Top Jobs for Computer Science Majors

Top Jobs for Computer Science Majors

Top Jobs for Computer Science Majors

Updated 16 November 2020

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In today’s technical world, almost every business relies on computers in some way. This may be for administrative tasks or full-blown automation and artificial intelligence.

Whatever the case, it is clear that computers will remain at the heart of every business for the foreseeable future.

Therefore, if you are interested in how computers work, or you have an aptitude for programming or coding, then computer science could be the perfect major for you.

Computer science careers involve:

  • Finding solutions to technical problems
  • Finding new and improved ways to enhance technology
  • Communicating with other people about what you are doing and why

It’s a very analytical role that requires applicants to make an important contribution to ongoing business success.

What’s more, it’s a hugely exciting area because new computer science careers will emerge in the next 10 years from technology which may not have even been invented yet.

Computer science careers are all about looking ahead to the future.

What Is a Computer Science Degree?

Computer science majors will give you the tools to work in any area that involves computing.

There is a myriad of computer science jobs available for graduates. You could work on an IT-helpdesk for a large organization. Or you could make a career as a game or app developer.

There is ample earning potential for those who specialize in computer science. This is because there are more jobs available than there are graduates to fill them.

Companies can easily provide a tangible return on any investment into their IT infrastructure so they are prepared to invest heavily in staff and equipment which will allow them to work far more effectively.

What Will You Study During Your Computer Science Degree?

A computer science degree focuses heavily on math and students will learn about software and hardware.

You’ll learn how to design, develop and apply new programs.

There will likely be a heavy focus on artificial intelligence and automation, as well as areas such as cybersecurity, networking, databases and programming.

You will learn how to design and develop algorithms.

You’ll be taught how to solve problems with computers, and you’ll discover how future technologies are developed and brought into mainstream business practices.

What Skills Will You Learn In a Computer Science Degree?

Throughout your computer science major, you’ll pick up many skills which will be highly sought-after in the jobs market.

Many of the technical skills you learn will be specific to the job role itself, but you may also identify some transferrable skills which can be applied to a wider-business setting.

These include:

Many features of a computer science career are based on developing new ways of working.

Computer science is unique in that much of what you learn isn’t about what has already been done. It’s about what can be done in the future.

You’ll start to figure out which technologies will become mainstream and which will contribute to new and more effective ways of working.

Analytical and Problem Solving

Throughout your study, you will learn how to become a problem solver.

You will be taught how to identify potential problems and devise strategies to overcome these.

This may be through immediate technical solutions (such as the installation of a different piece of software) or it could be through looking at the bigger picture and designing IT infrastructure which can transform a business model.

You’ll learn to work logically and methodically, and you will develop project management skills which will help you manage projects from start to finish, under time and budget.

Business Acumen

Throughout your study, you’ll learn elements of business strategy. You’ll need to understand why different technologies work in different size businesses.

If you work within an IT team in an organization, you’ll need to understand how to work alongside colleagues in other departments.

You’ll forge close links with teams such as HR and marketing who will be looking to you to install or design new technologies to help them maximize their working patterns.

You may also have to liaise closely with C-Suite executives and understand wider business strategies so that you can write a business case justifying any new investment into IT equipment.

Communication Skills

When it comes to IT and technical issues, you’ll likely work with colleagues who will not have the technical knowledge that you have. You’ll learn to be adept at explaining what you are doing and why.

Computer programmers and developers have a distinct language and you’ll need to ‘translate’ this into a business context so that others will understand why investing in new technologies is so important.

You’ll learn to leave jargon behind, and you’ll start to develop ways of explaining complex scenarios in easy-to-understand ways.

Creative Thinking

Creativity can be a hugely important skill for computer science majors.

This could involve thinking of creative solutions for technical issues but it could also mean designing new programs, apps or games.

You might also learn to spot a niche area where you could bring something new to the market.

Resilience and Patience

You’ll learn how to overcome failures and you’ll become resilient to tricky technical issues.

As you learn to program and code, you’ll likely have many failures before you succeed. Therefore, you’ll develop an ability to ‘shrug off’ any errors and develop coping strategies to help you think of new solutions.

Programming is notoriously tricky, and you’ll develop patience which will help you as you strive to find the ideal solution to your technical problem.

Top 10 Jobs for Computer Science Majors

Now you know what skills you’ll have after completing your computer science degree, we will look at what jobs are a perfect fit for those skills.

As computing is such a fast-paced sector, we’re sure new jobs will emerge in the near future, but here are our top options for 2020:

1. App Developer

Average salary: $91,000
Further training required: n/a
Key skills: Programming, creative thinking, graphic design, user experience, problem-solving, communication, written skills

It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago, app developers didn’t exist. This is a role that relies on computer science to create functional apps for smartphones or tablets.

It requires lots of programming and coding experience because the app needs to look consistent regardless of phone or tablet, make or model.

This career is best for a creative person who can listen to what marketing/sales teams need and work with design teams to create something which looks good and works well.

Computer science majors with an interest in user experience are often drawn to app development roles because they can use their analytical mindset to understand how a user is likely to use the app.

Like game development, it requires a story-telling mindset. You need to be clear on what the user is expected to do, and you’ll have strong project management skills to complete the project according to timescales/budgets.

App developers don’t need any further training but you will need to be continually aware of the latest updates and technological changes to ensure that apps can work effectively as and when new systems are launched.

2. Cybersecurity/Information Security Analyst

Average salary: $122,000
Further training required: n/a
Key skills: Cybersecurity, programming, coding, communication, patience, analytical and critical thinking

As a cyber/information security analyst, you’ll be responsible for helping businesses to improve their resilience against cybercrime.

You’ll likely work closely with database administrators to suggest best practice and you’ll be able to use your coding and programming knowledge to develop intensive disaster recovery plans for businesses.

This job is about designing and implementing security standards, so you have to be able to simultaneously look at what has been done, what is currently taking place and what could be done better.

Computer science majors are attracted to the role because it allows them to research trends and anticipate potential problems. It uses their analytical and critical thinking skills to make predictions and create practical solutions.

It’s an investigative role that looks at where breeches have come from as well as making repairs to security systems. It’s a very methodological role that requires plenty of attention to detail as well as fast-reaction times.

3. Data Analyst

Average salary: $75,000
Further training required: Master’s degree in data science or business analytics
Key skills: Analytical capabilities, problem-solving, critical thinking, programming, teamwork

Data analysts are used by companies to identify trends and make future predictions. Computer science majors are highly sought-after in this role because they learn how to interpret and understand data.

They also learn how to make changes using the data available and have strong critical thinking capabilities that spot future trends.

Data analysts need to have programming capabilities. They need to identify how to pull out the correct data and will design software that will allow them to create effective reports which they can then work from and analyze.

Data analysts will typically work with a wide range of departments including HR, marketing and sales. They provide the information that teams need to make tangible changes to business performance.

It’s a growing area for many businesses which is why many employers may recommend that applicants continue their academic study to achieve higher qualifications.

Best Jobs for Computer Science Majors

4. Database Administrator

Average salary: $98,000
Further training required: Database administrator training and certifications
Key skills: Ability to spot future trends, analytical and problem solving, critical thinking, resilience

Businesses will collate confidential data that will need to be stored carefully. Some may choose to store data via an on-premises server whilst others will choose cloud-based servers.

As a database administrator, you will be responsible for managing and maintaining databases to ensure that data is held securely and is easily retrievable in the event of a disaster.

Computer science majors with an interest in cybersecurity are often attracted to these roles because they can use their skills and expertise to develop secure systems that are resilient to hackers.

This role requires the ability to strengthen and protect encrypted data whilst also spotting the signs of any weaknesses or malfunctions.

Typically, companies do not employ graduates straight into database administrator roles as they require an extensive knowledge and understanding of potential security breaches.

It’s a role that you work your way up to; however, you will still be expected to undertake continual training to update your skills as it is a fast-paced career choice.

5. Game Designer/Developer

Average salary: $65,000
Further training required: n/a
Key skills: Programming, written skills, creative thinking, graphic design, story-telling, user experience, testing

Game developers have the seemingly ‘fun’ part of a computer science career.

This job involves designing and developing new concepts to use as part of computer games. You’ll need to be extremely creative and have the ability to tell a story. You’ll also need to be able to program your game so that it works across a multitude of formats.

This is a niche area to enter and competition for jobs is fierce.

Successful applicants will have a strong background in computer science but will also have a flair for character development and storyboarding. They’ll need to understand how a story develops because the concept of the game is just as important as the technical know-how.

Key skills required include an ability to think logically and methodically. You’ll need to work through a specific process to work out the story details before jumping into coding and programming.

It’s a job that requires lots of testing as well as an understanding of user experience and audience behavior to ensure that the game works correctly.

6. IT Project Manager/Consultant

Average salary: $88,000
Further training required: n/a
Key skills: Design and installation, project management, teamwork, communication, creative thinking, problem-solving

IT managers can either work in-house for a business or they can work as part of an external team. They will take responsibility for the day-to-day running of an IT infrastructure and much time will be spent on the small ‘fixes’ that are required by users.

Compared to other computer science careers, IT manager jobs can feel less ‘exciting’ but it’s a steady career that will offer a regular salary and regular hours.

It’s open to people of all ages and experiences and there are plenty of opportunities for progression available.

As well as being able to install and fix software or hardware, many IT managers move into business development roles.

IT project management can be creative. You may be asked to design entire IT infrastructures for clients or you could be involved in sourcing solutions for immediate problems.

You’ll need to learn how to work effectively as part of a team and develop business acumen to be able to make effective business cases for specific solutions.

IT consultancy is a good choice for computer science majors who like to ‘take charge’. It’s a good fit for a person who likes to be in control of a project from start to finish and can explain what they are doing and why.

7. Multimedia Programmer

Average salary: $75,000
Further training required: n/a
Key skills: Programming, coding, design, creative thinking, patience, problem-solving

A multimedia programmer uses programming skills to design multimedia products (such as CAD/CAM technology).

It’s a creative role that works closely with graphic design and other visual teams to bring a vision to life. It requires extensive programming knowledge as well as creative thinking to establish how to turn an idea into reality.

It’s a technical role that needs skills in text, sound, video and other multimedia formats and requires strong attention to detail to ensure that everything works together correctly.

It’s a popular career choice for those who like the challenge of programming something completely new, from scratch. It requires plenty of patience as coding takes a lot of time, yet it allows you to be limited only by your imagination.

8. Software Developer

Average salary: $78,000 to $130,000
Further training required: n/a
Key skills: Programming, coding, teamwork, problem-solving, patience, business strategy, communication skills

Computer science majors are sought after for jobs in software development because of the programming skills required.

They may be attracted to the creativity involved in designing something completely new. Alternatively, they may be attracted to the problem-solving challenges involved in software development.

There are clear career progression opportunities for software developers. You may work in junior roles where you are given a task and asked to solve it through programming capabilities. Or you may be involved in planning development scenarios.

Experienced software developers will need to have a strong understanding of business strategy. If they are creating something bespoke for a client or company, they’ll need to understand what exactly is involved in the brief and how this translates to a wider context.

They’ll need to understand the different aspects of user experience and create work-around solutions that can be used by people of all technical abilities. This information will then need to be communicated effectively with those who are undertaking the programming work to ensure that everyone is collaborating effectively.

9. Technical Writer

Average salary: $56,000
Further training required: n/a
Key skills: Communication skills, written skills, technical knowledge, project management

This job focuses on the communication aspect of computer science. You’ll need to communicate with audiences and explain complex topics in a clear, easy to understand way.

Technical writers may use the knowledge that they gained through their computer science major to write instruction manuals or to offer helpdesk support for software packages.

It’s an ideal job for someone who likes to problem-solve. You may need to think from other perspectives to identify potential areas that may need help. You’ll need to be able to communicate carefully with audiences of different levels of technical knowledge to help them make the most out of a product.

This job may be suitable for someone who has an interest in computers and fixing things but doesn’t want to work in a programming or software development role.

It can be a good computer science career for a person who works well independently and can project manage from start to finish.

10. Web Developer

Average salary: $78,000
Further training required: n/a
Key skills: Programming, coding, graphic design, creativity, problem-solving, business acumen, user experience, SEO, attention to detail

As businesses work hard to improve their online presence, web developers have carved out a niche whereby they facilitate and build websites to work as effectively as possible.

They’re responsible for bringing a brand vision to life, so they’ll collaborate closely with marketing teams, graphic designers, data analysts and user experience (UX) experts to create meaningful websites that stand out.

Creative computer science majors are attracted to this as a career because it allows them to combine their creativity and business acumen. They have the chance to design and build a website that is based on a tangible need.

They’ll have the communications ability to understand the brief and suggest options for a site that has the flexibility for the current business needs as well as creating something which can adapt for the future.

They’ll also be adept at understanding marketing practices and SEO tools to ensure that the website functions effectively as a sales tool.

Final Thoughts

As you can see from this list, there are many different computer science jobs available, and each has its own distinct skills and capabilities.

Computer science majors can be creative thinkers, or they can be methodical problem solvers.

There is a good blend of computer science careers available which allow graduates to work to their strengths.

As more jobs emerge, there will be an increasing demand for computer science majors and there are many options for career progression without the need for further academic study.

However, those working in a computer science career do need to take responsibility for continually updating their skills in line with new technological changes. It’s a fast-paced sector and you are only as good as your knowledge.

Salaries are strong and are likely to increase further as employers allocate more budget to their IT requirements. Computer science is a specialist skill you can expect to be highly employable for many years to come.

By Amy Dawson Amy Dawson