The Master of Science in Computer Science (MCS) program is designed to appeal to a broad range of individuals. The program balances theory with practice, offers an extensive set of traditional and state-of-the-art courses, and provides the necessary flexibility to accommodate students with various backgrounds, including computer professionals who want to expand their understanding of computer science, as well as individuals whose undergraduate degrees are not in computer science but who wish to broaden their knowledge in computing. The program also provides the background necessary to continue the study of computer science at the doctoral level.
The main objective of VIU's MCS program is to provide a deep understanding of computer science theory and applications. The program aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills that enable them to: identify and solve problems in specific areas using analytical and critical thinking skills; communicate effectively using visual, mathematical, and/or language skills in the modes of oral and written presentation; develop a macro-vision understanding that the world is a set of related systems and that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation; and contribute to cross-functional teams, including geographically dispersed teams.
VIU established its MCS in Networking to provide the region's leading companies with networking professionals. Every organization – whether a multinational corporation, a non-profit, or a government agency – needs networking professionals to design, implement, and maintain its networks which have become an inevitable business tool in today's world of ubiquitous connectivity. When computer networks are down, organizations lose money and businesses become dysfunctional. Having qualified networking experts who can look after these networks is crucial to businesses' growth and success!
VIU established its MCS in Data Management to provide the region's leading companies with data management professionals. Every organization – whether a multinational corporation, a non-profit, or a government agency – needs database management professionals to design, implement, and maintain enterprise databases and to aggregate data from various sources to support business objectives. Web-enabled enterprise databases are very crucial business tools in today's world of ubiquitous connectivity. Enterprise databases are vital to an organization's success and growth and they need knowledgeable professionals with the right practical skills to implement, maintain, and secure them.
Most of the problems that are found in software applications are due to low-quality software. In addition, security issues that arise in many software applications are due to bad design. Software engineering is the study of different methodologies that can be used to build high-quality software which meets today's demands on software quality metrics. This specialization was designed in order to provide the industry with software engineering professionals who can conceptualize, design, implement, test, configure, maintain, and manage software applications that meet the demanding business requirements of today's enterprises.
Cyberspace has become an integral part of our lives as systems, devices, and gadgets that we use at work, at home, and on the road have become connected to the Internet. Smartphones enable us to send and receive e-mails, browse the Web, and make phone calls. Smart cards have an embedded processor, memory, and other functionalities that enable them to store and process data. Smart electrical grids offer variable pricing and integration of renewable energy sources. Homes and motor vehicles are also becoming increasingly Internet-enabled allowing us to remotely control and/or monitor them. Most organizations nowadays are fully dependent on enterprise networks that are connected to the Internet so that they can interact with their business partners and customers. A breach in the security of these interconnected entities can result in huge financial losses, violation of privacy, and even the loss of life. Hence, threats to cyberspace are threats to the very fabric of our society.
There is a vital need for cybersecurity professionals to protect our cyberspace infrastructure using multiple defense mechanisms. VIU's cybersecurity specialization was designed to provide students with the vital knowledge and skills required to protect the cyberspace infrastructure as professionals in this growing field.
Natural language processing, machine learning, and intelligent agents have been deployed in various domains to develop smart systems. Machine learning has been used in speech recognition, text and web data processing, robotics, autonomous navigation, bioinformatics, and data mining. This specialization is designed to provide organizations with professionals who will develop the next generation of smart gadgets. Expert systems, fuzzy methods, neural net architectures, genetic algorithms, and multi-agent systems and their applications are also studied.
Computer Animation and Gaming
Computer animation and gaming is a huge industry. Today's video games are enjoyed by players of all ages and backgrounds, and parents are increasingly involved in making sure that the games played by their children are age-appropriate. According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the average gamer is 30 years old and has been playing for 13 years. Forty-five percent of gamers are women, and women age 18 or older represent 31 percent of the game-playing population. In addition, 68 percent of gamers are adults, with 36 percent over the age of 36. As these statistics show, today's video game players include students, parents, and grandparents. The entertainment software industry is currently one of the fastest growing industries in the American economy.
Overall, the computer and video game industry hardware, software and peripheral sales reached $20.77 billion in 2012. Of this total, game content sales generated $14.8 billion, including $5.9 billion in purchases of digital games, digital add-on content, mobile apps, subscriptions, and social network gameplay. The industry also adds lucrative jobs to local economies with average total compensation reaching $90,000. Computer and video game companies, directly and indirectly, employ more than 120,000 people in 34 states.
Animation is deployed heavily by the entertainment industry but it is also deployed in other sectors. In education, it is used to explain theories and concepts to students in a more convincing manner. Medical animation has a large variety of applications, from education to demonstration to data capture and manipulation. Medical animation has hospital, institutional, and pharmaceutical applications.
This vast industry needs professionals who can design, implement, test, and maintain gaming and animation systems, and this specialization was designed to meet this need.
Software Application Development The domain of software applications is extensive and spans the rich collection of mobile applications used in smartphones, productivity software such as the Microsoft Office suite, mission-critical applications such as those used to control weapons and aircraft, large complex enterprise information systems that are used to connect the business units of large enterprises, for example SAP, and so on. These software applications require a seasoned professional who can design, implement, test, configure, and maintain them so that they fulfill the business objectives of organizations that use them. The software applications development specialization was designed to equip students with the knowledge and extensive hands-on experience to meet this need. Software developers are in high demand and this will be the case for a long time.
Students who have earned their bachelor’s degree with less than 120 undergraduate credits can be given conditional admission to the MCS program, provided they enroll in and successfully complete the remaining credits by selecting from the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BCS) undergraduate courses offered at VIU. Among the 120 required credits, the MCS program prerequisite courses must be fulfilled. Before choosing pre-MCS courses, students must consult their academic advisor who will advise them on the appropriate course selections from VIU’s BCS program while complying with MCS program prerequisites. Successful completion of the pre-MCS courses will allow these students to complete the undergraduate credits requirement of 120 and enter into the MCS program.
Career Paths & Opportunities
- System programmer
- Application developer
- Data analyst
- Software systems architect
- Computer engineer
- Web developer
- Network engineer
- Security engineer
- Chief technology officer
- Network administrator
- Network manager
- Network architect
- IT manager
- Data administrator
- Network and security engineer
- Integration engineer
- Network and systems administrator
- Software engineer
- Solutions Architect
- Technical systems analyst
- Software quality assurance engineer
- Applications coordinator
- Software architect
- Software and applications developer
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