New Professor at Hood College Asks Students to Consider Computer Science Classes

By Jack Wilder Distribution Manager

Jiang Li, Ph.D., is a new computer science professor at Hood College. Li shared his experiences with teaching and learning computer science. Li graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo and began his teaching career as a TA there; he eventually went on to teach at the University of Memphis for a year, and at Quincy University in Illinois for eight years before moving to Hood. “I started out studying automation in college,” said Li. “But while I was learning I discovered how more and more machines needed to be programmed, and in gradu
ate school I actually changed my major to computer science. It seemed like a natural progression since the two fields are so similar.” Computer science may not be suited for everyone. However, students continue to draw into Li’s classes. Li recalls many students joining his classes for the financial gain. “Frequently, business majors would be so excited to become a CEO, but once they saw that their starting salaries would be very low they looked for other options,” said Li. “Computer programmers usually make six figures, even at their first job, so I had some transfers.” Computer science students can typically consider pursuing careers in technology management or software engineering after graduating college. Classes in computer science generally involve studying languages such as C++ and Java. There has been a rising demand in computer science-related careers, according to multiple reports. Between 2016 and 2026, positions in computer science will grow 19 percent, which is much faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There appears to be an increase in cybersecurity jobs, specifically. The BLS also suggests that a master’s degree is necessary for the computer science careers that are in high demand. “Try computer science,” says Li. “It may sound like I’m saying that just because I am a professor of that discipline, but I encourage everyone to at least give it a shot.” Computer science courses offered at Hood include computer science 1 (CS 201), advanced data structures (CS 219), algorithm analysis (CS319), and principles of software engineering (CS324) among others. “Many high schools don’t offer computer-related courses,” said Li. “So not everyone has had a chance to see if they like it. It’s not the most complicated major to begin to learn, it’s very logical, and it can be incredibly rewarding to work hard on a program and finally make it perfect.”

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