Finding your way in

People take all kinds of paths into tech careers.

Talk to people in tech-related roles and you’ll find a variety of levels of education, from bachelor’s degrees to PhDs. You’ll discover that people have had a wide assortment of prior internships and jobs. But there are some choices you can make for your undergraduate degree that can position you for success.

Break Through Tech Chicago’s academic partner is the University of Illinois Chicago, our city’s public research university and the most diverse university in Illinois. We support female and nonbinary UIC students as they take their first tech-oriented classes and provide career guidance as they move through their academic programs.

We’ve outlined UIC’s tech-oriented majors below. The best part about them? They share the same (or a very similar) sequence of early-stage requirements, so you can take several tech courses before having to decide which is the best choice for you!

Computer science major

A computer science major gives you the preparation you need for jobs across the breadth of the field. As a UIC computer science major, you’ll take mathematics and foundational computing courses such as program design, software design, data structures, and systems programming. You’ll learn about the ethical questions inherent in many of the computing technologies we use today, and you’ll choose among electives that allow you to focus on the area of the field that appeals to you most. These electives can include courses on computer graphics, cybersecurity, programming languages, cryptography, video game design, or computer architecture. Learn more about the UIC computer science major.

Data science major

Studying data science gives you the expertise to develop high-level tools and methods to find useful insight in mountains of data. As a data science major at UIC, you’ll start with a strong grounding in math, computer science, and statistics, and then you’ll choose an concentration area where conducting data analysis is most relevant to you: biology, business, computing, data processing, healthcare, industrial engineering and process improvement, social technology and communication, statistics, or urban policy. One of the greatest aspects of data science is that no matter the career field you choose, there’ll be a way to apply knowledge and skills you learn in this major. Learn more about the UIC data science major.

CS + design major

If you’re a creative person who wants to use technology to re-envision the world around you, UIC’s computer science + design major could be the perfect fit. Today’s companies need design-oriented technologists to create virtual and augmented reality environments, work magic with computer graphics, determine the aesthetics (and utility!) of the mobile apps we use every day, shape the future of 3D printing, and much more. UIC students who choose the CS + design major benefit from the university’s strong computer science department and its highly regarded School of Design. Find out more about the CS + design major here.

CS and linguistics major

We have just begun to tap into the possibilities at the intersection of computers and language. Today, we have virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa that have been programmed to understand what we say and talk back. At institutions such as hospitals and airports, there are robots who can listen to your questions, understand where you need to go, and provide directions. Companies are starting to use voice recognition to confirm people’s identity when they call to access their accounts or other services. You can help determine what the possibilities in this area look like in the future. If you are interested in both technology and language, UIC’s computer science and linguistics major, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, could be for you.