Computer science degrees can lead to a variety of careers across all sectors. Some people use their knowledge of programming and software development to work as web developers.
Others might find employment in information technology as IT specialists.
If you're interested in cyber security, having a degree in computer science could make you more attractive for these types of jobs.
What qualifications do I need?
Many large companies now require applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree, with many looking for candidates who have graduate-level education.
A degree is usually essential for senior positions like network or cybersecurity architects and technical leadership positions, such as database or systems engineers. You will typically need a computer science degree to gain entry into this area.
However, even if your degree isn't in computer science, a mix of education and work experience could help you get ahead.
What skills will I learn?
Computer science degrees teach students how to analyze and solve technical problems that arise in information technology. This involves designing solutions that meet the needs of businesses and other organizations while being technically sound.
Areas of study might include software engineering; telecommunications, networks and security; artificial intelligence; algorithms; data structures; databases, business logic, and languages; theory of computation; computational complexity; computational biology (computational methods for analyzing nucleic acid/protein sequences); software design methodologies such as reuse-oriented programming or extreme programming; program design (specification, documentation, verification) using formal methods; operating systems concepts; distributed computing; computer networks; and human-computer interaction.
What types of projects could I work on?
You might be asked to design an application for the Android operating system, for example, or write code that predicts stock prices based on historical data.
Another common project is building a website from scratch. You would also write documentation for these projects to describe what you did and why.
What jobs are available?
Web developers use coding skills, programming languages, databases, and software engineering to create web pages and websites for business, shopping, or social use.
These could be built using content management systems such as WordPress or Drupal, which require some coding knowledge but not technical expertise at the same level as a computer science degree.
A bachelor's degree is often sufficient for a junior web developer or front-end software engineer position. This role might involve creating interfaces between applications that can't communicate with each other directly.
IT specialist positions frequently require only an associate's degree in fields like information technology or computer support.
The job description varies from organization to organization but usually involves a mix of technical and customer support duties. Entry-level positions typically involve providing software or hardware support as well as troubleshooting.
What other skills do I need?
Computer science degrees provide students with broad knowledge across several disciplines, including mathematics (graphs, set theory, linear algebra), physics (computational modeling of atomic systems), and psychology (human-computer interaction).
Students might also learn about ethics via their degree to ensure that decisions made are fair and correct. Most computer scientists will have the ability to research the internet for information as well as an understanding of cloud computing use.
These can be beneficial soft skills to possess alongside programming languages such as C++, which many industries use. These include automotive, aerospace, defense, finance, and oil & gas.
Where can I find work?
Jobs are available in a range of places. You could work for an organization that creates software or makes use of it daily. This could include banks, retailers, consulting firms, manufacturers, and healthcare organizations.
The job description varies depending on the industry and employer but computer scientists earn around $90,000* per year across all industries. The average salary is $96,120 According to 2015 data submitted to Indeed by people with this job title.
What should I consider before embarking on this career path?
You might not have much contact with your fellow students because you'll need to spend most of your time doing coursework or studying for an exam.
Your individual project deadlines will require you to work in a team at times, which can be difficult if you're used to working independently. While the job comes with higher pay than many other disciplines, it also requires more extensive education and experience before getting into the workforce.
The world of information technology is a dynamic one. Jobs in the field are always changing and evolving to keep up with new developments and those that have been around for years but haven’t yet had their breakthrough moment.
This makes it an exciting time to enter this industry if you know your future: computer science! Consider taking courses like web development or programming languages at community college before applying to programs such as a bachelor's degree in Computer Science.
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