Computer-oriented jobs have grown 338 percent since 1990 according to a recent study, and the ideal computer science education has changed dramatically since then as well. But with the right skills, a computer science degree can be a passport to an incredibly exciting career on the cutting edge of industries like artificial intelligence, robotics, biomedicine, and cybersecurity.
If you want to be a part of the future of computing, here are 5 of the most important skills that a CS grad needs today that they didn’t need 5 years ago. And if you want to acquire these skills through a flexible, affordable, and 100% online program, check out Arizona State University’s Online Master of Computer Science degree, offered in partnership with Coursera.
Given the vast amounts of data produced by our increasingly-digital, increasingly-online world, computer science has had to develop new data processing tools to make sense of it all. Data mining techniques allow programmers to extract patterns from massive datasets, glean critical insights from these patterns, and put these insights to work. Closely related to statistical machine learning as well as database management, data mining is a key foundational skill for jobs in industries ranging from digital marketing to biomedicine.
Machine learning (ML) is the use of algorithms and statistics to improve the performance of computers at a specific task without the need for continuous human supervision. For example, with the right training, a computer can learn to distinguish images of a car from images of a bicycle without needing a specific algorithm programmed for this purpose. As you can imagine, machine learning is essential for artificial intelligence applications, but it’s also invaluable for pattern recognition in industries such as finance and cybersecurity.
Knowledge Representation and Reasoning
Effectively harnessing the raw algorithmic power of techniques like machine learning depends on skills in Knowledge Representation and Reasoning – also known as KR, KR², or KR&R. KR&R is the what programmers use to represent information about the world in a way that a computer can understand, which is crucial for the success of real-world artificial intelligence applications in fields such as biomedicine. It also encompasses the use of logic to automate processes requiring certain kinds of reasoning, such as the application of rules.
In the age of Big Data, the ability to present massive amounts of information in a useful, accessible way has become an essential skill for careers in fields as diverse as business, design, and journalism. Data visualization techniques help users navigate large, complex datasets through interactive exploration, allowing them to quickly locate and make sense of the information they need to make critical business decisions – or simply to better understand and appreciate our increasingly data-rich world.
No discussion of hot new topics in computer science would be complete without a mention of blockchain, the technology underpinning digital currencies like Bitcoin. Blockchain isn’t just about cryptocurrencies, however – with the ability to create unalterable distributed ledgers and self-executing contracts, blockchain’s decentralized approach to security has the potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries. Skills in this rapidly-evolving field can open up doors to careers in supply chain management, energy, cybersecurity, and even real estate, and ASU’s Blockchain Research Laboratory has made it a leading university for blockchain education.
Advancing Your CS Skills Online
If your computer science education could use an expansion pack with some or all of these skills, you’re in luck. Arizona State University’s Online Master of Computer Science (MCS) degree, offered through an innovative partnership between ASU’s School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering and Coursera, is a rigorous computing degree with the skills you need to compete for the jobs of the future. Make 2019 the year you level up your career and gain a deep understanding of cutting-edge topics like AI, cybersecurity, blockchain, and big data.5