Are you considering a degree in computer science? Read more to find out what can you do with a computer science degree.
As a society reliant on the use of technology, it is important to understand the impact that information technology and computer science professionals have on the growing industry. The purpose of most computer engineers is to ensure that the relevant technology (hardware, software, computer languages) meet the needs of the company or project. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 13% growth in information technology occupations by 2026, including the addition of 557,100 new jobs to the industry’s workforce and developing specializations. So, what can you do with a computer science degree?
Common careers in computer science:
1. IT consultant
Consultants use logical reasoning to solve complex problems, viewing the situation from an outside perspective and applying their own knowledge to the existing project.
2. Information systems manager
Computer and information systems managers determine the IT goals of an organization. They plan, coordinate, and direct the implementation of a computer system in order to meet those goals.
3. Cyber security specialist
In the technology sector, cyber security protects computers and networks from data breaches and criminal intrusions. Specialists in cyber security find the fastest and most profitable ways to protect the organization’s infrastructure.
4. Multimedia programmer
Programmers who want to specialize in innovative digital products might find careers in multimedia. These can include mobile apps, interactive animated films, and Flash-based websites, and tend to rely on programming languages like Ruby on Rails, HTML 5, PHP, and Flash.
5. Games developer
Game developers use knowledge of programming languages to develop video games. They collaborate with designers and producers to turn ideas into codes, creating characters, story lines, and documenting the game design process.
6. Systems analyst
IT professionals who specialize in systems serve as agents who identify organizational needs and implement their solutions. As a systems analyst, the focus is typically on the end user and the adaptability of the product to their needs. Although system analysts may be educated in computer science and different programming codes, the main function tends to be analysis of the product itself.
7. Technical writer
In order to help end users navigate a tech product, companies often hire technical writers to communicate product functions and usability. Technical writers simplify the concept behind the technology and do not necessarily come from IT or computer science backgrounds, but it can greatly help!
8. Database administrator
Covering many different industries, like computer systems design, finance, insurance, and medicine, database administrators monitor the accessibility as well as the protection of data. They use knowledge of software to analyze complex systems, identifying the needs of its users and ensuring that the database smoothly operates without error.
What can you learn from a degree in computer science?
A bachelor’s degree in computer science will teach you comprehensive understanding of the design, development, testing, and documentation of various operating systems, database management and programming languages, and essential knowledge for implementing those skills into real-life situations. You can even earn your degree online and tuition-free!
Students who complete computer science programs open doors to a broad career path, high earning potential, and the key tools required for further education. In your first year, you might take more sociological courses focused on the theory of computational systems and networks. Later in your degree you will likely translate the theory you learned into a final project, often working with other students to deliver the project.
At University of the People, you will be matched with a personal Program Advisor who will guide you through course selections and important academic decisions throughout your entire enrollment. With an exciting range of subjects, you will be able to choose from courses in Java programming, designing computer systems, web programming, building mobile applications, search optimization, and artificial intelligence, for example.
How can you start your career in computer science?
First decide on what you are interested in. Think about the applications you use most frequently and research the companies and engineers who developed them. Once you narrow your focus, you can start contacting the companies and networking in the right circles.
Whether you choose to work for a large company or a small independent project, the skills learned during your computer science degree should be your focus. Concentrate on your knowledge and make sure to sell your range of soft skills (teamwork, communication, interpersonal skills, etc.).
Be aware of the market surrounding the position before your interview. See here for a brief overview of the average annual salaries:
- Software systems developer – $101,627
- Web developer – $93,402
- Software application developer – $92,089
- Network systems administrator – $78,322
- Computer systems analyst – $77,455
Choosing a specialization
The fields of education, medicine, finance, communication, entertainment, and more, all rely on information-based tools and devices. Technology not only enables day-to-day operations, but it also provides access to the beneficiaries of each business. None of these tools would be available without the analytic skills of computer scientists and engineers. Behind each product is a team of professionals, all specializing in various areas of information technology.
As a rapidly growing industry, it is reported that one in twenty workers in the UK are currently employed in the IT & telecom workforce, and the demand is continuously growing. An undergraduate degree in computer science will provide analytical thinking skills and training, serving as a foundation for any of the fields mentioned above.
Computer science is like mathematics, a foundational science that provides a framework for understanding patterns in modern life. If you have recently completed a degree in computer science and are now searching for career opportunities, you will find the best job prospects in areas you are genuinely passionate about. Be honest with yourself about your interests, whether they be medicine, marine life, finance, robots, or computers.
Ask your professors and peers from school for feedback in order to gauge your strengths and weaknesses. Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team? How well do you handle deadlines? If you can really assess your own skills and adaptability, you will find the whole process much more streamlined.
Remember to take your time when choosing your next career path. Speak to engineers in your field of interest to better understand the actual tasks of the role. Ask them if they believe their computer science degree was useful for the role and what courses they studied during school.
If you are someone who loves learning and problem-solving, and wants to make an impact on the future of technology, consider these types of employers when choosing your specialization:
- Public and private sectors
- Financial services
- Aerospace and defense
Computer Science vs. Software Engineering
One of the most important decisions you will make as a computer scientist is your niche. Your initial research may feel exhausting, but stay focused on what you want out of your next job and you will definitely maximize your chances for success.
Do you prefer learning math and logic, or are you more inspired by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and security? One main distinction of the software engineering field is the research-based development of existing software. On the other hand, scientists focus on pushing beyond the given boundaries of the field, like inventing new algorithms and language types that will later be used to create new software.
Many agree that a computer science degree prepares students with abstract problem-solving skills, taking a broad approach to both the theory and application of computers. While computer science is centered around taking complex problems and coming up with mathematical solutions, software engineering focuses on designing and developing complete, user-friendly software.
Whatever path you choose, don’t forget to ensure your job security by exceeding expectations and showing initiative. Become a problem solver, master a variety of skills, and stay up to date on the leaders of your field. From business to individual use, computer science degrees are sought after in almost every industry, and at any experience level. After all, it is impossible to ignore the rapid growth of the technology industry!