Someone pursuing a computer science degree likely will not be required to declare and pursue a minor field of study, but doing so accomplishes two broad goals. The first is that an appropriate minor may make the holder of a new computer science degree more attractive to potential employers. The second is that it can guide the individual into career directions most appropriate for the individual’s own goals, personality and preferences. Some good disciplines for minor complement Computer Science degree include math, communications, business, psychology, physics and even biology.
Math makes a good complement for a computer science degree. Most computer science degree programs require significant mathematics study, so students are able to gain a math minor without having to take too many extra courses and without lengthening the time required to gain the computer science degree. A strong mathematics background is useful in the field of computer science, where technology continues to change at a rapid pace.
Virtually anyone planning a computer science career can benefit from greater understanding of and skill in communications. A communications minor likely will include courses in communication among and within targeted groups, including individuals, teams and entire organizations. Communications study and understanding can be invaluable in explaining to marketers and senior management what technology can and cannot do for them and the ends they seek through new computer technology projects. Computer science majors seeking more theoretical application may seek work in the continued development of artificial intelligence, which leans heavily on human language and how humans communicate with each other. Understanding in linguistics, interpersonal communications and computer science can serve to advance both theoretical and practical advancement of computer science.
Training in business can be invaluable for those who seek computer science careers in the private sector. Information technology project teams often include individuals from marketing, accounting, sales and general management in addition to those with the technical knowledge necessary. Someone who is technically sound who also understands the needs of business often can guide non-technical employees in ways that meet the needs of their business units while also keeping new applications cost effective for the organization. Individuals who seek to work in the private sector benefit from greater knowledge of the concerns and needs of business, as do their employers.
As communications study can support the development of artificial intelligence applications, knowledge of patterns of human behavior can help to support the development of intuitive computer-driven machinery that mimic artificial life.1A minor in psychology can be of direct benefit for the individual who seeks to work in computer science research.
Those working toward computer science research areas that include robotics and even extend beyond that can benefit from basic knowledge of physics. Computer science students do not have to pursue abstract, theoretical physics. Rather, a solid education in applied physics and understanding of physical science’s influence on objects’ place and movement directly benefits computer science research in robotics and more advanced forms of artificial life.
Nanotechnology has been an active area of computer science research literally for decades. Individuals who seek to pursue biology-based manufacturing need to have strong understanding of basic biological processes such as cell division and the formulation of several types of complex molecules such as DNA and RNA.
Depending on the minor area of study the individual chooses, the length of study time can range from insignificant to four semesters or even longer. Math is an integral part of any computer science major. As such, the student will need to take only a few extra courses to gain a math minor. Biology is far removed from most schools’ computer science programs. Many computer science programs require only one semester of rudimentary biology study, but no computer science degree program requires extensive biology study. The student choosing biology, psychology, business or even physics as a minor complement to his computer science degree will be extending graduation date by a significant margin.