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Industry Guide: Is a Master’s Computer Science Degree Worth It in 2024?

January 24, 2024

Evaluating the IT job market can be challenging. Thousands of layoffs flooded Silicon Valley in early 2023, sounding alarm bells. As Megan Slabinski, global talent recruitment executive at Robert Half, put it, “It was like constant water torture throughout the year, with big tech layoffs happening nearly every month.”

Yet the demand for tech workers appears strong in early 2024. “Tech is everywhere in the labor market, and the relatively small number of layoffs at some very prominent large companies is not going to change that fact,” Richard Wahlquist, chief executive at the American Staffing Association, told CNBC. Tim Herbert, chief research officer for CompTIA, concurs: “The data continues to confirm the degree to which technology underpins so many facets of business activity across the economy and the breadth of employers reliant on technical and digital skills.”

What does the future hold? This article assesses the climate for IT professionals now and in the future. It also considers the relevance of a Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) in today’s technology environment, focusing on the online MSCS from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU).

The State of the Computer Science Job Market

An MSCS can provide an edge in hiring, boost your earning potential, and open up new career directions.

Earning a master’s in computer science is a great next step if you’re already working in the field and ready to advance your career beyond creating and implementing technology,” Forbes reports. “This graduate degree prepares you to develop strategic plans to help businesses, organizations and agencies use technology more effectively and efficiently.”

Indicators point to a tech industry that will continue to expand. Employment projections in computer science continue to outpace other sectors by a factor of three or greater. Here are some of the most in-demand jobs in the field, along with their projected earnings, courtesy of Robert Half:

  • Data scientist: $119,000 – $167,000
  • Software engineer: $108,500 – $152,500
  • Network/cloud engineer: $106,500 – $149,500
  • Database administrator: $88,500 – $133,250

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The Case for a Computer Science Master’s Degree in 2024

What keeps tech jobs hot year in and year out? An ever-evolving tech landscape. Employers of all types—manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, education and government—need skilled IT professionals to help them stay current and navigate the dynamic cybersecurity and computer science landscapes.

Recent drivers of computer science employment include: 

  • The rise of generative AI in everyday life, from ChatGPT to autonomous cars. AI will impact every aspect of the business world, including marketing and sales, operations, IT/engineering, risk and legal, and research and development.
  • Growing need for tech expertise outside the world of power players like Meta and Google, with smaller firms, nonprofits, government agencies, and finance and banking hiring high-skill tech pros.
  • The rise in cybersecurity threats, which cost businesses trillions of dollars. Cybercrime impacts include damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, personal and financial data theft, embezzlement, fraud and reputational harm.
  • The increasing reliance on cloud computing, which improves scalability, flexibility and accessibility, competent distribution and cost reduction, resource management, automation of solutions and innovations. 

An online MSCS from CWRU provides the tools to address these challenges, enabling you to hone novel skills that can help you rise in the professional ranks or make a career pivot. Managers are willing to pay more for people with specific computer science skills, such as cybersecurity, cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning, software development, and data science and database management, according to Robert Half.

What to Consider Before Choosing an Online MSCS Degree

Multiple factors impact whether an advanced degree is worth the investment of money, time and resources. Considerations include: 

  • Time to completion
  • Flexibility/modality
  • Financial investment
  • Application requirements
  • Demanding coursework
  • Career goals

Fortunately, expert help is available to guide your decision. CWRU enrollment advisors can help you determine whether a program is the right fit for your current situation and long-term goals. 

Spotlight: The CWRU Online MS in Computer Science

The online MSCS at CWRU offers flexibility and sophistication, allowing you to develop valuable new skills at your own pace. You can customize the program to match your experience and ambitions, graduating with abilities applicable to any field.

Several key factors set CWRU’s online MSCS apart from other programs, including: 

CWRU graduates emerge from the program with: 

  • Strong technical skills
  • Awareness of team dynamics/communication
  • Deep knowledge of a particular computer science domain and a broad, interdisciplinary foundation
  • An independent, self-starter mentality
  • Data-driven leadership skills
  • Persistence in learning and problem solving

CWRU computer science students enjoy a variety of support systems and resources to complete  the program amid their many responsibilities. They include:

  • Tech resources, such as the Canvas learning management system, Zoom classes, and 24/7 tech support
  • Student Success coaches to help with academic, personal, social, and career support
  • Career Services, such as post-graduate planning, resume writing, interview preparation, networking skills, career fairs and post-graduate placement services. 

Take the First Step Toward an Industry-Aligned Degree

An evolving technology landscape presents a constantly changing set of challenges and opportunities. An online MSCS cultivates the advanced skills you’ll need to thrive in these emerging tech spaces. If you have the resources, drive and ambition to take on this challenge, CWRU’s online MSCS can broaden your professional expertise and take you to the next level in your career.

Enrollment advisors can help determine whether the program is a good fit for your experience, needs, and goals. If you’re ready, you can start your online application to the program today.

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