Enrollment is up more than 300 percent in the Department of Computer Science. Students and alumni of the B.A. and B.S. programs in computer science explain what attracted them to the field and to UAB.
Media contact: Brianna Hoge
Everyone knows that a computer science degree is a ticket to a bright future. The researchers at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics make the numerical argument: They note that software development, one common computer science career option, has a current median national pay of $110,140. And the BLS foresees 22% growth in openings — more than 400,000 new jobs — through 2030.
Carlos Rivas-Valencia, a senior in the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Computer Science, sums up the appeal in terms of possibility.
“It opens so many doors and opportunities,” he said. “I can dive into medicine, business, education or any other sector and go from building computer programs that help doctors better diagnose patients to working on the new self-driving cars.”
Rivas-Valencia is interested in becoming a software engineer. Even before he graduates, he will have completed internships at two big-name companies. Last summer, he had a software engineering role at Khan Academy, the open-education company, working alongside full-time engineers on the Frontend Infrastructure team, where he built new user-interface components, fixed bugs and wrote documentation on his changes.
This summer, he will again be working as a software engineer at the San Francisco offices of Lyft — one of several companies that has made a major investment in self-driving cars.
But not everyone starts out knowing they might be interested in a future in computer science. Amalee Dianne Wilson, a two-time UAB computer science grad (B.S. 2016, M.S. 2018) now pursuing her Ph.D. in the heart of Silicon Valley at Stanford University, started off in that group.
“A lot of people in computer science started programming when…