Thinking or preparing for an interesting degree at a computer science school in the United States? If so, maybe you’d like to know more about the daily life of a computer science student. Apart from the obvious that you will focus on studying, cracking all those codes, debugging, solve driver conflicts and configuring networks, being a computer science student in the U.S. is sort of a lucky charm.
After completing a Master’s degree in Computer Science, you can find a job at one of the local big technology companies, like Apple, Microsoft or any acclaimed name in the field. Sure, all important technology corporations have an office in all the big cities worldwide, but the United States is the place where the computers and modern technology frenzy started. For this reason, American colleges and universities are really dedicated to training future experts and to pass on the legacy of innovation.
Check these computer science specialisations you can apply to in the USA:
- Master's degrees in Data Science in the U.S.;
- Master's degrees in IT Security in the U.S.;
- Master's degrees in Cloud Computing in the U.S.;
- Master's degrees in Information Sciences in the U.S..
The daily life of a computer science student in America
1. It's ok to ask questions
Studying computer science is about being able to unpuzzle the hardest of all puzzles by yourself. That is true, but never hesitate to ask professors questions, especially if you feel like you’re missing out on something or don’t completely understand.
2. You have plenty of time for homework!
When it comes to the daily schedule, usually, students have to attend three theoretical courses each semester and each course has a weekly lecture of one hour and a half. Yes, you counted right! There will be just four hours and a half of classes each week (more or less because it depends on the college or university). However, in addition to these classes, you will have to complete assignments, get involved in various projects and research daily.
3. Learn IT skills from esteemed experts!
U.S. colleges and universities focus a lot on helping students acquire practical knowledge and most have partnerships with local famous technology companies. You have the opportunity to meet with employees from these companies and attend workshops on various computer science skills you want to learn or further develop.
4. Make the world a little better and create a useful app!
In some universities, computer science faculties organize contests, encouraging student teams to build or create an innovative app or device. The goal of these contests is not necessarily winning a big prize, although sometimes they lead to offering an internship at a big company. The contests are more about teaching students how to work under pressure, respect a deadline and create an original and useful tech product. To give an example, computer science students from University of Michigan have developed a therapeutic game for children with autism and a mobile app that monitors the breathing of newborns.
5. You can get involved in research projects and earn some pocket money!
You could actually get paid as you study, as some computer schools set-up research summer programs in which faculty members work on a research project. Students who join these projects and assist professors in their work, are paid by the faculty for the duration of the program (that may last around 10-12 weeks).
Want to experience the student life of a future American IT specialist?
Check out some American schools that offer computer science and information technology Bachelor and Master degrees:
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- University of South Florida
- University of South Carolina
- Oregon State University
- Southern New Hampshire University
Basic advice for a successful computer science student experience in the U.S.
1. Don’t miss the deadline for submitting projects!
Get your assignments or projects done in advance of your deadline. Those movie scenes with students doing their homework just a few hours before they had to submit it don’t apply to real-life computer science students. Leaving your computer science projects to the last minute won’t lead to a spectacular result.
2. Attend at least one elective course that’s not related to computer science
Choose elective courses in at least one field that is way different than computer science; it could be biology, business, music, anything. Technology and engineering may be all you’re interested in, but studying something else can actually enhance your career opportunities and it’s always a good idea to widen your horizons.
3. Get some hands-on experience
Do at least one internship (preferably at a big established company), or get involved in a start-up and attend any conference or project that you hear about. The job market for computer science graduates is extremely competitive, that goes without saying. So you have to prepare to stand out from the crowd, early on, starting from your undergraduate or graduate education years.
Preparing for the exciting career in the Computer Science/Engineering field
Once you successfully complete your Bachelor or Master program in computer science, you can consider yourself a superhero and be really proud of what you achieved.
Being an engineering specialist is not only good for your self-esteem, your talent will be greatly rewarded. According to PayScale, check the average salaries for computer science experts in the USA:
- Software engineers: 79,000 USD per year
- Web developers: 58,000 USD/year
- Data scientists: 91,000 USD/year
- Product developers: 71,000 USD/year
Whether you’d like to create all kind of useful apps, fun video games, protect the integrity of online information or get involved in any activity in the IT field, log-in to an undergraduate or graduate degree in computer science at an American college or university, and join the challenging world of technology.