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Is a Computer Science Degree Worth It?

Earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science can be worthwhile if you wish to study the technical knowledge and important skills often needed to work in computer science roles.
3 students sitting at desktops working on their computer science degrees with one person standing asking questions

Understanding the Numbers
When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors — like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

If working with software, technology and a systems mindset interests you, computer science can be a great fit. It’s a field that offers many opportunities to work in cutting-edge technology and can lead to a variety of rewarding career paths.

What is Computer Science?

Dr. Gary Savard, associate dean of computer science at SNHUComputer science is a diverse field grounded in technology, combining elements of project planning, software development, data analysis and more, said Dr. Gary Savard, an associate dean of computer science at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).

In addition to work at SNHU, Savard has extensive experience working in the computer science field in other ways. He served in the United States Air Force as an officer, both active and reserve, for more than 30 years. He also worked as a software engineer for many companies and owned a software company himself.

His experience in the field ranges from classified Department of Defense projects to maintenance workflow software, artificial intelligence, medical imaging, large-scale database systems, web development and many other types of software development.

At SNHU, Savard oversees the team responsible for computer science course development and management, among many other responsibilities with both faculty and students.

Is it Worth it to Get a Degree in Computer Science?

Computer science is highly in demand across all types of industry, Savard said.* In fact, the field is enjoying exponential growth, both with traditional companies and with cutting-edge start-ups, he said.*

Nick LeBoeuf '23, computer science graduate from SNHUEarning a degree in computer science demonstrates your ability to work in a team as well as your aptitude for learning new technological skills and programming languages. You will also gain a lot of experience with hands-on learning and collaboration, according to Nick LeBoeuf '23.

Since earning his bachelor's degree in computer science from SNHU, LeBoeuf has put his own technological skills to work at his job in web development. To be successful in this role, he needs strong design skills coupled with the ability to put himself in the end-user's shoes.

LeBoeuf enjoys working in a profession that challenges him to keep his skills sharp. “What I love most about the computer science field is that you are constantly learning,” he said. “Technology is ever-evolving, and in computer science, we are (on) the front lines of this ever-changing field, trying to ... adapt our existing applications to new standards.”

Find Your Program

How Hard is a Computer Science Degree?

Any degree can be hard if it’s the wrong fit. While computer science is no doubt a challenging major for many due to its highly technical and mathematical nature, it’s a field that can be very rewarding for the right person, said Savard.

“It takes some time to develop the skills required (to be successful), but grit and persistence pays off,” he said.

As a recent graduate, LeBoeuf said, “I do think computer science (may) require more effort than other degrees ... but if you put in that effort and really enjoy what you do, it doesn’t seem hard."

Several skills that can be helpful for success in the computer science field, per Savard, are:

  • Communication skills, which include teamwork, oral and written communication and creative thinking. "Soft skills are critical," said Savard. You need the ability to speak to technical and non-technical stakeholders in an effective way, he said.
  • Database management skills, which includes an understanding of systems thinking, software design and software testing.
  • Math, which includes both applied and theoretical mathematical concepts such as algebra, calculus, discrete math and statistics, all of which are necessary to excel in this heavily technology-based career field.
  • Passion for learning, which includes a desire to work in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment working on technology that has become central to most areas of our lives.

What are the Disadvantages of a Computer Science Degree?

There are likely some individual classes you might not want to take, just like with any degree program, but these classes may help you later on in your schooling and career.

For LeBoeuf, "Data Structures and Algorithms" was a challenge. “When I was taking the class my sophomore year, it was definitely not my favorite class ... but I stuck with it because I knew it was important,” he said.

Two years later, LeBoeuf was able to apply what he learned in this class by serving as a Lead Peer Educator at SNHU for the computer science program. Through this role, he was able to teach other computer science majors the material and help them along in their own schooling. Today, working in the field as a front-end developer, LeBoeuf continues to apply the concepts he learned in that class every day.

Do Computer Science Majors Make a Lot of Money?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows positive job outlooks for a number of professions suitable for people with a bachelor's degree in computer science.* These professions include:

Median incomes for these jobs range from $80,730 for web developers and digital designers to $126,900 for computer network architects, BLS reported.* Job outlooks for each are predicted to increase between 4% (the national average for job growth) for computer network architects and by as much as 32% for information security analysts over the next 10 years, according to BLS.*

According to BLS, you may engage in the following types of work, depending on your specific career choice:

  • Create and maintain websites
  • Design and implement data communication networks
  • Design systems to hold and organize data
  • Design ways to improve efficiency of an organization's computer systems
  • Plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization's digital safety
A yellow money symbol on a blue background

While many computer science jobs require only a bachelor's degree to get started, if you go on to earn a master's degree, you may have even more career opportunities (SNHU does not currently offer a master's degree in computer science).

Working as a computer and information research scientist in software, research and development and computer systems design tends to be among the higher-earning computer science careers, as reported by BLS.* There are also many opportunities to work in the federal government, including the military, as well as academia. While these latter roles may not be as lucrative as more technological jobs, they still pay between $84,440 and $115,400, according to BLS.*

Is Computer Science Going to Be Replaced by AI?

An icon of a computer with a lock on the screen.Understandably, it may sound as though artificial intelligence, commonly known as AI, could take over the industry and result in computer scientists losing their jobs.

It’s important to remember that AI was originally developed by computer scientists. Because of this, Savard said he feels confident that computer science as a discipline isn’t going anywhere. Instead, "AI will help us to progress more quickly in developing new technologies as well as automate some of the more tedious tasks that can consume part of our day,” he said.

LeBoeuf agrees that AI is a good thing. “People think that AI is going to take jobs,” he said. “(But) you still need that human aspect to every single job to make sure AI is producing what it's meant to (produce).”

After all, computer scientists are the ones who implement AI into websites and applications for people to use, LeBoeuf said.

“AI can revolutionize various industries by improving efficiency and decision-making,” he said. “Through the tons of data you give it, (AI) also might discover new patterns or insights that humans might overlook because of the amount of data (they have before them).”

Is a Degree in Computer Science Right for Me?

Everyone has their own motivation for choosing a career field. If you have an interest in one or more of the following areas, you may find computer science a good path for you, said Savard:

  • Continual learning
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Opportunities to make a positive impact on society
  • Teamwork
  • Technology and problem-solving
An icon of three checkmark list items leading to a graduation cap.

Savard recognizes the unique skill set of computer scientists. He said that the ability to do things that seem like magic to those not in the field is very rewarding. Working first in the military and now in academia, he enjoys being able to put his skills to use educating others.

LeBoeuf's work is with a civil engineering firm. He enjoys the public involvement aspect of the field in particular.

“Putting yourself in the users’ shoes, and understanding where they would look for certain items on a website," is important and useful, LeBoeuf said.

The quickly expanding nature of the computer science field and the many avenues for learning and applying your skills are top benefits to a career in computer science.

Taking advantage of opportunities for collaboration and learning while in school can help prepare you for the rewarding computer science career of your choice.

Discover more about SNHU’s bachelor's degree in computer science: Find out what courses you'll take, skills you’ll learn and how to request information about the program.

*Cited job growth projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Actual salaries and/or earning potential may be the result of a combination of factors including, but not limited to: years of experience, industry of employment, geographic location, and worker skill.

A former higher education administrator, Dr. Marie Morganelli is a career educator and writer. She has taught and tutored composition, literature, and writing at all levels from middle school through graduate school. With two graduate degrees in English language and literature, her focus – whether teaching or writing – is in helping to raise the voices of others through the power of storytelling. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About Southern New Hampshire University

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SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.