additionally, candidates should tour the universities to which they wish to apply so they may see their computer laboratory settings first-hand prior to submitting their applications. Program participants should also understand their opportunity to get involved with extracurricular groups, such as robotics teams and programming clubs, that allow them to extrapolate upon their skills learned in the classroom. Institutions should also provide candidates with a broad network of internship, volunteer, and professional development opportunities to better prepare them for their future careers.
Available Careers in Computer Science & Computer Engineering
With the saturation of technology in the digital age, professionals in computer science and computer engineering are in high demand. Because computer science applies to a broad spectrum of industries, graduates from a dual major program can pursue a large number of professions after graduation. Most commonly, graduates go on to become computer programmers, earning a median salary of $84,280 as of 2018, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, graduates can find success in the following career paths as well: