Career Paths For Cs Majors


Software Developer Salaries By State

Career Paths for Computer Science Majors

The BLS projected 189,200 software developer openings in the U.S. as of May 2020. This profession houses the lion’s share of computer science professionals . These employees are spread across the United States, their average salaries varying substantially by state.

Average Annual Wage and Employment for Software Developers by State, 2021

How Do You Earn A Degree In Computer Science

A bachelors degree in computer science generally requires about 120 credits. Youll take courses that cover topics such as web design, systems analysis, algorithms and data structures, and mobile applications development, just to name a few.While you earn a degree in computer science, you can choose a concentration in subjects such as business, computer forensics or web design. These concentrations will enhance the value of your degree and will provide you with the computer information science skills that meet your career goals.

Start Building Your Career In Computer Science

The computer science field is constantly changing. Whether youre a beginner or a pro, you need to keep your knowledge up to date to thrive in the industry. If youre interested in learning computer science fundamentals or want to add computer science skills to your repertoire, explore industry-aligned courses and programs on edX.

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What Is A Computer Scientist


A computer scientist is a person who has acquired knowledge of computer science. It is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their application. Theyre the ones that develop software for various sites and programs that we use daily. To become an accomplished computer scientist, some of the essential skills required include excellent mathematical skills, excellent computer and technology knowledge and skills, the ability to analyze problems, trace them to their core, and a systematic approach to work and problem-solving. Other requirements include a bachelors degree in computer science, software engineering, math, or a related subject. A masters degree in software engineering may be necessary for advancement into lead engineering and management positions. A computer science student may only start off with $60,000 a year, but they can work their way up to $100,000 or $120,000 a year within four to five years. Computer scientists employment is projected to grow 15% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects are expected to be excellent.

What Do I Do For A Career

What are some career paths for a Computer Science major?

There are many paths one could take for a career in Information Technology.

  • Data Analysis/Business Intelligence Developer A data analyst is someone who collects, processes and performs statistical analyses of data. They can translate numbers and data in a understandable manner to help organizations to make better business decisions.
  • Database Administrator A database administrator is responsible for database design, implementation and performance tuning.
  • Network Administrator The network administrator oversees a companys internal and external network systems, designing and implementing network systems. Providing networking support and cybersecurity is part of this positions responsibility.
  • Programmer Analyst A programmer analyst writes code or software segments that allow the information system to perform a specific task.
  • Project Manager Project managers operate in the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing projects. They are accountable for the entire project scope, project team, resources, budget and the success or failure of the project.
  • Systems Analyst A systems analyst is responsible for the design and implementation of information systems. Besides having a keen knowledge of computer systems, they need to have a good understanding of business systems and functional areas within an organization.
  • Webmaster A webmaster designs and maintains the organizations Web site.
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    The Value Of A Masters In Computer Science

    An advanced degree in computer science is attractive toand often a necessary requirement fororganizations hiring for those hard-to-fill positions, Hescott says.

    Students who pursue a masters degree in computer science enroll in a program for two reasons: They either hold a bachelors degree in computer science but are looking to specialize in a specific area, or they hold a bachelors degree in an alternative field of study and want to pursue a career change.

    Northeasterns masters program, for example, we have students who have a computer science background and are excited about specializing in cybersecurity, data science, or artificial intelligence, he says. Those jobs require advanced degrees and specialized training.

    Careers in data science and careers in cybersecurity, for instance, typically require advanced degrees because only a small percentage of colleges and universities offer training at the undergraduate level, Hescott says.

    There just arent that many undergrad programs that offer sufficient training in these areas just yet, which is why businesses rely on candidates with advanced degrees in these specializations, he says.

    Weve had students who studied political science as an undergrad and want to pursue artificial intelligence to better detect terrorism, he says. Thats one of many examples of people who have existing domain knowledge and whose careers can be boosted by learning skills like data analysis.

    What Do Computer Science Majors Do

    Most jobs in computer science require a degree in a computer-related subjectand, to earn one, you need to enroll in an accredited college or university that offers the degree you’re interested in.

    A bachelor’s degree in computer science will teach you the theory, development, application and design of computer science as well as a number of programming languages and an array of other vital skills.

    A computer science program can include:

    • Ability to analyze problems and define computing requirements for a solution
    • Ability to function as part of an interdisciplinary team
    • Ability to use design and development principles to build software programs
    • Understanding ethical, professional and legal issues related to the computing field

    The purpose of the computer science degree path is to provide the student with a significant amount of background information to understand why things work in a particular way, said Manning. If you want to be able to contribute to the overall body of knowledge for computer science, understanding ‘why’ things work is absolutely essential.

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    Core Computer Science Skills

    • A comprehensive understanding of the processes involved in the storage, transmission and transformation of information in the context of modern electronic technology
    • Knowledge of both theoretical and applied areas of computer science
    • Computer programming skills
    • Practical skills for designing software and/or hardware
    • The ability to comprehend complex technical material
    • The skills to collect various types of information, assess them, analyze and incorporate potential linkages from different fields, put them into writing and efficiently convey your message and the goal of your work, be it individual or in the context of group work in any professional environment

    Computer And Information Research Scientist

    Top 10 BEST Career Paths For Computer Science Majors ($100k+ Jobs)

    Average Salary: $122,840 per year

    These professionals design new technology and investigate ways that existing technology can be repurposed to solve modern problems. Computer and information research scientists apply theoretical concepts to design new software and computer architecture, invent new languages and tools, and conduct experiments to test the efficacy of the technologies that they design. If you have an interest in how technological advancements can solve complex problems, this type of role might be for you.

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    How To Switch Your Career To Computer Science

    Professionals who work in an unrelated field and want to change careers into computer science can do so in several ways. Those who already hold an undergraduate degree may be able to take part in a bootcamp or certificate program to gain the skills needed for an entry-level position.

    Some professionals may also decide to pursue a full degree in computer science as part of their transition. Aside from giving them the skills needed to compete for a job, pursuing an advanced degree can also make it easier to compete for managerial positions.

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  • Computer Science Career Paths FAQ
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    What Kind Of Jobs Can You Get With A Computer Science Degree

    In addition to working across broad industries, computer scientists can specialize in a number of areas within computer and information technology. For example, you could design and build communication networks as a computer network engineer. As a computer systems analyst, you might analyze an organizations computer network and find ways to make it more efficient and productive.

    Because computer science is such a comprehensive field of study, you can determine which of many paths within the discipline youre best suited forand most interested in.

    How To Get A Job In Computer Science Without A Degree

    Thinking About A Career In Cyber Security or Ethical Hacking?

    Computer science jobs without degree requirements are relatively common among software engineers, web developers, data professionals, systems analysts, video game developers, and IT support professionals. While a degree does increase your chances of landing a job, it is possible to get a computer science job without a degree by following one of the routes below.

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    Am I Equipped To Get A Job In It

    In my humble opinion with over 25 years of IT experience the top 4 IT skills needed are:

  • Programming Skills or Coding The basic building block to being successful in information technology. Regardless of what career path you take, you need to know how to code. You should know how to program in at least two of the following languages:
  • Data Analytical Skills With the advancement of Big Data, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence and Database technology, there is a great need for an analyst to organize and interpret data. They need to have critical thinking skills, attention to detail, and at the very least, know how to program in structured query language .
  • Networking and Securities Skills Technology today is used to wage war. The threats are virus, malware, and identity theft. The threat actors are organized crime, nation-states, and advanced persistent threats by individuals and activist groups . IT professionals are needed to oversee and design security systems to secure against internal and external threats.
  • Soft Skills The days of the introverted programmer in a back room are over. Dont get me wrong I am an introvert myself. However, it is very important to have soft skills. Todays IT professional needs to have good communication skills , good listening skills , good leadership skills , and a good team player .
  • Types Of Computer Science Degrees

    There are several levels of computer science degrees you can pursue based on your interests and career goals. The common computer science degrees include:

    • Associate degree in computer science

    • Bachelor’s degree in computer science

    • Master’s degree in computer science

    • Doctoral degree in computer science

    You may also choose to enroll in a coding boot camp to develop your skills as a computer scientist. Coding boot camps provide short-term, technical training in programming languages like JavaScript, Python, C++ and Ruby. Some coding boot camps may also offer specialized programs that train students on topics like web development, machine learning, data science and UX/UI design.

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    How Will My Career Change As I Move Up In This Field

    No matter what career path you choose in computer science, there are ways that it will change as you move up. Lauren Hasson, software engineer and founder of DevelopHer, shares her experience working in the industry.

    As you mature in your career, she says, you can expect to focus less on singular issues and be more involved in how things affect the bigger picture. In software, for example, you might start out by fixing glitches or writing sections of code. As a senior developer, however, you will use more advanced product knowledge to anticipate how each action cascades throughout a software system.

    You might expect this to require highly specialized knowledge, Hasson continues, but that is not always the case. Professionals in this field are often distinguished as either generalists or specialists, and there are advantages to each. Hasson, for example, spent many years of her career focusing solely on iOS. For her, it was a great choice. Once iOS became more mainstream, however, she saw the need to move on.

    The trick is to find an area that employers desperately want to hire in but can never find qualified candidates for, she says. Being proficient in that area is a good place to be.

    No matter what avenue you choose, its important to continue refining your knowledge. As technology evolves, so must you.

    Im constantly re-upping my tech skills,” Hasson explains.

    Companies can teach you the technical side, she says, but soft skills are really valuable.

    Pursuing An Advanced Degree

    5 Career Paths For Computer Science Majors

    Obtaining a graduate degree in your course of study can serve as an excellent way to separate you from the herd – but you must first decide whether it’s worth your time.

    A Master’s in Computer Science is largely useful as a means of getting a chance to learn some extra skills, take time to earn some extra certifications, and ensure that down the line you won’t be barred from any promotions that might require a higher education level. These sort of paywalls are not always present, but they do occur.

    PhDs in Computer Science, rather than preparing you for working in the Computer Science industry, instead has you working with research and writing papers. While the PhD does primarily prepare you for working as a researcher or educator, the Computer Science PhD also tends to be more industry-focused than other PhD programs. Many of those who receive a PhD go on to work in the industry, typically in more specialized analyst positions.

    Here are common advanced degrees that people with a Computer Science degree normally consider:

    Master’s in Computer Science

    • Primarily geared toward getting students to be a little more confident in a particular skill or specialization, many Master’s degrees are also designed so that graduates will also leave with teaching certifications.
    • PhDs in Computer Science focus on conducting research, writing papers, and teaching college students about the field of Computer Science.

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    Associate Degree In Computer Science

    An associate degree qualifies you for entry-level roles in computer science, such as computer support specialist and web developer positions. Students can also apply associate-level credits toward a bachelor’s degree â the most common requirement for IT jobs.

    Most associate programs consist of 60 credits, and full-time students typically graduate in two years. Coursework covers both general education subjects, like psychology, as well as introductory computer science topics, such as basic programming languages and software security.

    What Can You Do With an Associate in Computer Science?

    What Can You Do With A Computer Science Degree

    Computer science is one of the hottest fields today. Its growth exceeds the average for all other occupations in the United States by more than double, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , and by 2029, more than 531,200 new jobs in the field will be added.

    This is great news for people interested in a computer science career, and even more so for those considering earning a masters degree in CS along the way. Graduates who earn an advanced degree in computer science see the biggest return on their investment, adding an extra $30,000 to their annual salaries with some of the highest-paying computer science jobs.

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    What Is Computer Science

    Computer science is the study of how computers and their various components work. This includes the physical and electrical principles that govern the operation of computer machinery, from hard drives to microprocessors. It also involves the programming languages that human beings use to talk to computers, as well as the data structures and algorithms at their core.

    As the field of computer science grows, so does the number of its applications. If you decide to get a Bachelorâs Degree in Computer Science , the fields of study in which you can specialize include software engineering, computer engineering, artificial intelligence and machine learning, human-computer interaction, the theory of computation, and computing systems.

    Suffice it to say that these specializations can lead to a variety of career paths in computer science. What you do in computer science might involve theory or practice, hardware or software, data modeling or data security, or anything in between. Computer science is at the intersection of all of these things, which is why computer scientists are in such high demand.

    Computer And Information Scientists

    Career Paths for Computer Science Majors

    Computer and information research scientists study problems that organizations in medicine, business and other sectors confront regarding computing. They use data science, robotics and computer programming principles to create or improve computer systems, software and algorithms and sometimes work with electrical and computer hardware engineers on complex projects.

    Other typical duties, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , include:

    • Creating and enhancing software that forms the basis of users experience
    • Identifying and helping to solve foundational problems in computing
    • Inventing new technology and computing languages and tools to improve computing systems
    • Publishing findings in academic journals and conferences

    Most computer research and information scientists work for the federal government, a computer systems design service or a research and development organization. They earned a median income of $131,490 in 2021, and a masters degree is usually a requirement for the position, according to BLS.

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