By tamaraIt’s been nearly 40 years since a Harvard University dropout named Bill Gates founded Microsoft with the help of his partner, Paul Allen. Their vision — a computer in every home — was soon realized thanks to a revolutionary operating system they invented called MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System), and more importantly, Windows. Today, nearly everything we do is connected to computers, so it should come as no surprise that the economic outlook of this career field is very promising. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects computer science careers to grow about 15 percent over the next five years, which is faster than many other occupations. On average, students in this field can expect to earn around $49 per hour or over $100,000 per year. A computer science degree may be a good choice for those who are good at solving problems and pay close attention to detail. Students should also be good at mathematics, work well under pressure, be creative, and enjoy reading and writing code. It also helps if they can work with others and enjoy being challenged. Those who do enter this field will find a variety of career choices, including information technology consultant, database administrator, webmaster, systems analyst, software developer, and much more. Of course, earning a bachelor’s degree or any advanced degree in this field can be quite costly, so students should consider applying for scholarships to help reduce their expenses. Thankfully, many organizations, colleges, and businesses provide computer science scholarships for those pursuing technology-based careers. Here are just a few scholarship programs that are currently accepting applications. 1. AfterCollege Computer Science Student Scholarship This $500 scholarship is available to current undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing computer science degrees. Applicants must have grade point averages of 3.0 or higher. Deadline: March 31. 2. Build U. Scholarship Buildium provides two $2,000 scholarships annually through this program. Students must be 18 years or older to apply, and be currently enrolled at the undergraduate level. Deadline: April 1. 3. AWC Scholarship Fund for Women in Computing Each year, the Ann Arbor chapter of the Association for Women in Computing (AWC) awards several $1,000 scholarships to female students who have at least two semesters of coursework remaining. Deadline: April 1. 4. Rural Technology Fund The Rural Technology Fund offers two national scholarships for computer science majors. Current high school seniors and undergraduate students with an interest in cyber security may apply for the $2,500 Cyber Security Scholarship (deadline April 14). In addition, any female students pursuing degrees in a computer/technology-related field may also qualify for the $1,000 Rural Women in Technology Scholarship (deadline April 15). 5. Pearl Software College Scholarship Program Any current undergraduate enrolled in a technology-based degree program may apply for this $500 scholarship. Deadline: May 1. 6. Technology & Computer Science Scholarship Award ClearTarget Media offers one $500 scholarship to students who are already enrolled or are planning to enroll in technology or computer science degree programs. Students must be 16 years or older to apply. Deadline: May 1. 7. ESA Foundation Scholarship Program The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) assists women and minority students who are pursuing careers in computer-related fields, as well as the video game industry. Up to 30 scholarships valued at $3,000 each are provided to high school seniors and current college students. Deadline: May 15. Those interested in computer science careers may also want to consider joining the Association of Information Technology Professionals as Student Members. For a $40 annual fee, members have access to a variety of exclusive scholarship opportunities, several of which can be used at any accredited U.S. college. Students may also be able to save some money while pursuing a computer science degree by enrolling in the new $7,000 Online Master of Science in Computer Science degree program offered at Georgia Tech. Applications are being accepted until May 11, 2014, for the upcoming fall semester. In addition to these opportunities, students should also search for other scholarships that may be specific to their talents and skills outside of their degree fields. A great way for students to find these awards is to use a free scholarship search tool, such as ScholarshipExperts.com.