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Computer Science Information

Frequently Asked Questions About Computer Science

Q: What is Computer Science?
Computer science is a technology-oriented discipline whose fundamental principles combine theory, abstraction and design. Computer programming is a significant part of Computer Science, but there is much more.

Q: I've heard that computer jobs are being outsourced overseas. Why should I pursue a career in Computer Science?
A: Because demand remains very high! A recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that of occupations projected for the highest percentage growth between now and 2014, those requiring a college degree in computer science or technology occupy 3 of the top 8 spots! These include network systems analysts (#2), applications software engineers (#5) and systems software engineers (#8). Yet enrollments in computer science degree programs have been dropping, so there are many opportunities for today's and tomorrow's graduates!

Q: I hear a lot about Information Systems and Information Management. How are they different than Computer Science?
A: Their primary focus is on business practices involving the use of information. Computer Science focuses on the technical aspects of storing and manipulating information regardless of the use to which it is put. Otterbein does not offer an Information Systems degree.

Q: What is a typical starting salary for Computer Science graduates?
A: It varies by company and by geographic region. In 2006, starting salaries for Computer Science graduates nationwide averaged about $53,000. Salaries in Columbus are a bit less than that. Generally, salaries are lower in government and smaller companies and higher on the East and West coasts.

Q: What do Computer Science graduates do?
A: Many careers in computer science involve development of computer software. Development activities include analyzing customer needs, designing the software, programming the software, quality testing, documentation, and project management. Entry level jobs involve mostly programming and testing. The career path then leads to analysis, design and management opportunities. If you'd like to learn more about the daily lives of people whose education is in computer science, visit the Crossroads magazine "A Day in the Life of. . ." page. Crossroads is an international organization of computer science students.

Q: What kind of company can I work for after I graduate?
A: A variety of small and large companies in nearly all industries develop customized software both for internal use and to sell. They may employ only a handful of system developers or hundreds.

Q: Will an Otterbein Computer Science degree prepare me for graduate studies?
A: Yes. The Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science is designed specifically to prepare students for the rigors of advanced studies in computer science as well as immediate employment in the information technology field.

Q: What is the difference between the Computer Science B.S. and B.A. degrees?
A: The B.A. includes the same core of knowledge as the B.S. degree but overall is more applied and less theoretical than the B.S. The B.A. degree was designed for Continuing Studies students.

Q: Do you offer a Master's degree in Computer Science?
A: No.

Q: How large are Computer Science classes?
A: Computer Science classes taken primarily by students majoring in computer science range in size from 5 to about 20 with an average of about 12.

Q: Who will teach my Computer Science classes, and what are their qualifications?
A: Three professors devote themselves to Computer Science, Dr. Buck, Dr. Sanderson and Mr. Stucki. All have advanced degrees in computer science; Drs. Buck and Sanderson have Ph.D.s and Mr. Stucki has a Master's. Their combined experience includes over 40 years teaching Computer Science and 18 years working in the information technology industry. Introductory-level evening classes are sometimes taught by part-time faculty who work professionally in information technology.

Q: What computer laboratory facilities are available?
A: There are numerous computer labs around campus in both academic and residential buildings. Further information is available at Otterbein's Information Technology web page.

Q: Are dormitory rooms wired for network access?
A: Yes. All dorm rooms have at least one outlet to access the high speed Ethernet campus network. All modern desktop and notebook computers have Ethernet network cards pre-installed. Further information is available at Otterbein's Information Technology web page.

Q: What about wireless network access?
A: At this time, the Campus Center, Library, and five academic buildings have wireless hot spots. Further information is available at Otterbein's Information Technology web page.

Q: Am I required to bring my own computer to campus?
A: No.

Q: I am buying a PC to bring to Otterbein. What do you recommend?
A: The most important choice is between a desktop/tower PC or a notebook. The latter is more convenient and requires less space but is also more expensive at a given performance level. Practically any new PC will adequately run the software needed to support your coursework, even in computer science courses. You can purchase many software products through the campus bookstore at academic prices, which are normally a fraction of the retail price. Most specialized software, such as compilers, used in your programming classes is free.

Q: I had trouble finding the Computer Science department from Otterbein's web pages. Why is it listed under Math?
A: We are in the Department of Mathematical Sciences because computer science has mathematical origins and is closely related to mathematics. Our department offers degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Actuarial Science.

Q: Where is the department located?
A: On the first floor of Towers Hall. Enter through the door marked 107A.

Q: How do I contact someone for more information about Computer Science at Otterbein?
A: Call the department at (614) 823-1218, or send e-mail directly to Mr. Stucki, Dr. Buck, Dr. Sanderson, or Dr. Tong. We'll be happy to answer your questions or arrange a time to meet. See our Faculty page for more information about us.

Computer Science Resources

  • ACM CareerNews, a newsletter on computer science careers
  • C SC 100 Resources
  • C SC 120 Programming Tutorials
  • C SC 160 Resources
  • JKarelRobot
  • Instructions for Installing jGrasp at Home
  • CS Faculty "Fix It" Page (login required)
  • Live View of Lab
  • SIGCSE Resources
  • MSDN Academic Alliance


/ Department of Mathematical Sciences

Tess Schwarz
Academic Administrative Assistant
Towers Hall 124
p / 614.823.1218
e / tschwarz@otterbein.edu


/ Also see...