If you’re on the IT job hunt and wondering how a BS in Computer Science will impact your search, we’ve got you covered. Will a BS in Computer Science improve your chances at getting a job this year? In an industry that’s constantly evolving, the simplest way to answer your question is: it depends. Of course, we’ve given it more thought than that! There are benefits of a Computer Science Degree but there are also ways around it.
The fact is, some companies require diplomas before you walk in the door. If you don’t have a 4-year degree on your resume, they’ll turn you away. This trend is particularly common in more corporate, structured companies so, if that’s what you’re aiming for, a BS in Computer Science is always a safe bet. Plus, your degree may get you into more advanced jobs more rapidly. For example, if a job requires 3 years of experience and you’ve only had one, but also have a degree, you may be considered for the position. This career acceleration isn’t guaranteed but it’s certainly an added bonus of having a Computer Science degree.
Having a degree isn’t enough to snag you a job, though. While graduating with a BS in Computer Science will open certain doors for you, making sure you have real-world experience to back it up is essential. Whether it’s internships, freelance or independent development for fun, your experience will always speak volumes more than a diploma. The more experience you have, the better. One internship doesn’t always cut it. Equally as important is your ability to articulate, display and describe your experience. Make sure the technologies you use are clearly listed throughout your resume and all relevant experience is easy to read.
If you’re having difficulty acquiring the role you want in IT, it may not be because you lack the appropriate degree. Take a moment to consider a few questions before applying for a job: What can you do for this company? How can the existing skills you have benefit them? What relevant experience do you have? Always make sure you have the skills needed to effectively contribute. If not, taking the time to get a BS in Computer Science may build up your skill level and help you obtain your dream job. Remember, a degree is not a golden ticket. In fact, many start-ups rarely care. They focus on relevant real-world experience instead. For the corporations who do care, keep in mind that not all computer science degrees carry the same weight. Many organizations will not regard a degree from a reputable institution and a for-profit university as equal. While you won’t need to spend the big bucks to go to an Ivy League school, a company who wants IT professionals with Computer Science degrees often want them to come from more prestigious schools than The University of Pheonix or DeVry.
Don’t let the requirements get you down! There are many companies who would be thrilled to bring aboard self-taught, intrinsically motivated IT professionals and guide them to success. Plus, even if you have a Computer Science degree, that doesn’t mean it’s time to put the books down and lose intellectual curiosity. It’s always best to keep up with the industry trends like which technologies are emerging and which are becoming obsolete. Continue to learn and develop on your own to make sure you’re staying on top of cutting edge technology and diversifying your skillset.
Having a BS in Computer Science will usually benefit your resume, but alone it isn’t enough for most IT opportunities. In 2014 the ability to explain what experience and skills you have in a clear, concise way is often invaluable. If you’re a web designer, have a portfolio ready. If you’re developing apps for fun, show them off and explain the work behind them. If a hiring manager can clearly engage in and evaluate your work it will overshadow whether or not you have a degree in most scenarios. Simply put, emphasize your experience first and pursue new technological skills in any way you can. A BS in Computer Science is beneficial in some cases, but it won’t carry you into interviews alone.