Computer Science and the Business Behind It

Patrick-2016 Computer Science, Viterbi Class Leave a Comment

Howdy! I’ve talked a lot about some of the classes I’ve taken, like Mobile Game Programming, Video Game Production, Software Development, and more, but, while these show some of my favorite parts of my major, Computer Science/Business Administration is much more than just programming projects and making applications. Computer Science/Business Administration is how the two disciplines come together and build off of each other.

Computer Science and Business often go hand-in-hand, and the combined major is a good way to get a full experience in both. What I love about USC’s curriculum is that it has all of the classes of a full Business major and Computer Science major while still giving plenty of electives to allow me to explore what really motivates me in both computer science and business. To really describe what this major is, though, I like to split it up into three segments: CS, Business, and their intersection.

First, the computer science part of the major is the real engineering side. Classes like Software Development and Algorithms introduce the core concepts in programming and software design. After learning how to program, this part of the major opens up into the larger picture of Computer Science – not just programming, but learning how to design solutions to and solve complex problems and work through the entire development process of large systems. At this level, we start branching out into our areas of interest in the field to learn to be more than just a programmer or code monkey. For example, I’m currently enrolled in Mobile Game Programming, which teaches a little about programming in Objective C, but mostly about how to develop the architecture and identify how to create an addicting and user-friendly mobile game. After learning the basics of the language, we are encouraged to learn more advanced programming techniques through practice – and plenty of help from the professor and TAs – but the class changes emphasis to the design of the game and how to manage the data it creates. There are plenty of other courses to take as electives too, like Artificial Intelligence, Operating Systems, and more! It allows us to learn about the technical challenges to design in all different fields of computers and how to go about solving these challenges.

Second, there is the business half of the major. Similarly to the computer science portion, this starts off with the fundamentals in classes like Business Organization and Marketing Fundamentals. In this part of the major, we learn how business operate both in the consumer space and behind the scenes. The classes are structured around teaching the way that businesses operate and then looking at real-life examples to see the principles in action. A lot of what we do is taking cases and acting as consultants to develop good habits in pointing a company in the right direction. I haven’t started with my elective business courses, but I plan to pursue an emphasis in entrepreneurship. The upper level electives give Computer Science/Business Administration majors a way to explore whatever interests them in the more advanced areas of business, much like they do for computer science.

Logo for my business "consulting firm", the Super Seven

Logo for my business “consulting firm”, the Super Seven

Finally, the Computer Science/Business Administration major has the unique aspect of tying together both business and computer science. Taking the two disciplines simultaneously brings the concepts together to see how programs can increase productivity and organization in business and how to best design a business structure for the technology and software market.

Really, this major is whatever you want to make of it. It gives you the tools to explore the ins and outs of both computer science and business and the skills to combine the two. It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun!

~Patrick

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