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Computer Science careers: a guide

The field of computer science is varied, interesting and, crucially, offers plenty of opportunities for a well-paid career. Computer science is incorporated in almost every aspect of modern society which means there are lots of possible paths for a computer science graduate. The key is to find the job which suits your personal interests and skills, but the qualities which computer scientists tend to have in common include a curiosity about the world and an analytical approach to problem-solving.

If you are a person who enjoys the evolution of technology, problem-solving and analysis, and are able to communicate complex subject matter in language which is easy to understand, computer science could be the ideal choice for you.

Whether you have already graduated with a computer science or math-related degree or are about to choose your degree, this article outlines the most popular computer science careers for your consideration.

Database Administration

A database administrator, as the title suggests, creates, develops, manages, and interprets databases in order to record and analyze important information which they can use to benefits users and/or their employer. Database administration requires excellent problem-solving skills as well as the ability to think creatively to improve systems and processes.

Database administrators can earn an average income of over $93,000 per year and employment opportunities are predicted to increase by 9% by 2028.

After a bachelor’s degree, computer science professionals can maximize their earning potential by completing a Masters in Computer Science online.

Computer and Information Research Science

If you enjoy inventing solutions to problems or finding new applications for technology, then a career in computer and information research could be the right choice for you. These researcher scientists work in several sectors including businesses, science, and medicine, creating algorithms to identify and analyze patterns in big datasets. In some cases, research scientists will work on robotics.

Computer and information research scientists can earn an average income of nearly $123,000 per year and employment opportunities are predicted to increase by 16% by 2028.

Computer Hardware Engineering

A computer hardware engineer works with the physical components of a computer, for example routers, memory, circuit boards, and so on. This career requires a balance of creativity and technical skills, as well as a keen interest in continued learning and skill development. Computer technology is moving at an incredibly fast pace and it is important that hardware is able to cope with the most up to date software. Engineers are involved in developing, testing and repairing computer hardware.

Computer hardware engineers can earn an average income of over $117,000 per year and employment opportunities are predicted to increase by 6% by 2028.

Software Development

Software developers are in high demand now as they create the programs and applications which we use every day on mobile devices, laptops, and desktop computers. In addition to creating software, they also develop, test, and maintain it to ensure it always runs at maximum capacity. This is a career which requires not only technical knowledge and the ability to use computer code proficiently, but also to be able to communicate with the users of the software to discover how it can be improved.

Software developers can earn an average income of over $105,000 per year and employment opportunities are predicted to increase by 21% by 2028.

Computer Network Architecture

Computer networks need to be designed and maintained like a transport system or a city, which is why computer network architects are essential. These professionals will design and implement networks whether they are intranets, extranets, local or covering a wider area. These networks enable organizations to share data and communicate securely while evaluating where improvements could be made and solving problems when the network is up and running.

Computer and information research scientists can earn an average income of nearly $113,000 per year and employment opportunities are predicted to increase by 5% by 2028.

Website Development

A website developer will work with an organization or individual to design and create a website which suits their objectives. Some websites are intended to be purely informational, but most are designed to encourage visitors to take some form of action such as buying a product or placing an enquiry. A website designer will work on the overall look of a website as well as its functionality and usability. They should do this with principles of search engine optimization in mind to maximize the website’s visibility and increase visitor numbers.

Website developers can earn an average income of nearly $78,000 per year and employment opportunities are predicted to increase by 13% by 2028.

Computer Systems Analysis

A computer systems analyst will evaluate the computer network which is already in place at an organization in order to make recommendations as to how it could be improved. Improvements could include making changes to hardware and/or software in order to improve an organization’s efficiency and performance. To be a successful systems analyst, you need to have excellent communication skills and the ability to develop a strong working relationship to be able to understand their issues and make suitable recommendations. This may involve persuading people to make significant changes to their operation which can be met with resistance. This role is also referred to as a business analyst.

Computer systems analysts can earn an average income of nearly $91,000 per year and employment opportunities are predicted to increase by 9% by 2028.

Information Security Analysis

An information security analyst is tasked with designing an IT system, network or website which is protected from cyberattacks. This includes staying on top of the constantly changing tactics which cybercriminals employ to gain access to confidential and financial information.

Information security analysts can earn an average income of over $100,000 per year and employment opportunities are predicted to increase by 32% by 2028.

IT Project Management

An IT project manager will oversee and coordinate a team of other computer science professionals either on particular projects, a client or organization. This involves analyzing and identifying problems, deciding on suitable solutions to those problems and organizing the team to ensure those solutions are delivered. IT project managers are often highly skilled across a wide range of computer science areas so they can communicate with their team effectively.

Computer and information research scientists can earn an average income of more than $89,000 per year.

NOTE: All salary information and employment projections have been sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website using 2019 data.

Photograph by Zathris