9 Must-Have Computer Science Skills That Open Doors Across Industries

October 18, 2023

Demand for computer science skills has been on the rise since the onset of the digital age, with no sign of slowing down any time soon. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts the computer and information technology job markets to increase 15 percent between 2021 and 2031, nearly three times the rate for the entire U.S. workforce. And that growth will occur across industries. According to the World Economic Forum, over the next five years, more than 75 percent of companies plan to adopt technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing.

Computer science doesn’t merely create jobs — it creates high-paying jobs. The median income for computing professions is significantly higher than all other occupations. For example, in 2021, the median income for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers was $109,000, more than double the average American worker’s income. 

You’ll need more than basic programming expertise to qualify for the highest-paying jobs. Credentials such as graduate degrees deliver advanced capabilities and demonstrate your ability to build essential tech skills and knowledge. Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) degree programs like the one offered online by Tulane University teach the cutting-edge skills employers demand, making an MSCS an invaluable credential in the current job market

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In-Demand Computer Science Skills

Not sure what to look for when considering MSCS programs? Inform your decision by surveying nine of the most in-demand computer science skills. 

1. Algorithm Design

An algorithm is a sequence of steps implemented to solve a specific problem or complete a task. Everyday examples of algorithms include recipes and traffic signals.

Software engineers skilled in algorithm design can write code to instruct computers to perform tasks or manipulate and process data. That’s not so challenging with simple tasks (e.g., sorting a list of numbers from least to greatest), but most computing tasks are significantly more complicated. Also, algorithms must run in conjunction with and parallel to other algorithms, adding further complexity to implementation. Imagine writing a recipe for preparing a thousand different dishes near-instantaneously.

Tulane’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science program teaches fundamental and advanced algorithm design principles and data structures. It covers complexity theory, approximation algorithms, and randomized algorithms, enabling you to develop the skills to solve problems across industries.

2. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and NLP

Developers skilled in AI, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP) program machines to process and understand human language, scan data sets to draw conclusions, and even mimic human intelligence. Applications range from chatbots and GPS navigation to automated stock trading and medical diagnosis.

Tulane’s Online MSCS instructs you in such fundamental AI concepts as problem-solving using search, constraint satisfaction, and reasoning under uncertainty. The program’s Machine Learning and NLP elective module dives deeper into natural language with forays into probabilistic modeling, neural networks, and deep learning.

3. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing enables companies to access computing power, storage, databases, software, and other resources without having to own or manage the requisite physical infrastructure. Cloud computing saves businesses money, eases the process of scaling up or down, and offers solutions to data storage and security challenges. Professionals in this field design, implement, and manage cloud-based solutions, enabling businesses to benefit from this advanced technology. At Tulane, you can build your cloud computing skills to become a best-in-class specialist.

4. Computer Networking

Computer networks connect devices and systems, enable communication, and facilitate resource sharing and data exchange. Without computer networking, modern business would grind to a halt (remote work would be impossible without computer networks). The Tulane Online MSCS program introduces you to the core concepts and techniques needed to design and analyze computer networks and network protocols.

5. Computational Geometry

Computational geometry combines computer science and mathematics to solve diverse challenges relating to computer graphics and visualization, robotics, sensor networks, and geographic information systems. Industries that use computational geometry include manufacturing, three-dimensional modeling, and video game design. The Tulane Online MS in Computer Science program offers a specialization in this field. Coursework covers fundamental geometric algorithm design and analysis paradigms, geometric data structures for planar subdivisions and range searching, algorithms to compute the convex hull, Voronoi diagrams, and Delaunay triangulation, as well as selected advanced topics.

6. Data Analysis

Companies accumulate vast amounts of data that offer vital insights — provided they know how to access, organize, filter, and process the information. Data analysts do just that: They harness computing power to find patterns in data that humans could never detect on their own. The online Tulane MSCS program offers a specialization in data science with coursework covering data scraping, statistical modeling, and data visualization, among other topics.

7. Data Science

Data science is a broad discipline in which data analytics is a subfield. While data analytics focuses primarily on extracting valuable insights from data sets and applying those insights to practical solutions, data science explores data on a more theoretical level. It aims to develop new methods for data collection, cleaning, and interpretation — and to develop new approaches to data engineering and predictive modeling. According to the BLS, employment of data scientists should grow 36 percent from 2021 to 2031 as companies look to use new, advanced technologies and big data to support their decision-making processes. 

Tulane’s offerings in the area of data science covers data collection and management systems, exploratory and statistical data analysis, and machine learning techniques. You will also learn how to present and communicate the results of these analyses. 

8. Programming Languages

Different computer programming languages offer unique features that make them more or less suitable to the many tasks programmers undertake. Mastery of several languages — Python, Java, and C++ are among the most popular — can only bolster your resume. Each language adds advantageous versatility. Tulane’s project-oriented, programming-intensive courses involve a semester-long real-world project in which students apply a recognized software engineering methodology, a modern programming language, and software development tools (including an IDE, debugger, version control system, and testing framework).

9. Software Development

Demand for software developers continues to grow. According to the BLS, employment of software developers should increase by 26 percent by 2031, adding over 400,000 new jobs nationwide. The elective Software Studio at Tulane University’s Online MSCS program trains you to function efficiently as part of a team in a software development project, imparting indispensable real-world experience. 

Build Your Computer Science Skills Online at Tulane

Digital transformation will continue to accelerate across industries as companies seek to secure long-term growth, boosting job opportunities for skilled computer science professionals. 

An MSCS helps you develop invaluable skills such as algorithm design, cloud computing, AI and machine learning, and data science. Those skills can pay off. According to PayScale, master’s degree in computer science graduates net around $112,000 per year on average, $30,000 more than the average annual earnings for those holding only an undergraduate computer science degree.

Earning an online MSCS degree from Tulane can upgrade your skills while communicating to employers your commitment to a career in computer science leadership and management. The program is 100 percent online, so you never have to visit campus to complete your degree.

Tulane’s Online Master of Computer Science offers options to personalize your course of study with a specialization in computational geometry, computational biology and bioinformatics, algorithms and theory, systems, data science, or artificial intelligence and machine learning. You’ll learn from industry insiders and thought leaders at a nationally renowned university. To learn more about how you can earn your MSCS from Tulane University, contact us today. 

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