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Creative and Applied Computing

Why Creative and Applied Computing?

LaptopThere are over 500,000 current job openings across every field imaginable that require computing skills (code.org). Whether you are interested in another subject (i.e., art, history, biology, law, medicine) or computers (i.e. software development, data management and analysis), then Creative and Applied Computing is for you! The focus of this program is to integrate computing with other subjects highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of computing.

Example coursework topics in the CAC program can be found below:

  • Mobile App Development with Android Operating Systems
  • Using Sensors to Track Body Movement
  • Lego Robotics with Java
  • Media Computation in Python (manipulation of sound and pixels through code)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cyber-security

Because this is a newly proposed major, we do not have any graduates yet. However, below are quotes highlighting how a handful of individuals use their knowledge of computing in various fields. Some are traditional Computer Science majors and others have only had a few courses in computer programming. These are potential careers I see graduates of the CAC program having in the future.

“My degree in finance has been the foundation to my success in the banking industry. It provided the basic knowledge I needed to interpret business problems, interact with my peers, respond intelligently to challenges from my superiors. However, like many industries, banking is becoming increasingly reliant on data analysis. Having a basic understanding of computer science gave me a leg up in data acquisition and manipulation. Furthermore, I was able to automate many tasks that had previously been done manually, which let me finish projects quicker and led to more responsibility. In a nutshell, finance and economics prepared me to understand and function in the business environment, but coding allowed me to scale my output and deliver more impressive results.”
- Marek Sedlacek, Principal Data Analyst, Capital One

“As a traditional Computer Science major, my role as an engineer involves the full life cycle of software, from designing and architecting, to building and releasing, to maintaining and iterating.  I apply my computer science background in multiple ways.  For example, the theory behind data structures and algorithms becomes important when analyzing different system designs.  And of course, the practical side is actually building and coding those designs.  I am constantly learning and developing my technical skills with respect to scaling challenges, feature development, and operational excellence.”
- Azalea Vo, Software Development Engineer, Amazon Web Services

“I graduated with a bachelor's in Economics from Northwestern.  I've been working as an options market maker since I graduated.  When I first started, I was doing research for algorithmic trading using historical market data.  I found that learning logic was invaluable in creating scripts to run through the data.  My job is now more to interpret models and trends and trade off of that information.  I don't do any coding except for the occasional Excel spreadsheet.  However, I'm still using the same general problem solving skills I picked up from taking programming classes.”
- Peilong Cong, Options Market Maker

“As a traditional Computer Science major, my responsibility is to lead the design and implementation of retail credit decisioning services and infrastructure.  Our team utilizes computing to retrieve large amounts of data from internal and external sources and run risk/fraud models and strategies to provide clients with credit decisions within seconds.  This results in lower operational overhead, faster and more consistent turnaround times and the ability to support massive volumes of credit applications!”
- Kenny Kung, Lead Developer, BBVA Compass Bank