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So ladies, are you tired of everyone telling you should go into teaching or nursing because, well, you know, you’re a girl? And pretty?

Well those professions are perfectly wonderful careers. But if you want to make some actual bucks and compete with the big boys, you need think about computer sciences if you want a job waiting for you after you graduate from college.

That’s right; the computer science field is for girls too.

Did you know that a woman named Ada Lovelace is considered to be the first ever computer programmer? Probably not, but it just goes to show that women are just as smart as the next guy.

Computer science grads from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are being recruited by software, healthcare, trading and agricultural companies. Last year’s grads received an average of 2.3 job offers and had an average starting salary of more than $72,000 – the highest of any starting salary in the university’s College of Engineering.

Right, and if you can actually land a teaching job it pays how much?

“Computer sciences is where the money is,” says Kelly Ball a USC senior who switched her major from business to computer science her second year of college. “I thought I might find a great job as an investment banker after graduation, but it’s just not a safe career anymore.”

Demand for technology positions tends to stay fairly consistent, even during a recession, but women are just starting to catch on to this logical career.

While many women fear that jobs in computer science consist of sitting in an isolated cubicle, wearing a pocket protector, and staring into a screen while writing computer code all day, they need to think again.

Computer Science is not about using software, such as spreadsheets, word processors, or image tools. Many software packages are complicated to master, and it is true that many jobs depend on expertise in using such tools. But computer science is not about using the tools. It is not about expertise in computer games, it is not about writing content in websites, and it is not about not about assembling computers or knowing which computers are best buys. Edsger Dijkstra, a famous award-winning computer scientist once said, “Computer Science is no more about computers than Astronomy is about telescopes”.

“You can take a computer science degree and go into medicine or environmental sciences or just about anything you want,” said Tyler Beckerman, a recruiter for Dataminds. “The industry needs women for it to continue to move forward.”

If you do like working with computers there are of course jobs that will allow you to play with your mouse all day. Gigs such as debugging computer programs, creating functional and beautiful websites and software, as well as how to maintain computer and network security so that sensitive information is not lost are all out there waiting for you. Computer science majors can go on to work independently, as part of an in-house technical team, or even with the government to investigate computer crimes.

Still thinking of going to cosmetology school? Here are some other ways you can put that computer science degree to use.

CareerBuilder.com recently published a list of the fastest growing jobs. They listed ten jobs, with salaries ranging from $60,880 up to $81,140, all of which were “on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of the fastest growing jobs through 2014”.

Of the ten jobs listed in the article, five of them were jobs for which a computer science degree would be great preparation: computer systems software engineer, computer applications software engineer, computer systems analyst, database administrator, network systems and data communication analyst

And you won’t have to move to New Delhi to land a gig because CNNMoney.com states that “Despite all the publicity in the United States about jobs being lost to India and China, the size of the IT employment market in the United States today is higher than it was at the height of the dot.com boom”.

For women, a job in the computer science field in today’s economy just makes (dollars and) sense. So go buy yourself a pretty pocket protector and sign up for a computer science course today.

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aln July 9, 2011 @ 1:42 p.m.

Technology employers and their business-group allies, such as TechAmerica and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, often tout high wages earned by computer science and other technology graduates. Even when these wages are reported accurately (and they are often misleadingly inflated in the media), it is helpful to keep in mind WHY these jobs are well paid.

Pay in any occupation is always influenced by supply-and-demand; the supply of qualified workers vs. the demand by employers for these workers’ skills. Therefore high wages are always indicative of a relative shortage of qualified workers. Why does this shortage of workers exist in technology occupations?

Among the reasons are that this work is very demanding. Those who succeed in these kinds of jobs long term are those who have many strengths in their characters: They are very good students, are intelligent, hardworking, industrious, conscientious, persistent, detail oriented, and disciplined, just to name a few.

Yet long term success in these careers requires not only these attributes, but also a degree of luck. If you choose to pursue these careers, hope that your life’s path involves few unforeseen distractions or detours, such as marital breakups, illness, or other misfortunes. Because any of life’s problems can easily derail a career so dependent upon the ability to give your all, day in and day out, until the day you retire.


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