Every year, our highly connected society marches further into the digital age. Like so many other leading institutions, Arizona State University stands at the forefront of this exciting global transformation. Indeed, students interested in playing a role in the way computers shape our world often choose to earn a master’s degree in Computer Science at ASU.
Certainly, on the one hand, a master’s in Computer Science degree is highly adaptable. It gives graduate students a strong footing in the theory of computing, while building a bridge to a career in coding, programming, video games or information security.
On the other hand, with thousands of professionals applying for jobs with the same degree, competition for positions with top companies is fierce. That is to say, alternatives to a master’s in computer science could help students stand out among their peers.
As the USA’s #1 university in innovation (US News & World Report 2024), ASU has other graduate degree programs that make for great alternatives to a traditional MS in Computer Science. Accordingly, below we take a look at 5 of the best alternatives to studying computer science at ASU.
#1: Computer Engineering, MS
Similar to computer science, computer engineering also offers students an excellent path into the thrilling world of computing. Less theory-focused and more hands-on, an MS in Computer Engineering at ASU could also be a great fit for students who prefer applying scientific principles and knowledge to develop hardware.
Taught by ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, students choose 1 of 2 concentrations:
Two key reasons why so many students pursue Computer Science are the degree’s earnings potential and job security. Likewise, a degree in Computer Engineering offers access to a growing job market with high earnings potential.
The US Labor Dept. also forecasts that demand for computer engineers will remain strong for decades to come. Finally, it’s also worth noting that ASU’s graduate Computer Engineering program is ranked #27 in the USA (U.S. News Best Graduate Schools 2023).
#2: Information Systems Management, MS
Computing and information systems share some similarities, but at their cores, these fields are quite different. For example, like a mathematician, a computer scientist understands the fundamentals of how computers work and how to maximize their performance.
In contrast, an information systems manager plans and directs computer-related activities by determining the technology needs of a company or organization and making managerial-level decisions about hardware and software.
A master’s in information systems management at ASU gives students hands-on experience working in big data and cloud performance, while providing education in strategy, business intelligence, security, AI and emerging technologies.
Perhaps above all, information systems management is a fast-growing field, with 75,000 new jobs predicted by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. ASU’s master’s in information systems management is also ranked #11 in the nation (U.S. News Best Graduate Schools 2023).
#3: Robotics and Autonomous Systems, MS
So, are you interested in developing fields like AI, machine learning or human-machine interaction? Many students hoping to build the next generation of intelligent robots further develop their skills with a master’s degree in Robotics and Autonomous Systems at ASU.
Accordingly, this degree offers 5 concentrations:
- Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Artificial Intelligence)
- Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Biomedical Engineering)
- Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Electrical Engineering)
- Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)
- Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Systems Engineering)
This degree is also an incredible option for students hoping to make their mark across a wide range of industries, from transportation and aerospace to healthcare and military defense.
#4: Biomedical Informatics, MS
Blending information technology with healthcare, a master’s degree in Biomedical Informatics prepares students to apply the problem-solving and data-science skills commonly associated with a Computer Science degree to resolving real-world issues within the healthcare industry.
Graduates of this degree program also engage in important, life-saving work, by helping doctors and medical researchers:
- Detect diseases earlier
- Improve patient care
- Minimize the need for hospital visits while still providing top service
- Enhance the patient-hospital experience
- Refine and improve diagnostic technologies
Above all, graduates become valuable professionals who use biomedical data, information and knowledge to support ongoing initiatives in human health. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, data scientists will also enjoy 31% faster than average job growth through 2029.
#5: Graphic Information Technology, MS
Drawing on some of the foundational knowledge one would gain from a traditional master’s degree in computer science, ASU’s MS in Graphic Information Technology further combines technical computing skills with creativity and visual design.
Firstly, depending on their areas of interest, students gain hands-on laboratory experience with front-end web design and development, 2D/3D animation or video-game art and animation, among other fields.
Secondly, ASU’s Graphic Information Technology master’s degree program prepares graduates to take on managerial positions in several different industries, including:
- Digital asset management
- Internet and web development
- Media production
- Printing and Publishing
- Social media
- User Experience (UX)
- User Interface (UI)
While enrolled in this degree program, students will exercise their creativity by planning, designing and completing an applied project for their master’s thesis.
Find out where a master’s degree from ASU can take you
In short, the digital age is now fully upon us — and from human behavior to culture, there’s very little it doesn’t touch. As a result, technical skills in specific areas of computing, such as programming, software development and digital design are in higher demand than ever before.
Therefore, it’s increasingly important for students to arm themselves with the skills and knowledge to help them become a valuable part of this global shift toward digitization. Accordingly, ASU is a great place to begin your journey towards securing a job in such high-demand, well-paying industries.
Speak with one of our friendly education advisors today, so you can learn how earning a master’s degree from ASU can help you reach your career goals.