Austin Barkett, a senior software engineer at Google and recent Penn State Harrisburg graduate, describes how the college prepared him for his role at one of the world's leading tech companies.
Computer Science (B.S.)
This program is designed to prepare students for employment as computer scientists in engineering, scientific, industrial, and business environments as software developers, programmers, and systems analysts. While most students will enter the job market directly upon graduation, graduate school in computer science or related areas is also an option. Selection of electives can be tailored for students pursuing this path.
The Computer Science major provides comprehensive preparation in the areas of algorithm design and analysis, systems programming, programming languages, and software engineering and design. Elective courses provide deeper coverage of these areas, as well as background in diverse areas such as artificial intelligence, database design, compiler construction, and computer network and security. The program is strong in mathematical and statistical components, and students should expect to develop a solid background in the mathematical sciences, to master skills in computer science, and most importantly to become good problem solvers. Through this program students are prepared to work as computer scientists in engineering, scientific, industrial, and business environments. While most students will enter the job market directly upon graduation, graduate school in computer science or related areas is also an option. Selection of electives can be tailored for students pursuing this path.
A computer scientist can hold a number of professional positions. The following list provides some examples of positions a computer scientist might hold: Computer Programmer, Computer Engineer, Hardware Engineer, Information Systems Analyst, Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, Data Communications Analyst, Programmer-Analyst, Telecommunications Specialist, Computer Security Specialist, Computer Support Specialist, Technical Salesperson, and Teacher.
Computer Science jobs are expected to be among the top three fastest growing occupations and one of the top 20 in the number of new jobs created. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for Computer Science graduates are projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. This increase is in part due to a greater emphases on cloud computing, big data, and internet-of-things. Over the last few years, Penn State Harrisburg Computer Science graduates have obtained positions with companies such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Google, Boeing, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Oracle, General Dynamics, Northrop and Grumman, GEOS, Hershey Medical Center, Woolworth, Rite Aid, and EDS.
Professional societies provide insight, experience, and networking in a chosen field. Students in Computer Science often become members of the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s first educational and scientific computing society dedicated to advancing the art, science, engineering, and application of information technology. Penn State Harrisburg has a student chapter of the ACM that regularly participates in programming competitions, trips, and other local activities.
Computer Science students are encouraged to incorporate internships into their academic program. Provided in a variety of local business and government settings, internships can provide valuable hands-on experience that will benefit graduates during their job search. Previous students have completed successful internships with state government, IBM, UNISYS, and other businesses.