What Can You Do With a Computer Science Degree?

Are you thinking of majoring in Computer Science? Have you already done a subject such as physics or mathematics and you’re thinking of taking an MS in computer science? If this is you, you may also be wondering what will happen when you graduate and what kind of job you can expect when you achieve your computer science qualification.

When you first pose the question of what can you do with a computer science degree, the resulting torrent of information you’ll find may be overwhelming to you, and you may even feel despondent that you’ll never find the right career. This article aims to explore some of the more popular options to give you a clear explanation and answer to the question.

Salary and Growth Potential

The good news for you is that a computer graduate — such as MS in computer science — is like gold dust to many industries, owing to the wealth of hard and soft skills you will learn. Skills such as critical thinking and problem solving will serve you well in almost every industry, and what’s more, technology is ever-present in the modern work environment from the office to the factory line to the farmer’s field. Even industries that you would expect are not as welcoming to technology,such as literature, are embracing AI and machine learning to reach new heights in their sector.

Although there is an incredible choice when it comes to career choices, there are definitely quite a few standard industries that many computer science graduates will quite often set themselves into. Technology-focused careers top this list, but here are four jobs that computer science graduates may want to get into, along with their requirements and comparative salaries.

Systems Analyst

Systems analysts are sometimes known as business analysts, IT analysts or information systems analysts, and can expect to earn a median salary of around $89,000.

Systems analysts rely on their problem solving skills and spend a lot of their life at the top end of their career, working to find ways of merging IT initiatives and business needs in the most efficient and cost-effective way. Every business is different and it’s a systems analyst’s job to plan and improve the IT systems to ensure that the business needs have been met and the best processes put in place.

Systems Analysts need to be effective communicators; they work across the business from both the IT teams to the C-level executive teams, in both a big data way and a small detailed way. They need to be good team leaders and effective leaders within their field and teams.

App Developer

App Developers have seen their career path explode over the last few years: other titles for this role include applications developer, java developer, or software development engineer. App developers can expect to earn a median salary of around $106,000 and have seen the industry really grow over the last two years specifically.

Only a few years ago, app development was a daily niche topic that was really limited to smartphones, and even then, it was usually with an iPhone first mentality. Now, with the rise in popularity of Android, Chromebooks, and portable ‘cloud’ apps, app development has become its own industry and app developers are highly skilled in what they do.

App developers are usually found building, creating, testing, and repairing their software to keep up with demand and changing landscape. Users are now not only used to patch security updates, but they now expect their software to be continually updated and to work well across platforms, most of the time syncing at the same time.

Most app developers are found working as part of a larger software development team and work within set projects, building their project management skills at the same time.

Software Developer

The Software Development field is probably the most popular field for a computer scientist to enter. Sometimes called software architect or systems engineer, software developers can expect to command a median salary of around $110,000.

Much like App Developers, software developers can be found working in teams to ensure that projects run smoothly and that the software works. Users expect software to not only continue to work, but to be safe and get better with every update. Many software services and games are moving over to subscription-based services, and as part of this, users are commanding an ever-increasing level of skills from the people behind their software. Software developers will work primarily with Microsoft/Windows and Apple/Mac-based software, but it will be important for budding software developers to have a strong knowledge of Linux and Unix based systems and know a range of programming languages for all systems.

Web Developer

Website developers have been around in a number of guises since the 90s when the first HTML based websites entered the Internet. Web developers may also be called Front End Developers, Back End Developers, Web Designers (although this is usually a more specific role), or Web development architect, and can command a median salary of around $70,000.

Web developers have traditionally been the people who design and maintain websites, a skill that used to be fairly simple but now commands a lot of knowledge and training.

Gone are the days when websites were made in basic HTML, perhaps with a CSS based skin. Now website developers are more likely to be working with MySQL databases, PHP based plugins, and even writing the website in C or another programming language to create a really bespoke design.

Website developers and web designers are slightly different in most places, developers being responsible for the hard code behind the site and designers making sure the website looks right and provides the right usability for the user, for this reason, the roles are usually split into the front-end and the back-end aspects. In smaller companies though, this role may be combined into one.

Website developers may work with CMS such as WordPress or Drupal, but equally, they may be working directly on a bespoke project. They will need to have a deep understanding of programming logic, database structures and mapping information flows to really succeed in this career path.

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