By Raven Avery Alexander, Academic Counselor, Computer Science & Engineering
and Dowell Eugenio, Academic Counselor, Informatics
Are you technically savvy? You may be able to update Facebook from your phone, but that probably won't help you get a job. As employers and students realize the value in subjects like databases, computer programming, and web design, UW departments are adding courses and expanding programs to meet this demand.
Job prospects are particularly strong at technical companies, with companies including Amazon and Facebook expanding their offices in Seattle. But the value of computing skills goes beyond the obvious: Employers in fields like business, education, and the arts want to hire people who understand and can effectively use technology.
These skills can be valuable on campus, too: most research projects requires data analysis, which can be done more easily and effectively with the help of computer programming. A new course in Computer Science & Engineering, Intro to Data Programming, is based in the belief that all students—from anthropology to zoology—will benefit from applying programming to the data needs of their particular discipline.
The university recognizes this demand: In spring, the Washington legislature asked the UW to shift $3.8M to high-demand areas of engineering and computer science. Departments in the College of Engineering will add space for 180 additional engineering students per year, with Computer Science & Engineering adding 40 undergraduate spaces to its program.
Other technology-related majors will expand, too. Informatics, which combines technical skills with business, social science, and design, expanded from 75 students to 105 in 2011-12, and plans to add an additional 35 spaces for Autumn 2013 admission.
A technically-oriented major is not in everyone's plans, however. Some students may have stronger interest in different subjects. Other people will find their plans thwarted by the competitive admissions processes. Even with expansion, CSE and Informatics still expect to turn away many interested students. Prospective transfer students should have a clear back-up plan for gaining the technical skills they want.
A number of other UW Seattle majors have a significant technical component:
If you want to bolster your technical abilities with less commitment than a full bachelor's degree, consider: