There’s no question about it: skilled computer science employees are in demand. Computer-related occupations are expected to grow 13% by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
A computer science job can offer you a bright future. Read on to learn more about where you can find computer science jobs, how much they pay and the best ways to find them.
Main Takeaways: Getting a Computer Science Job
- Computer science is a wide field. You can be a part of a small IT team, lead a team of developers, or something in between.
- Education is almost always required. Most jobs look for candidates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science or a related field.
- This field takes an individual with a diverse set of skills. These skills include being technically minded, being able to communicate with others and more.
- What is Computer Science?
- What Are People with Computer Science Jobs Responsible for?
- Do I Need a Computer Science Degree to Work in this Field?
- Types of Computer Science Jobs and Titles
- Salary Ranges and Expectations for Computer Science Jobs
- Projected Growth Rate of the Computer Science Field
- How to Get a Job in Computer Science
- Top 5 Skills to Be Successful in Computer Science
- Computer Science Jobs Offer Security
What is Computer Science?
Computer science is the study of computers and computing concepts. In a computer science job, you might:
- Obtain, analyze and interpret computerized data
- Study theoretical algorithms and use them to solve complex problems
- Use and fix computer hardware and software
Computer science jobs are available across every industry you can think of, as most businesses require computers for their operations to run efficiently.
What Are People with Computer Science Jobs Responsible for?
Since there are so many different categories within computer science careers, daily job duties can vary considerably, but here are a few common tasks:
- Provide technical assistant and support to computer users at organizations
- Troubleshoot and repair computer systems and networks
- Develop software applications and computer programs
- Study an organization’s computer systems and procedures and develop solutions to make them work more efficiently
Computer science workers could work independently or as part of a larger IT organization within a company.
Do I Need a Computer Science Degree to Work in this Field?
The majority of computer science jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer programming, information sciences or management information systems. Higher job classifications, such as computer research scientists, require a master’s degree.
A few computer science jobs such as computer support specialists and web developers may be acquired with an associate’s degree. In some cases, web developers or website designers may not need a college degree if you’re self-taught and have a portfolio of impressive work.
Even if you’ve got a degree, it helps to stay current on the latest trends by reading computer science books and subscribing to computer news outlets.
Types of Computer Science Jobs and Titles
There are hundreds of different computer science fields and titles that fall under the larger computer science umbrella. Here are a few examples.
Entry-Level Computer Science Jobs
Entry-level computer science jobs, which include titles like computer support specialist, help desk specialist and computer support technician, involve performing general computer-related tasks such as troubleshooting and providing end-user support.
A network engineer, also called a network architect or network administrator, designs and implements computer networks, usually for larger organizations. He or she is an integral part of a larger IT team and might report to an IT director.
Computer engineers, also called computer hardware engineers or senior IT engineers, research, develop, design and test computer systems and components such as circuit boards, routers, networks and processors. They usually work in computer research labs.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts, also titled cybersecurity analysts or security intelligence analysts, protect an organization’s computer systems and networks by developing security measures and procedures. Their goal is to prevent cyber attacks and security data breaches and to investigate any related incidents.
Computer systems analysts or systems architects study an organization’s computer systems and procedures and develop solutions and processes to improve efficiency and performance. They provide cost analysis reports for management for computer system upgrades and find new ways to improve current systems.
Software engineers, developers and designers test and design computer programs and install, configure and maintain multiple servers. Typical duties might include planning for a system outage and system upgrades.
Web developers, also called website designers and front-end developers, design and create websites for individuals or businesses. They write code for websites, work with graphic designers to create graphic elements, troubleshoot technical issues and monitor website traffic.
IT managers, or information systems managers and IT infrastructure managers, plan and coordinate all computer-related activities within an organization.
These managers may work in tandem with an IT director and oversee an IT team. They plan and install computer hardware and software, ensure network security and assess the costs of IT projects, among other job functions.
Salary Ranges and Expectations for Computer Science Jobs
The average salary for computer-related jobs ranges from $69,430 for a web developer to $142,530 for a computer and information systems manager, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Each job classification requires a different skillset and educational background, so there are lots of job possibilities to consider. You’ll generally command a higher salary if you are more specialized in a particular computer science field.
Projected Growth Rate of the Computer Science Field
There are varying projected growth rates depending on the computer science field you plan to focus on. Here are a few examples to give you an idea of which computer science jobs will trend upward in the near future.
|Projected Growth Rate by 2026|
Comparison to Overall Job Growth Rates
|Computer hardware engineer||5%||Average|
|Computer network architect||6%||Average|
|Computer systems analyst||9%||Average|
|Web developer||15%||Much faster than average|
|Software developer||24%||Much faster than average|
|Information security analyst||28%||Much faster than average|
How to Get a Job in Computer Science
Now that you’ve earned a computer science degree, how do you land a job? Here are some strategies and tips to help get you started:
- Tap into your college’s career center: Are you a college student or recent graduate? Your college’s career center can help you find job opportunities. The career center should have a team of advisors whose sole job is to help you in your career search, so take advantage of this free resource.
- Sign up for an internship: Many companies offer paid internships, which gives you great on-the-job experience as well as a paycheck.
- Register with an employment agency: Sign up for an employment agency that specializes in computer science jobs. These agencies have connections with major corporations and can help place you in a job that matches your skills and expertise.
- Add certifications: In addition to a college degree, you can also earn certifications in computer programs and applications that will make you more marketable, such as Microsoft Certified System Engineer, Cisco Certification and Network+. It’s also a good idea to enroll in online computer science courses to boost your knowledge in specific areas.
- Freelance: You can work independently as an IT expert or consultant for small or large companies. Create a Facebook page and/or website to advertise your services. You can also register with sites such as Upwork and Guru to connect with employers who need IT workers with your skillset.
- Tweak your resume: Have it evaluated and written by a professional and make sure your certifications, education and successful IT projects are highlighted.
- Show off your portfolio: Your portfolio should feature all the innovative websites you’ve designed as well as testimonials from satisfied clients.
- Network: Beef up your LinkedIn profile and connect with as many colleagues as possible.
- Join professional organizations: You’ll be able to network and learn about job postings with computer-focused professional groups such as the Association for Computing Machinery and the Society for Information Management Systems.
- Become specialized: You’ll be more desirable to employers if you specialize in a particular area.
- Apply online: Apply for jobs on credible job search engines and target your job search according to your desired salary and job title. Research companies you’d like to work for and apply on their career sites.
Top 5 Skills to Be Successful in Computer Science
You’ll need strengths and talents in several key areas if you want to pursue a career in computer science. Here’s a list of the top 5 skills you’ll need to be successful.
1. Technical Skills
Since computer programs are mathematically-based, you’ll need good math and technical skills if you choose a career in computer science. You’ll also need specific technical knowledge of computer coding, languages and algorithms if you develop computer programs.
2. Analytical Skills
Most computer science jobs require good analytical skills because you’ll be tasked with analyzing and choosing the best computer programs so your organization can run more efficiently.
For example, you might be asked to assess a new computer software program a company is considering for its payroll processes. You’d need to analyze the pros and cons and deliver a report to management with your recommendations.
3. Communication Skills
No matter what role you play on an IT team, you need to be able to effectively convey technical problems and solutions in layman’s terms. You might need to train 50 employees how to use a new payment processing system, for example, which requires good verbal, written and presentation skills.
4. Problem-Solving Skills
Good problem-solving skills are a must for all computer science jobs. You’ll be asked to evaluate technological problems and develop practical solutions, such as determine why a program isn’t working or an outage has occurred.
5. Creative Skills
There are usually multiple strategies and solutions you can apply to any given issue as you work to solve computer problems, so you’ll need to be open-minded and creative in your approach.
Computer Science Jobs Offer Security
Considering how computers have changed our lives over the past 20 years, it makes sense that there will be many more changes in the future. Those changes will require computer science expertise.
The computer science field encompasses a vast array of opportunities to choose from. Whether you’d like to create software apps, video gaming systems, prevent cyberattacks or direct a large IT organization, the choice is yours. There isn’t much you can’t do using a computer, from robotic surgeries to self-driving cars.
The job growth rate and salaries for computer science jobs can offer job security and a good plan for retirement. In other words, you can’t go wrong if computers are your thing.