Computing as a Profession
Computer scientists and engineers apply the theories and principles of mathematics and science to design computers, software, networks, and processes. These professionals work in many settings in research, industry, government, business, and education to create advanced information technologies, computer systems, and computer applications. The field of computer science and engineering is constantly moving forward, providing intellectual challenges and developing new knowledge on an almost daily basis.
Graduates of our Computer Science and Engineering program can choose to focus their career in many different ways: entrepreneur, web applications, computer graphics, video games, enterprise computing, embedded systems, network administration, mobile applications, computer security, computer vision, computational biology, high performance (super) computing, scientific modeling, database systems, computer animations, wireless networks, artificial intelligence, and so on.
The demand for professionals in computing fields is widespread; job opportunities for computer scientists and engineers exist in almost every industry. As computer applications continue to expand, occupations in computer science and engineering are projected to be among the the fastest growing in the United States through 2016. An overview of job opportunities in computer science and engineering is available from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The image below, from an ACM report, shows how there are more jobs for Computer majors than for all the other Engineering, Science, and Math majors, combined.
The most common job titles our students move into are:
- Software Engineer/Software Developer, at companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Boeing, Vanguard, Blue Cross, etc. A software engineer designs and builds software: iPhone apps, websites (like facebook, amazon), desktop apps (like Excel), embedded software (that runs in your car), business systems (like banks), robot programs (that control manufacturing robots), medical software (that controls electronic medical records in hospitals), etc.
- Systems Analyst, at various consulting companies or large enterprises. A systems analyst studies a business' information technology needs and then design and implements an technical solution, for example, automating the claim process for an insurance company, changing a brick-and-mortar company into an e-commerce company, etc.
- System Administrator, at any company that uses computers in their business. System administrators are cybersecurity experts. They ensure that the computer network works and is secure from all attacks.
- Computer Engineer, at companies such as Intel, Motorola, AMD, NVidia, etc. A Computer Engineer designs and builds computers, computer peripherals, computer sensors, and other computer hardware systems as well as writing the low-level software which controls these devices.
Computer Science & Engineering covers many topics. Some of the topics you will learn about include:
- web application development
- mobile application development
- computer graphics and animation
- video games development
- programming languages
- robot programming
- artificial intelligence
- big data analytics
- human-computer interaction
- network/systems administration
- database systems
- computational biology
- high performance (super) computing
- scientific modeling
- computer networks
- management of business information systems
Computer Science and Engineering at USC
The Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers baccalaureate degrees with majors in computer science, computer engineering, and computer information systems. All three degrees provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to work as practitioners in all aspects of the computing and information processing industries. All majors include a common core of fundamental courses in computing. The major in computer engineering includes courses in electronics and computer hardware as well as software; the major in computer information systems includes courses in business and is designed for students who are primarily interested in business applications; the major in computer science allows students to focus primarily on the software aspects of computing and requires selection of an appropriate application area.
The Department also offers MS, ME, and PhD degrees in Computer Science and Engineering. A combined BS/MS program is available which facilitates completion of both degrees by allowing some senior courses to be applied to both degrees.
Faculty in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering conduct research and development in a variety of fundamental areas, including agent-based computing, decision making and analysis, database mining and warehousing, multimedia system design and implementation, parallel computer architecture, and security. This research finds applications in bioinformatics, e-commerce, education, information systems, and computer forensics. Advanced elective courses in these areas are offered, and there are some opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in ongoing research projects (or to suggest their own!).
We have an active ACM student group which support a variety of activities, including local programs and field trips, participation in regional conferences, and software contests. There is also an active local chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), a CyberSecurity club, and a Women in Computing group. The department provides support for undergraduate participation in many activities, including conferences and competitions.
Student Services in the College of Engineering and Computing
All undergraduate programs in the College of Engineering and Information Technology are coordinated by the Office of Student Services. This office conducts advisement and orientation for new and transfer students, maintains student records, tracks student progress, and clears students for graduation. They can also provide information and contacts in nonacademic areas such as housing and financial aid although they are not the primary source of information about these nonacademic areas. Forms and requests requiring the permission of the Dean should be taken to this office; responsibilities related to the undergraduate program have been delegated to this office.
Applying to the Computer Science and Engineering Department
Undergraduate students must apply for admissions to the University. Once accepted to USC you can choose whatever major you want, including any one of our Computer majors. Visit our Admissions page for information on applying to USC.