Even before the pandemic disrupted work environments in March 2020, employers recognized the value of computer scientists in non-tech roles. As early as 2017, the analytic software company Burning Glass Technologies found employers were increasingly seeking candidates with computer science skills in job areas such as design, engineering, manufacturing, and marketing.
Pandemic shutdowns and the rapid, widespread shift to remote work drove home just how vital robust digital technology was. Businesses had to reinvent service models and working arrangements. School districts, teachers, and students had to adapt to virtual learning. Retailers had to deal with significant supply chain disruptions. And the healthcare sector had to embrace telemedicine quickly.
As the pandemic wore on, computer science skills grew in importance because it became abundantly clear that most major organizational needs centered around information technology in some way. Businesses pivoted to contactless payments, delivery, and operation. Healthcare professionals leveraged data in new ways to make up for resource deficiencies. Schools continued virtual learning for much longer than planned. And many employers that had rapidly implemented work-from-home policies had to shore up their cybersecurity after the fact.
While some sources report that the computer science field is oversaturated, computer science skills transcend industry and have proven indispensable in many disciplines. Whatever your career path, a Master of Science in Computer Science such as the MSCS offered online by Tufts University School of Engineering can enhance your career prospects. Employers increasingly seek MSCS graduates when filling non-tech roles, so earning a computer science degree won’t limit you to computer science jobs.
The Expansion of Hybrid Roles
As technology advances and automation affects more industries, the skills necessary in both technical and non-technical roles evolve. Today, marketing specialists need data science skills, designers often need to be computer programmers, engineers need project management skills, and software engineers, web developers, and software developers need communication skills.
Many of these so-called hybrid roles that Burning Glass Technologies describes as requiring “a wide set of skills from different fields” span technical and social competencies. More and more employers recognize the value of hiring candidates with multidisciplinary skillsets that include hard skills and human skills. In its Hybrid Jobs Report, the company found that approximately 12 percent of all job openings require a mix of skills—and that workers with varied skillsets were more in demand than others.
Preparing to step into emerging hybrid roles is an intelligent move. First, these positions tend to be immune to displacement via automation because they require the human touch. And second, hybrid roles often pay more because of the specialization required. According to Burning Glass Technologies, “If you pay attention to what these are, you can march up the earning curve and make sure you stay competitive in your field… marketing managers who know SQL, for example, make 41 percent more money than those who do not.”
Why MSCS Graduates are In Demand Across Industries
It’s challenging to find a job today that doesn’t involve interacting with computer systems and information systems, so demand for entry-level and advanced computer science skills is rising. Hiring managers know that MSCS degree holders have the technical skills necessary to solve numerous real-world business and organizational challenges. An MSCS can help you launch a computer science career or advance alongside new technologies and innovations in your industry.
The following factors drive the high demand for computer science skills:
Computer Science Skills are Highly Transferable
Computer science degree graduates are in demand in numerous industries because of their highly transferable and diverse skillsets. Professionals who enroll in Tufts’ online Master of Science in Computer Science program benefit from an interdisciplinary MSCS curriculum with courses in:
- Database systems
- Machine learning
- Operating systems
- Software engineering
Tufts’ focus on these skill areas helps students hone problem-solving skills in computer science and beyond, as well as critical thinking and complex analytical skills. Though the program teaches these skills in the context of technology, they’re applicable across industries as diverse as engineering, entertainment, transportation, and agriculture.
MSCS Graduates Help Organizations Keep Up with Technology
As technology advances at an accelerating pace, organizations that implement the latest technologies quickly will likely enjoy an edge over the competition. In recent years, automated payment systems, enhanced database systems, new programming frameworks, and even virtual reality technologies have changed operations in several industries. For example, VR now lets homebuyers virtually tour homes and consumers try on clothing virtually.
Savvy organizations know they need to hire new workers with tech skills or support existing employees in their professional development efforts to keep up with the pace of change. By earning a computer science degree such as the Tufts School of Engineering MSCS, you can deliver more value to your existing organization or seek bigger and better opportunities elsewhere.
Computer Science Master’s Holders are Innovators
When disaster strikes or the unexpected occurs, organizations rely on innovators who can think creatively to stay up and running. This was especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, when successful businesses, educational institutions, researchers, and nonprofits found ways to solve emerging challenges with technology.
According to Forbes, the pandemic accelerated innovation in several areas of digital technology, including:
- Cloud computing: During shutdowns, many organizations had to integrate this technology into their operating models to enable secure remote access to applications, files, and other resources.
- Computer-assisted telephone interviewing: Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) accelerated during the pandemic. This technology ensured public health research could continue when face-to-face interviewing was impossible.
- Home broadband: Increased demand for home broadband capacity due to remote work and learning meant providers had to roll out faster broadband quickly to more customers than ever before. According to BroadbandCommunities Magazine, the 16 largest cable and wireline providers acquired 4.86 million additional broadband internet subscribers in 2020.
- Intelligent security technology: The combination of expanded network edges due to remote work and school, increased cloud adoption, and general uncertainty about the state of the world caused a rise in cyberattacks. The increased complexity of securing expanded networks meant that technological know-how on this front was (and still is) vital.
- Mental fitness apps: Many individuals took a mental health hit due to the pandemic, which presented an opportunity for application developers. Mental fitness apps, such as Calm, gained widespread popularity.
- Personal service apps: App stores saw record consumer spending—upwards of $133 billion in 2021 with 143.6 billion app installs. Many new, rapidly developed applications kept businesses that previously relied on in-person transactions afloat.
Top MSCS Programs Nurture In-Demand Soft Skills
Technical skills are now essential in most industries, but even the most technical master’s in computer science jobs involve human interaction—which is why employers increasingly seek candidates with soft skills when filling all kinds of positions. Monster’s The Future of Work 2021: Global Hiring Outlook found that employers cited soft skills such as flexibility, problem-solving, teamwork, and collaboration dependability as the top skills they seek in candidates.
The Department of Computer Science at Tufts has a long history of interdisciplinary learning and research collaboration. This helps graduates of the Tufts MSCS program leave with a full bank of people skills, including adaptability, collaboration skills, communication skills, creativity, and curiosity.
Getting Ready to Succeed in a Hybrid Market with a Master of Science in Computer Science
The 100 percent online computer science master’s degree program at Tufts consists of 33 credit hours of coursework in 10 core classes plus a capstone project spread out over two semesters. Most students complete the program in less than two years, benefiting from small class sizes, hands-on faculty mentorship, and Tufts’ proximity to Boston.
Remember, earning an MSCS doesn’t mean you have to become a computer scientist or take a master’s in computer science job in software development, computer engineering, or information systems—though you will be prepared to do so upon graduation. In the end, the possibilities a computer science master’s can open up are much broader. You might become a designer capable of creating programming languages, a retail manager capable of building custom sales platforms, or a forensic investigator capable of reconstructing digital information. The only limiting factor is your ambition.
You don’t need an undergraduate degree in computer science to enroll in this online MSCS program. Prepare for a hybrid future today by applying to earn your Masters of Science in Computer Science online at Tufts.