A Cognitive Systems degree will give you both the depth and breadth in expertise. This will prepare you for entry into many fields of academia and industry. While you will be prepared to work in the specific stream you choose, you will also have exposure to the other disciplines. This will make it easier for you to adapt to novel environments and to pivot from one career to another if you wish. Ultimately, your COGS degree is an experience determined by your own individual motivation and self-initiative.
Some students have a tendency to think, “What jobs are out there where computer science, linguistics, philosophy and psychology intersect?” If you think about jobs that only pertain to four disciplines (computer science, linguistics, philosophy, psychology), you may be limiting yourself. Think about all the skills that you would have acquired by the time you graduate. You would have:
- Swiftly acquired knowledge from various subjects, and can see how different ideas fit together.
- Collaborated with individuals from other specializations and utilized collective intelligence to solve problems.
- Evaluated issues from different perspectives with a critical eye.
- Realized that not all research is perfect, and have critiqued existing research.
- Done the necessary outreach to find your COGS 402 project supervisor.
- Conducted your own research project from start to finish.
These transferable skills enable you to define problems, design solutions, and to connect brilliant minds across different domains to solve problems together. These skills will help you in any domain you choose to pursue – beyond the areas of computer science, linguistics, philosophy and psychology.
Some COGS alumni pursue further education (e.g. Master’s Degree, PhD, Diploma or Certificate) in areas such as cognitive science/psychology/neuroscience, computer science/human-computer interaction/artificial intelligence, and management/accounting.
Other COGS alumni join the workforce and go into a variety of roles in (but are not limited to) the following areas ranging from “technology-heavy” to “human-heavy”:
- Software development/quality assurance/user experience design
- Management roles (products/projects/programs/operations)
- Business intelligence/analytics/data science
- Client-facing/communicative roles
Some alumni find themselves in all of the aforementioned areas. For example: an internal consultant at an analytics company who moves projects forward by gathering requirements from clients and communicating the clients’ needs to the software development team.
Other alumni choose to pursue Law school, Med school, founding start-ups, etc.
Considering graduate school?
Here are some resources on what it is like to pursue graduate studies and how to successfully conduct your research. The full list can be found here. (Special thanks to COGS alumnus Theo Rosenfeld for the curation of resources.)
- How-To Guides by Alan Bundy
- How to Organize your Thesis by John W. Chinneck
- How to Write a PhD Thesis by Joe Wolfe
- Research Techniques Notes by Alan Dix
- The Researcher’s Bible by Alan Bundy, Ben du Boulay, Jim Howe and Gordon Plotkin 1985 Including contributions by Graeme Ritchie and Peter Ross. 2004 edition.
- “So long, and thanks for the Ph.D.!” by Ronald T. Azuma
- “So you want a letter of recommendation…” by Jennifer Wiley
- A Stroke of Genius: Striving for Greatness in All You Do by R. W. Hamming
- TIPS: How to do Research by Silvia Miksch
- You and Your Research by R. W. Hamming
It is yours
As you may have noticed, a COGS degree is not a straightforward rule book that dictates the careers of alumni. Rather, it is the alumni that take ownership and decide on what their COGS degree means to them and how their COGS degree fits into their lives. Since there are significant differences in each COGS student’s degree (due to the variety of streams and module courses), each alum will have a different answer. What will you discover?
In addition to speaking to COGS Advising, make sure to also visit the Centre for Student Involvement & Careers. They are here to help, and welcome you to their Centre for career development, student engagement, and leadership development as they are a campus-wide student services department.