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How to Pick a Minor for Your Computer Science Degree

by Morgan Kastner
10.16.2016

Pairing your computer science degree with a minor is great way to elevate your capabilities and boost your career prospects. Your minor can expand your knowledge on things you are already learning in your major or it can be largely unrelated to your major and give insight into a whole other field.

We spoke with LSU’s computer science undergraduate coordinator, an LSU computer science major and a veteran computer scientist to get their best advice on choosing a minor to pair with your computer science major.

Follow Your Interests

Coretta Douglas, an instructor and LSU’s computer science undergraduate coordinator, is the go-to person for computer science course questions. Her extensive knowledge of LSU’s computer science major requirements, curriculum and concentrations enables her to give expert advice on picking a minor. She suggests “choosing a minor that complements one's CSC coursework, as it is beneficial toward preparing for a career in the field” and will overlap with your major, making it more likely you will graduate within four years. For example, information technology Management minors are paired well with majors concentrating in software engineering, ecommerce and mathematics minors pair well with cloud computing and networking concentrations, and all three of those minors pair well with data science and analytics concentrations.

If you were fortunate enough to enter LSU with college credits already counting toward your major, Douglas says, you “have the luxury of selecting minors that are not necessarily overlapping in a particular concentration and can also graduate within four years.” Many students in this situation pursue minors that interest them but do not directly relate to computer science, such as music, anthropology or physics, she says.

Expand Your Career Options

LSU senior Adrian Meads will graduate this fall with a computer science degree with a minor in information technology management. He initially chose mathematics, but changed course after seeking guidance from Douglas.

His intended plan is to graduate and get a job as a programmer, but he says minoring in information technology management will give him the chance to explore careers in IT if an opportunity arises or if his interests change. He suggests other students use their minor as a plan B or a way to set themselves apart from other computer science majors.

Pick Up New Skills

Saarah Samadani of Los Angeles is the co-founder of Favored.by and has over 10 years experience as a software engineer, so she knows what it takes to succeed in the industry. In her previous roles, she says she noticed a lack of leadership skills among many computer engineers. She suggests boosting your capabilities as a computer scientist by looking into minors that can expand skills you don’t learn in your major.

Samadani specifically lists economics, psychology and business minors as routes to become a better leader or planner, as they teach students about “requirements management, project management and establishing rapport with your manager, customers and co-workers.”

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