Computer Science & Technology Solutions
Computer science and Technology Solutions describe broad fields related to the production, storage, protection, troubleshooting, distribution of information, and development of technological products. Computer scientists and technologists are needed in every industry. In fact, most Computer Science/Technology Solutions jobs can be found in organizations that are not focused on computers. Within Computer Science/Technology Solutions, people generally work developing, installing, protecting, or implementing computer systems and programs. Computer Science/Technology Solutions offers a wide range of careers, and hiring companies range from small, specialized start-ups to large multi-faceted corporations.
Those interested in Computer Science and Technology Solutions can fill roles ranging from the design and development of software, to the installation and maintenance of hardware, to the support of technology users. Because of the ever-changing nature of technology, these fields are constantly evolving. Currently, growth areas within Computer Science/Technology Solutions include artificial intelligence, mobile/tablet application development, cloud computing, and information security.
Skills to develop for success in this field
- Attention to detail
- Interpersonal Communication
- Knowledge of current trends/new technologies/threats
- Project Management
- Strong Research Abilities
Online Resources specific to the industry
- Angel List: Website for startups, angel investors, and job-seekers looking to work at startups
- CNET: Media site that focuses on reviews and news on Technology and Consumer Electronics
- Code.org: Site focused on providing technical educational opportunities for young women and students of color
- Codecademy: Free opportunity for individuals to learn how to code
- DICE: Career website focused on Tech Opportunities
- GitHub: Offers students access to an extensive community of programmers, developers and aspiring computer scientists along with an array of coding examples and completed projects
- Industry Week: Monthly publication focused on Tech World
- Stanford Engineering Everywhere: A free resource designed to provide students across the U.S. with access to some of the courses and tools used by Stanford undergraduates to master the basics of computing, artificial intelligence and electrical engineering.
- The Verge: American Technology News Website
Key information or knowledge for this field
- While technical theoretical knowledge is valued, it is important that you know how to apply your technical experience into real world settings.: Look into projects both inside and outside of the classroom so that you can practice your technical applications.
- Create a career profile on the company’s website you are interested in. Opt to “follow” or “receive emails” focused on recruiting. This will allow you to stay on top of recruiting dates and opportunities.
- Highlight your technical abilities in your application documents and be able to speak about your abilities.
- Develop a digital technical portfolio that houses all of your projects for potential employers to view your work.
- Perform informational interviews with alumni, 1-3 years out of graduation, if you are targeting larger organizations. If you are targeting a smaller or a start-up organization, any contact would work for your informational interviews. The purpose is to build a connection with someone within the organization so they get the opportunity to know you and also for you to gain insider knowledge from within the organization.
- Application for the roles are pretty standard and will be directly at on the respective company career sites. Please note that if they are recruiting in Handshake, you will apply there and also apply through their system. Some applications will have a technical component as part of their initial application.
- The interview process can range from a 2-part process to a 3-or-more process. The first part of the process is a fit-based interview with behavioral questions done with an HR professional. The second or more interviews will have a technical component where the employers will test your application skills with their desired languages/programs. Later rounds can also include meeting with the potential teams you are applying with to gain awareness of your skills and also fit within the team.
Relevant student groups and professional organizations
Northwestern Student Groups:
- Design for America
- Develop + Innovate Social Change
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- NU Robotics
- Pioneers of Interactive Entertainment
- Women in Computing
External Professional Organizations:
Special considerations for graduate students
In many cases, employers will value skills and experience over credentials. Stay abreast of hiring trends by reading job descriptions and noting required skills. If you don’t yet know the coding languages that are most in demand, for example, consider taking a class or developing a plan to teach yourself. Many graduate students seek additional training by taking free online courses through platforms such as Coursera or EdX.
Join LinkedIn groups to learn more about the field and to connect with insiders. For example, there are many groups focused on user experience, where you can participate in discussions about trends in the field. Also, talk to alumni working at organizations or in roles that seem interesting to you. You can find them via our.northestern.edu and through the Northwestern University Alumni group on LinkedIn.
Career paths of interest to graduate students
- User Experience Design
- Data Science
- E-Learning and Instructional Design