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How Online Computer Science Master’s Programs are Closing the Technology Skills Gap

June 9, 2023

In today’s tech-focused, data-driven world, computer science is indispensable. Leading tech companies increasingly seek out experts who have the important skills for computer science to develop new technologies, intuitive processes, and innovative solutions to complex problems. This increased demand for more advanced computing has ushered in a greater need for  computer science professionals with specialized skills. 

How great is that need? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts 21 percent growth in the computer and information research science job market (about four times the rate of growth for the job market as a whole), resulting in more than 3,000 job openings annually. These are high-paying jobs—with a median annual income of over $131,000, according to the BLS—but there’s a catch. These positions require high-level training bolstered by experience. In short, they require the qualities acquired through a master’s degree program. 

Computer science master’s programs, such as the online Master of Science in Computer Science program from Tulane, prepare students for success in this competitive field. By emphasizing hands-on learning, prioritizing career preparation, and exposing students to real-world scenarios, they ensure students graduate with a solid grounding in both computing theory and practice. 

What Skills are Employers Looking For in Computer Science Professionals?

As companies race to adopt more advanced tech solutions and employ digital-first strategies, they need a skilled workforce that can help them stay competitive. The best computer scientists are not only proficient in well-established computing practices, but they also have the skills needed for computer science to quickly identify and master emerging technologies.

At a minimum, employers want candidates who have software engineering skills, an understanding of data structures, and programming proficiency in languages such as Java and Python. To be a standout applicant, you should also be familiar with specialized areas of computer science such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science. The best way to demonstrate your knowledge and important skills for computer science is by showcasing your relevant internship, job, or project experience. 

In addition to technical expertise, organizations value soft skills such as teamwork, creativity, and critical thinking. Your professional journey will likely lead you into team-oriented environments where collaboration and problem-solving skills are expected. 

Employers are currently struggling to find candidates who can demonstrate mastery of both the hard and soft skills necessary for technical roles. Online computer science master’s programs, such as the MS in Computer Science from Tulane, address this gap by helping graduates develop the in-demand, marketable skills employers want. 

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What Advanced Skills Will You Learn in an Online Computer Science Master’s Program?

Online computer science master’s programs offer hands-on skill training that elevates both your technical skills and key soft skills in preparation for professional situations. Programs like the online MS in Computer Science from Tulane can help you develop in the following areas. 

Hard Skills

  • Artificial intelligence is the future of work, no matter the industry. Your online master’s in computer science program should help you develop your understanding of the concepts and techniques playing a key role in AI. At Tulane, you will learn fundamental concepts in AI such as search, constraint satisfaction, reasoning under uncertainty, and agent-based methods.
  • Machine Learning is a subfield of artificial intelligence that seeks to build models that make use of training data to accurately perform classification and language tasks. The Tulane online MSCS program can teach you how to apply these strategies to help companies more accurately predict trends and deliver results.
  • Algorithms provide the theoretical framework for computational problem-solving. Online master’s in computer science programs often cover algorithm design principles and data structures to help you understand how they work. At Tulane, you’ll practice these skills and learn how to improve processes across industries such as social media, retail, healthcare, and business.
  • Computational Geometry focuses on geometric modeling and is used in other subfields such as visualization, robotics, computer graphics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The online MS in Computer Science program at Tulane offers an elective in this subject that covers both fundamental geometric algorithm design and select advanced topics. 
  • Data Science helps you collect, process, and derive insight from data. Most data science courses will teach the fundamental skills in this area. At Tulane, you’ll gain  the skills to drive strategic decision-making and offer solutions to business, scientific, and sociological questions. 
  • Systems is a topic focused on the design and analysis of hardware and software systems. It covers areas such as computer architecture, networking, operating systems, security, and databases. Tulane online master’s in computer science program introduces you to multi-agent systems, which are playing an increasingly crucial role in artificial intelligence. 
  • Computational Biology and Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary specialization that can prepare you to deliver relevant insights in healthcare and research. Methods in this area require a firm understanding of algorithms and the biological relevance of their inputs and outputs. Computer science master’s programs, such as the online MSCS at Tulane, can teach you how to analyze and make predictions in areas such as genetic sequences, cell populations, and protein samples. 

Soft Skills

  • Communication and collaboration are essential to successful teams. Your master’s program should give you opportunities to practice collaborating with other technical workers, creative teams, and clients. At Tulane, you’ll participate in group projects, where you will share ideas, synthesize and present information to stakeholders, and consult with a team.  
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills help you confront ambiguity.  The Tulane online MS in Computer Science program will help you become a more solutions-oriented professional who can analyze problems from multiple perspectives, evaluate solutions, and deliver informed results. 
  • Curiosity, creativity, and innovation are pillars of computer science. Tulane faculty will teach you to stretch your inventive muscles and think creatively through hands-on, collaborative projects with your peers. You’ll become more comfortable with taking risks and trying new techniques.
  • Lifelong Learning is key to long-term career success and an online master’s in computer science program should inspire you to continue upskilling after graduation. At Tulane, we will equip you with functional knowledge so you can continue to build your skill set over time. Additionally, our expert faculty will share their research and work experience so you can explore new subject areas and current trends. 

How Do Online Computer Science Programs Prepare You for the Professional World?

To enter the workforce as a competitive candidate, you need more than theoretical computer science knowledge. That’s why the best online programs offer immersive learning opportunities, courses taught by expert faculty, and curricula informed by real-world case studies. At Tulane, we emphasize three key areas of support to help you prepare for success as a computer science professional.  

Collaborative Learning 

Taking advantage of all the resources and connections your graduate program offers can help you achieve a more well-rounded education. In the online MS in Computer Science program at Tulane, we ensure you have the opportunity to regularly engage with your peers, faculty, and course material. Our small classes contribute to a collaborative team environment in which you learn with and from your classmates. 

Career Guidance

At Tulane, our faculty are top practitioners and researchers in the computer science field who are eager to share their expertise. Live class discussions and virtual office hours create space for you to ask questions and get advice that is specific to your career goals and interests. Our global alumni network offers avenues to expand your industry connections, take advantage of mentorship, and get insight into what employers are looking for from those who know best. 

Practical Application

Interactive lessons that simulate scenarios you may encounter in the workplace help you build both technical and soft skills. The online MS in Computer Science from Tulane offers the opportunity to apply the skills you gain through hands-on projects that mirror real-world situations. Additionally, you can apply new concepts at work, adding value to your organization.

The Online MS in Computer Science Program From Tulane Can Provide the Skill Training to Stand Out

Technology is becoming more advanced every day and the need for highly skilled computer science professionals will only continue to grow. Pursuing an online computer science master’s degree program can help you advance your technical skills from wherever you are, without putting your career on hold.

At Tulane, we believe closing the skills gap is essential to the future of work in the computer science field. That’s why we develop leaders who are prepared to meet industry demands and help companies stay ahead of the curve. 

Our 100% online MS in Computer Science program is designed for curious thinkers who want to develop innovative solutions and create the future of computer science. In this program, you will gain more than technical expertise. You will gain interpersonal skills and industry connections that can position you for long-term career success in an evolving industry. 

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