Western Washington University · Bellingham, Washington
Computer Science, BS
What is the study of Computer Science?
The proliferation of desktop computers, laptop computers, mobile devices and networks is transforming the world rapidly and irreversibly. Search engines and social networking sites have provided information to and forged connections between people worldwide. Advances in areas such as the World Wide Web, robotics, video games, multicore computing, artificial intelligence and cyber security are obviously central to the discipline of computer science. However, other fields such as genetics, atomic physics, renewable energy, and health care depend upon computers for advancement as well. The increasing use of and reliance on computers in our modern technological society makes the study of computer science an exciting and challenging one.
Computer Science at Western is composed of core classes organized around the study of design and analysis techniques used to write software in various application domains along with details about the internal workings of computers and networks. Elective classes in areas such as artificial intelligence, mobile device programming, robotics, graphics, web programming, bioinformatics, computer security, and video game programming allow students to explore areas of individual interest.
Why Should I Consider this Major?
With the Bachelor of Science degree, students are prepared for graduate study or careers in industry as systems analysts and/or designers. Systems analysts assess the needs of a project for computer hardware and software, and then proceed to design systems that meet those needs. Systems analyst positions are not entry-level. They are the typical career path for students with Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science.
Graduates often begin their careers doing computer programming, which is a creative process spanning a wide range of areas of expertise that is heavily influenced by the application for which the programs or software is being developed. The Bachelor of Science degree provides a problem-solving and analytical background that is typical of the creative expertise employed by very good programmers and systems analysts to obtain programming solutions.
I originally started at Western thinking I would be a journalism major, but changed to computer science after I took a CSCI class and realized that programming was pretty cool. While at Western, I interned as a developer for Vitech Business Group, a supply chain management consulting firm in Bellingham, and as a program manager at Microsoft. The internship at Microsoft turned into a full-time job and now I work as a program manager in the Windows Live team at Microsoft. Being a program manager is great because I get to help plan what the team builds from the ground up and follow my product through each stage of development until it's shipped.
- Amanda Font, Student
Computer science majors at Western get a first rate education, with lots of one-on-one time with the faculty, but they also enjoy facing challenges together. Working as a team is a huge part of the industry today, and many of our class projects reflect that. Our students compete well as teams in national contests, too, such as the Microsoft Imagine Cup, the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, and the Starcraft AI Competition. The best thing about computer science, though, is you can get excited about a new idea and pursue it until it’s a real product.
- Geoffrey Matthews, Faculty
- Applied Science Technologist
- Computer Engineer
- Data Control Administrator
- Database Administrator
- Game Programmer
- Project Manager
- Research Analyst
- Robotics Programmer
- Systems Administrator
- Systems Analyst
- Systems Engineer
- Technical Writer
- Web Developer