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A computer’s operating system is the software that supports the machine’s basic functions, such as scheduling tasks and executing applications. Understanding operating systems is essential to computer science, both for those who build operating systems and for those who build the applications that run on them. That’s why some tech companies include questions about how operating systems work in their technical interviews. It’s also why standardized exams such as the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) test students’ knowledge of operating systems to evaluate their readiness for graduate school, and sometimes also for a specific career position. Taking a course in operating systems can clear up confusion related to this subject and help people reach their professional and educational goals.
Deep knowledge of operating systems is most often necessary for computer and research scientists, a workforce group that is expected to grow by 16% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the average of 5% across all occupations. Computer and research scientists earn a median annual wage of $118,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.