A Pathway to Creativity Through Computer Science
Choosing a degree may seem like a daunting and life-changing task. With hundreds of courses now being offered by countless universities and many of these also offering joint degrees, allowing you to take a combination of subjects, we’ve never had so much choice.
While things such as entry requirements and career path are obviously at the forefront of most young people’s thinking, there are other considerations, like the opportunity to be creative. There are some paths that we instantaneously acknowledge as creative pursuits, such as painting, music, writing and theater. However, one of the problems highlighted in research conducted by Voucherbox is that those looking for an arts degree can end up paying drastically more than students hitting the books in other areas of study.
One course of study that might have slipped under the radar of those looking for a creative pursuit that doesn’t cost the Earth and offers a great career path is computer science.
Computer Science and Programming
First, it’s important to make a distinction between computer science and programming, as it can be confusing. Computer science is the study of what computers do and programming is the practice of making computers do things. Many courses advertised as computer science offer a significant programming component, which may be so that you can put the theoretical parts of the course into practice, or possibly for their own sake so that you can learn the skill of making programs. A computer science major is almost always a competent programmer, and a seasoned programmer will have picked up many principles of computer science.
Creating through Programming
Programming is essentially creating simple and efficient answers to problems. Once you have figured out how to solve a problem you then create a program that embodies and implements your solution, hopefully correctly and repeatedly. Programmers often use some very primary code over and over, and while those small bits of a programming language aren’t significantly beautiful in and of themselves, they will come together to create a final product that is amazing. Programming is an art form, but you’re unlikely to get the same level of recognition or accolade as a painter or poet. What you create tends to remain hidden to most and will only be appreciated by your peers and clients.
Creative Code W4 4.6 (pixel peeking) (CC BY 2.0) by Rev Dan Catt
If you are thinking of earning a computer science degree and getting into programming, you’ll no doubt be curious about career options after your graduation. With many courses, there are few guarantees and many people have worked hard to graduate and built up masses of student debt only to discover that their degree doesn’t earn them enough to live a comfortable life.
With computer science, there is every reason to be optimistic about your projected career path. This doesn’t mean you can just sit around waiting for the offers to roll in, as it’s still a competitive industry, but you can be confident that job opportunities will exist and that it’s a career track with escalating salaries. In recent years IT workers have been experiencing bigger pay bumps than many other professionals and starting salaries for tech professional occupations are projected to increase by 3-5% in 2017.
Escultura (algoritmo) (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Andru+en+I
If you consider yourself a creative person, then studying computer science and launching a career in programming is an option you should examine. There are lots of ways to get started and you should dip your toe before you sign up to an expensive and demanding course of study. The learning curve is steep, but it’s probably not that much harder than learning to draw or play an instrument, yet the career path you find yourself on could be significantly more lucrative.