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The Computer Science Major’s Guide: Career Options, Job Opportunities & Average Salaries

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As a computer science major, you probably won’t be surprised to find out your financial future is looking good. An average computer science salary is pretty high compared to many other jobs, and that’s a big cherry on top, as computer science jobs are often creative and challenging as well.

 

High Paying Computer Science Careers

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the abundance of job opportunities that are open to you after graduation, so we decided to help you out. Here are some of the best computer science careers out there. We’ve described what people do in these positions in the US, as well as the average computer science salary in USD as of Nov 2, 2016 according to Indeed.com.

 

Software Engineer

Software engineers plan, manage and strategize the creation of computer programs. They create programs for end users to use, customer relations management software, video editing software and computer games. But they also create programs that other engineers and programmers use to get a computer or another device to work, such as network control systems and operation systems.

 

To do that, software engineers talk to their employers or clients to understand the goals of the software and the needs of the target audience. They figure out the functions the software needs to serve, and how to make it happen. Even though they don’t do graphic design, they also pay attention to how the software will look like and what the user experience will be like.

 

They create flowcharts of how the software is supposed to operate and look, and give those flowcharts to programmers, so they can turn the flowcharts into code.

 

Average annual US salary: $102,000

 

 

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers usually get flowcharts and design plans for the software from the software engineer and graphic designer, and turn those into code that computer and mobile devices can understand. As a result, end users get a beautiful, easy to use interface.

 

But computer programmers are not just translators. True, they use code libraries and coding software to increase productivity and automate code writing when all that’s needed is basic or repetitive coding, yet it’s often more complex than that. Therefore, computer programmers add a lot of math, engineering knowledge and creativity into their work, writing in multiple programming languages.

 

They also need to do troubleshooting, run tests and fix bugs regularly, in order to make sure end users get the best possible software or app.

 

Average annual US salary: $52,000

 

 

Mobile App Developer

Mobile app developers rely on much of the same knowledge as computer programmers. Many times, they do programming work, meaning they use coding languages and libraries to transform flowcharts into programs – mobile apps, in this case – that work.

 

However, mobile app developers also need to specialize in mobile platforms (Android, iOS and/or Windows Mobile). They study what these platforms demand from apps they feature, in order to make sure their apps get into app stores.

 

Depending on the company you work in, some mobile app developers participate in app architecture planning, and in making sure the app is secure. They study how their target audience uses mobile apps (it’s often different than how they use desktop platforms), and what this target audience needs from a mobile user interface, so they can develop an app that meets company goals.

 

Average annual US salary: $106,000

 

 

Web Developer

Just like computer programmers build computer programs and app developers build apps for smart devices, web developers build websites. Like computer programmers and app developers, they get the design from a graphic designer, and turn the design into code that computers and smart devices can understand. They also turn media – such as videos, audio files, images and texts – into code that computers and smart devices can understand. They do that with the help of web-friendly programming languages.

 

To make sure they serve the company and the target audience well, web developers first need to understand the company’s goals for the website, and the target audience’s needs. They need to know what’s available in the industry, and how complex of a website can its target audience handle.

 

They need to understand what functions the website needs to serve, so – together with user interface and user experience specialists – they can move visitors through a journey that drives desired results, like signing up to an email list, leaving their contact information for a consultation call, or making a purchase.

 

Average annual US salary: $76,000

 

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Database Administrator

Database administrators – also known as DBAs – are responsible to help everyone in their company navigate through the wealth of information companies collect today about their customers, target audience and their own operations. To do that, database administrators use software products to organize the data in a way that makes sense.

 

They’re also responsible to keep the data safe, as it often includes sensitive information – from internal correspondence through customers’ credit cards and home addresses. Therefore, database administrators work with department managers and other decision makers in the company to decide who needs access to which part of the database, then give or deny permission based on these policies.

 

Database administrators have additional ways to keep the database safe. First, they back up all the information. Second, they consistently perform maintenance tasks and testing to make sure the company is covered in case the power goes off or other technical challenges happen. When technical challenges do rise, it’s the database administrators’ job to fix bugs and recover the system, so anyone who needs the database and has permission to access it, can easily do that.

 

Average annual US salary: $69,000

 

 

What’ Your Computer Science Future?

Education can transform your life and give you the foundation to build your dream. A computer science degree allows you to work in almost any industry, so go out there, experiment, and find the path that’s best for you.