There are two parts to this question.
First, why major in Computer Science generally? Because there are good rewarding jobs! The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of computer software engineers and computer programmers will increase by 21 percent from 2008 to 2018. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) January 2013 Salary Survey, in 2012 the average starting salary for a bachelor's degree candidate in Computer Science was $64,000, up from $62,100 in 2011; for a master's degree candidate it was $73,700, up from $70,900 in 2011. The average starting salaries for our May and August 2012 graduates exceeded these amounts. And it is not just about the money! CareerCast reports that Software Engineer, a job that involves the design and creation of software for everything from operating systems to cell phone "apps" to interactive games, ranks as the Best Job of 2012.
Second, why major at William & Mary? For starters, we have a small "hands-on" undergraduate program with courses taught almost exclusively by faculty. By the time you graduate, odds are good that you will have had at least one class with almost every member of the faculty — and they will know your name! Our undergraduate curriculum is based on guidelines from the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), one of the major professional organizations for computer scientists. Our program is founded on the basics with the assumption that these will serve you well in the ever-evolving world of computer and information technology.
William & Mary computer science graduates are in demand by employers ranging in size from Fortune 500 companies to small start-up firms. Employers consistently mention the exceptional quality of our graduates and how well-rounded they are. Our program is structured so that it is possible to take advantage of Williams & Mary's commitment to the liberal arts and either double-major or minor in other departments or programs. Many of our graduates do. While some of the recent combinations are what you might expect (Computer Science/Business, Computer Science/Mathematics, Computer Science/Physics), some are perhaps unexpected (Computer Science/Classical Studies, Computer Science/Theatre, Speech, & Dance, Computer Science/Womens Studies).
If you are interested in doing research, we have a young, research-active faculty engaged in a wide variety of interesting research projects. We also have a graduate program (you might want to consider our one-year M.S. degree) and faculty routinely include undergraduates in their research projects. Many of these research projects result in Honors theses. And those of our students who choose to pursue a graduate degree gain admission into top programs around the country.
Want to learn more about what our faculty and students are up to? Then consider reading the stories posted in our News Archive. Interested in knowing a little more about where a CS degree from W&M leads alumni? Then check out our Alumni Updates. Some of the career paths our alumni have followed may surprise you!