Shattering Common Myths About a Computer Science Degree

A surgeon performs open-heart surgery on a patient without ever leaning over the operating table. In fact, the surgeon isn’t even standing in the same room, let alone the same city. He sits comfortably at a console, where he uses a robotic arm from afar to maneuver instruments into tiny incisions on the patient’s chest.

Sound like medical wizardry? This is the magic of computer science.

Although the above example is a dramatic one, few aspects of everyday life are untouched by computer science. Every car built today contains a computer that monitors the engine and alerts drivers with a "Check Engine" light when problems arise. Smart phones translate our movements on a touch screen. Shopping websites like Amazon.com track customer habits and make recommendations based on previous purchases.

Computer science has been shaping society for decades. With a computer science degree, you too have an opportunity to impact the world - and have fun in the process. There’s a lot more to it than code and hardware! Here are a few myths about computer science and a handful of reasons why you should pursue this dynamic, exhilarating field of study.

Myth: Computer science is boring and rigid.

Computer science is logical and structured, rooted in mathematics, but it requires as much creativity as the arts. You might say computer scientists are technological artists. They think in multiple dimensions, hunt for creative solutions to complex problems, and design unique software. Like muralists who assemble large-scale paintings, computer scientists are interpreting the world around them and building virtual landscapes.

Myth: If you get a degree in computer science, you will be chained to a computer forever.

Don’t be fooled by the name. You won’t be programming for a lifetime simply because you study computer science. Computer science is versatile and applicable to many fields like marketing, finance, retail, and criminal justice. For instance, you might work for a company that uses data mining software to predict customers’ buying patterns and figure out how to improve marketing and increase sales.

Remember that technology is rapidly changing, and you will need to change with it. A career in computer science requires you to embrace innovation and adapt quickly to change.

Myth: Computer scientists are anti-social nerds who sit in their basement typing code.

It’s true that some computer scientists spend endless hours writing code. But computer science requires a good deal of teamwork, interaction, and interpersonal skills. Many people with a computer science degree work on development teams and are trained to respond to users’ needs.

Computer science is the intersection of people and technology, and there is no better example of how that plays out than in social media. Facebook has become such a powerful connector that it helped spur a revolution in Egypt, giving protesters a space to organize. Today, Facebook boasts 750 million active users worldwide – and that phenomenon all started thanks to one computer programmer, Mark Zuckerberg.

If you aspire to be part of the creative economy, consider a computer science degree. You might have the potential to invent the next hit social media site, devise a medical robot to improve lives, or design a tool to identify terrorist hot spots. Any route points you to an exciting and rewarding career.

Saint Leo University, the oldest Catholic college in Florida (1889), ranks as one of the top universities in the South, according to U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" list. Saint Leo’s main campus, located 30 miles north of Tampa, educates more than 1,900 traditional students, part of a total enrollment of more than 15,000. Saint Leo University ranks as one of the nation's ten leading providers of higher education to the military and is a nationally recognized leader in online education.

To learn more about Saint Leo University’s Bachelor of Computer Science degree options, visit http://www.saintleo.edu/academics/undergraduate/majors-minors/bs-computer-science.