EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 22, 2008

Focus: Want a job? Get a degree in computer science, finance or bio-technology

NORTH ANDOVER — Nearly every student who graduates with a computer science degree from Merrimack College does so with a job in hand.

"We can't fill the jobs fast enough," said Mary Noonan, the chairwoman of the Computer Science Department at Merrimack.

Computer science majors are in the highest demand of any college graduate in today's job market. Jobs available to those who hold that degree — such as network system analysts and computer software engineers — are the fastest-growing occupations in the country, according to the United States Department of Labor.

Professors at Merrimack College said they're also seeing high demand for finance and accounting majors, as well as students with biology degrees with concentrations in biotechnology and biomedical sciences.

Robert J. Cuomo, dean of the Girard School of Business and International Commerce, said he gets calls from the big four accounting firms — Deloitte, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ernst &Young and KPMG — looking for recruits all the time.

"They're finding the demand is much more than the supply," he said. "Although these fields pay a lot of money, they're very demanding."

Professors at Merrimack said they're adding new courses and shaping the curriculum to make sure their students graduate with the most current skills they need to fill and excel at the fastest growing jobs.

In the fall, the college will switch from requiring students to take five courses to four. More intense and lengthy work will be required in these courses, and they will count for more credits.

The biology major offers a program this year in which students can focus their biology degree on bio-technology classes.

In finance, they're trying to develop a concentration to prepare students for careers in financial services.

And starting in the fall the computer science major will offer an information technology track, for students to learn to become, among other things, database managers.

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