9 Great Careers You Can Attain with a Computer Science Education
Many options exist for studying computer science. Trade school, college, and university programs all tend to provide reliable ways to start getting market-ready skills. And they typically only take between two and four years to complete.
Plus, having a degree related to information technology can enable you to find exceptional job opportunities in all kinds of different sectors. Some of the biggest and fastest-growing examples include healthcare, engineering, finance, digital media, and government. Throughout the course of your career, you may get the chance to contribute your technical talents to multiple industries, including some that might not even exist yet.
What type of role will you play? Here are nine intriguing possibilities:
Have you ever imagined being the person who comes up with amazing new computer programs or mobile apps? That's one of the most extraordinary aspects of being a software developer. You get to be the creative mind behind useful and innovative applications for individual devices or whole systems or networks. As you collaborate with programmers and other technology pros, you help oversee the entire process of designing, coding, testing, and updating computer software.
- Average salaries
- User applications developers—$104,300*
- Systems software developers—$110,590*
- Top salaries
- User applications developers—over $157,590*
- Systems software developers—over $163,220*
- Job growth (from 2014 to 2024)—17 percent**
Maybe you'd like to be one of the people who write the code that brings software to life and makes it work the way it should. Computer programmers take the diagrams and instructions created by software developers and turn them into digital commands using programming languages such as C++, Java, PHP, and many others. They also frequently help debug applications, fix errors, expand software features, and test functionality across different operating systems or types of hardware.
- Average salary—$85,180*
- Top salary—over $130,360*
- Job growth—Eight percent decline due to international competition. However, industries like direct sales, mail-order, and online retail, ambulatory healthcare services, heavy and civil engineering construction, and software publishing are expecting job growth of 34, 22, 20, and 14 percent, respectively.**
This very fast-growing occupation is great for people with an interest in preventing crime and keeping Americans safe. Cyberattacks are becoming more and more common and sophisticated. And organizations of every type are being affected. Hackers and cybercriminals are constantly trying to steal private information and cause havoc with important networks and computerized infrastructure. So information security analysts are increasingly needed across most industries to help prevent, detect, and respond to cyberthreats and breaches.
- Average salary—$96,040*
- Top salary—over $147,290*
- Job growth—18 percent**
People who are fascinated by the way data and communications are distributed and transmitted across digital networks can excel in this role. As a computer network architect or engineer, you might be in charge of planning and building anything from a small local area network (LAN) or intranet that connects just a few offices to a large wide area network (WAN) that spans many offices across multiple states or countries. It's a job that involves choosing the most appropriate hardware and software components (e.g., routers and network drivers) as well as considering important data-security issues.
- Average salary—$104,240*
- Top salary—over $158,590*
- Job growth—Nine percent**
5. Systems Analyst
Maybe you would enjoy having the power to help a variety of different organizations maximize the benefits they receive from their use of information technology. Computer systems analysts assist company, government, or agency leaders in determining which technologies to use based on their potential for creating more operational efficiency and effectiveness within a reasonable budget. And they often oversee the process of installing and configuring new information systems, testing their functionality, and training their end users.
- Average salary—$91,620*
- Top salary—over $137,690*
- Job growth—21 percent**
6. Systems Administrator
How does the idea of being in charge of the daily operation of a large network of computers or data servers sound? In this high-paying role, the focus is on ensuring that systems are performing optimally and making any necessary adjustments, upgrades, or repairs to keep them running well. The job also usually involves adding new users to a computer network, making sure they have the proper security permissions, and training them to navigate the system.
- Average salary—$84,500*
- Top salary—over $127,610*
- Job growth—Eight percent**
Many organizations—especially in sectors like banking, e-commerce, and healthcare—generate a lot of data and sensitive information, which all needs to be organized and stored securely. Database administrators ensure that different users have access to particular segments of information based on what they are authorized to see or use. The job involves updating user permissions, testing changes to database structures, and backing up and restoring data.
- Average salary—$87,130*
- Top salary—over $129,930*
- Job growth—11 percent**
If creating websites is what appeals to you most, then computer science training is definitely worth pursuing. That's because web development requires a comprehensive understanding of modern coding and markup languages as well as database and server technologies. It's an occupation that continues to evolve alongside changes to the Internet and how people use and interact with the technology that connects us.
- Average salary—$72,150*
- Top salary—over $119,550*
- Job growth—27 percent**
9. Support Specialist
For technology enthusiasts who like to teach others or assist them in overcoming technical problems, being a help-desk technician or other kind of computer support specialist can be highly satisfying. Professionals with this occupation generally fall into one of two categories: They either help computer users who don't have an information technology (IT) background, or they help the IT staff where they work with issues related to using the organization's network, special software, or other advanced systems.
- Average salaries
- Computer user support specialists—$53,100*
- Computer network support specialists—$67,770*
- Top salaries
- Computer user support specialists—over $82,160*
- Computer network support specialists—over $105,910*
- Job growth—12 percent**
* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last accessed on September 15, 2017.
** Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, website last accessed on March 3, 2016.