Different types of computer science specializations: Which is right for you?

  • Different types of computer science specializations: Which is right for you?

    Have you always been drawn to computers, tablets and other devices? You might have considered a career or education in computer science. Even if you didn’t earn your bachelor’s degree in this field, you can start or advance your career in computer science with a graduate degree.

    Whether you’re a whiz at building robotics or an avid programmer, there are plenty of routes you can take when pursuing a computer science master’s degree that allow you to shine at what you’re good at – and what you love to do. Check out some of these common specializations that you might choose:

    Artificial intelligence

    When people used to think of artificial intelligence (AI), they imagined futuristic worlds in which robots do all their chores and self-driving cars take them to and from work. While AI isn’t as advanced as we might see in cartoons like “The Jetsons,” it’s come a long way in recent years. A specialty in AI can help students navigate different formats of this technology, including virtual assistants, smart home devices, chatbots and other AI systems we come into contact with on a daily basis.

    Some common careers in AI include machine learning developers and robotics designers. As more organizations are getting onboard with automating their systems, computer scientists with backgrounds in AI are becoming a hot commodity.

    Cloud computing

    As consumers are seeking out high-level technologies and systems, there has been a notable increase in demand for cloud-based programs and services. While it presented itself as a cutting-edge technology in previous years, “the cloud” is now a mainstream system used by individuals and organizations around the world. Computer science graduate students who choose this specialization learn the ins and outs of cloud computing, beginning with the basics and eventually becoming experts in Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).


    While technology has progressed for good in recent decades, hackers have also developed technology that is used for malicious intent. To combat cyberattacks, which can result in costly data breaches, businesses and federal organizations bring on talented cybersecurity professionals and agencies to keep their information safe and sound. With expertise in cybersecurity, you can gain the tools you’ll need to prevent important data from being compromised. This specialization can help you learn how to detect, combat and predict ongoing cyberthreats.

    If you’d like to pursue a career as a cybersecurity specialist or information security analyst, this specialization may be the right addition to your computer science education.

    Data science/analytics

    With a concentration in data analytics and/or data science, you can immerse yourself into the concept of big data, a component of computer science that has an impact on all kinds of industries, from sports and ecommerce to health care and government practices. In your immersive studies, you can gain the skills to gather, synthesize and interpret mined data, making you an asset in your current or upcoming professional career.

    One of the most in-demand careers presently is that of a statistician. According to the BLS, hiring for this role is expected to grow 31% between 2018 and 2028. With a specialization in data science or data analytics, you may gain the knowledge you’ll need to join this career.

    Software engineering

    A specialization in software engineering can be the right choice for professionals seeking out the opportunity to work with mobile or web-based software. Taking an in-depth dive into various software development techniques might involve working through life cycle projects, following the design, testing, implementation and maintenance steps. In addition to teaching them these fundamental engineering skills, graduate programs may highlight security in software development, as the preservation of data is becoming an increasingly important component of computer science.

    Careers in software development are currently on the rise, according to the BLS. Between 2018 and 2028, employment for software developers is projected to rise 21%, at a much faster rate than average for all occupations. In addition, web developers are expected to increase at a rate of 13% during this 10-year period.

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