Texas Wesleyan’s computer science program is flourishing more than ever with approximately 60 students proclaiming majors; almost triple the number of students last year.

Although it is a recognized program, Dr.Yukong Zhang, professor of the computer science program and the only full-time faculty member, said computer science  is a pure degree program that  many students do not know about.

“Computer science is one of the most popular fields to study on campus,” Zhang said.  “Computer science is not about the beauty of computers, we use the computers as tools to solve a problem. Some people think in computer science you study the hardware and how to use computers, but no we solve problems and develop software.”

Zhang said people confuse computer science with computer engineering, but computer engineering involves building computers.

“Of course in computer science we also study computer architecture,” Zhang said. “We know the computer on the inside but that’s not our focus.”

Zhang said computer science could not exist without computers therefore computer engineering is necessary. The two fields tend to counteract.

Zhang said a lot of international students  have shown interest in the computer science program and either major in computer science or business.

“A lot of students choose computer science to be their major  because they love computers. I was told that they play computer games and they like to study computer science but however that is a little misleading because computer science is a very challenging field of study,” Zhang said.

Zhang said if the students can finish out their degree at Wesleyan, it is very rewarding because of the  unlimited job opportunities for computer science majors.

Zhang said so far 100 percent of computer science graduates have successfully been employed.

“So that means whenever you graduate you are almost guaranteed a job,  you don’t have to worry about your employment,” Zhang said. “All the programs on campus are very small because our university is small, our program [computer science] is relatively small so students come to us so they can  get the  individual attention with the faculty.”

Zhang said in the summer, there are several work opportunities for computer science majors. They can work on grants and research or internships are available.

“Last year a student did an internship with Omni American Bank. Some students do internships with software companies like Apple, so that is very cool,” Zhang said. “There are a lot of opportunities out there.”

Zhang said a lot of students do not know about the computer science program because it is not like any other program that requires a general education course.

Zhang is  assisted by two adjunct professors who are senior software engineers for Lockheed Martin.

Brian Simcox, a senior computer science major who wants to be a programmer, said he enjoys the computer science classes as well as the teachers.

“The classes are pretty hands on and small so Dr. Zhang gets to give us a lot of attention,” Simcox said.

Kendall Baker, junior computer science major, said he chose the  program because he likes to program and he’s good at it.

“I choose Texas Wesleyan’s computer science program because I like the small classes , I like to be able to get more individual attention,” Baker said.

rdwest@txwes.edu