If you are currently an electrical engineering student, but have had a change of heart and have decided that you want to work in the computer science field, you may be wondering if you can get a computer science job with an electrical engineering degree. While every situation is different, many computer science employers look for employees who have different types of degrees.
Different Degrees, Same Job
While you should probably have at least some computer skills before looking for a job in the computer science industry, you don’t necessarily have to have a degree in computer science. Many employers in this industry are willing to hire math, physics and engineering majors too. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that while the average software developer has a degree in computer science, a software engineering or mathematics degree is also acceptable. In general, you should be able to get a computer science job with an electrical engineering degree, because engineering programs usually require quite a few math classes. Employers tend to look for applicants with math abilities because people who are good at math are usually good at solving problems, and all computer science jobs require people with problem-solving skills. It’s fairly easy to teach employees about specific programming languages, but it’s a lot harder to teach them how to solve problems.
Declare a Minor
Even if you’re sure that you want a computer science job after you graduate, you may not be able to switch majors for a variety of reasons. If you have to stick with engineering and want to get a computer science job with an electrical engineering degree, consider declaring a minor in computer science. You’ll only have to take a handful of classes, but you’ll still learn about the basics of the field that you want to get into. Courses needed to complete a computer science minor may include:
- Foundations of computer science
- Computer programming
- Data structures
- Computer architecture
You may also be able to take some elective computer science courses and have them count towards your minor.
If you really want to get a computer science job with an electrical engineering degree, get some experience in the computer science field before you graduate from college. If you can, try to get an internship. Some degree programs require students to complete an internship, so you may have to complete an electrical engineering internship at some point during your college career. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find an internship that combines both electrical engineering and computer science; otherwise, consider doing an electrical engineering internship during the school year and a computer science internship during the summer, or vice versa. If an internship is off the table, see if you can find a computer-related on-campus job. Most schools have work-study positions that allow students to work with computers and gain experience in a supervised environment.
Related Resource: Computer Science Jobs in Web Development
While it’s usually better to major in the same field that you plan to work in after you graduate, it’s not an absolute necessity. As long as you learn about computer science in another way, you should be able to get a computer science job with an electrical engineering degree.