If you are technology oriented, enjoy working with computers, and are thinking of going back to school, consider exploring careers in computer science. Computer scientists and IT professionals are known for their logical minds, problem-solving skills, and ability to thrive as part of a team. With society’s increased dependence on technology, individuals pursing computer science careers are in high demand.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites several IT and computer careers as among the fastest growing occupations through 2018. Employment for network systems and data communications analysts is expected to grow by 53%, whereas jobs for software engineers are projected to increase by 32% and those for computer systems analysts are supposed to increase by 20%.
Education Required for Computer Science Careers
Careers in computer science vary in the level of education that is required. Although some IT employers will consider candidates with either professional certification or an associate’s degree, providing that they have accompanying experience, many organizations will prefer potential employees to have earned at least a four-year bachelor’s degree.
In order to advance into a management role, you may also want to decide to pursue a graduate degree to help you further your career after gaining some work experience. Depending on your area of interest, applicable fields of study for computer careers include computer science, information systems, database management, and network and security administration.
An Overview of Careers in Computer Science
When it comes to career choices in computing, from entertainment to medicine, there are a variety of options for employment, creating a unique opportunity for professionals who aim to marry their talents with their interests, whether in music, big business or any other field. Below are a few of the top computer careers available:
- Computer hardware and software engineers- As every aspect of life becomes computerized, the work of those who can develop the systems to support it remains essential. Computer engineers use their computer science degrees to assess the needs of diverse groups within an organization and translate them with applications or hardware that make it possible to create new ways of doing business, whatever the sector.The median annual salary for software applications engineers in 2008 was $85,430, whereas software systems engineers earned slightly more at $92,430. In 2010, the median annual salary for computer hardware engineers was $98,810.
- Computer scientists- As researchers and innovators, computer scientists are leading the way in shaping our online world, developing new technologies, creating and configuring computer networks, and exploring new ways to organize and manipulate information. One of the highest paying computer science careers, with the average salary of $97,970, computer scientists are required to have earned a degree at the doctoral level.
- Computer systems analysts- With global reliance on computers, there is a high demand for computer systems analysts in every business sector. These computer specialists must remain experts in the latest in computer technology, while also exhibiting the people skills and propensity for teamwork that make it possible to work closely with the nontechnical members of an organization. In 2008, the median annual salary for this role was $75,500.
- Network systems and data communication analysts- Network systems and data communications encompasses network architects, telecommunications specialists, web developers, and webmasters. As up-to-date and secure computer networks become a critical part of businesses, network systems and data communications has transitioned into one of the top growing occupations across all industries, with a median annual salary of $71,100 in 2008.
Careers in computer science begin with an education. Whether you are talking about medical imaging, successful corporate strategy or the workings behind the latest video-game console, there’s a qualified IT professional behind the scenes that made each of these things possible—and the field is hungry for specialists with mathematical minds and the desire to innovate. If you would like to learn more about the different types of computer careers, explore our resources on hot IT careers and the average computer science salary or start checking out some of the schools featured throughout our site.