Careers in Computer Science: Face the Facts

There are two main questions many hopeful career changers ask themselves before jumping ship to a new industry: “Will I be able to find a job?” and “Will my new job help me support my family?”

If you’re considering careers in computer science, the answer to both is “Yes!”

Your passion for technology makes this field a desirable one but if we’re being honest, it all boils down to the job opportunities and salary potential. So instead of highlighting the skills needed or daily duties, we’re stripping it down to a few basic truths.

We uncovered four irrefutable computer science facts to help reinforce the notion that a career in this industry is definitely worth pursuing.

1. Computer science job openings are projected to multiply in the coming years

computer_science_growth_factIn a time when 18% of Americans are uncertain about their job security, those with careers in computer science can rest easy. With many companies relying more heavily on computers and other technical advancements, every computer science position is growing.

And they’re not just growing—they’re skyrocketing! When analyzing the top seven computer science careers, growth projections ranged from 9 percent to 31 percent from 2010-2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

What’s more, the number of qualified candidates is not adding up to the growing number of job openings. In fact, about 95,000 computer science degrees were granted by U.S. institutions in 2009.

If we extrapolate out that trend over ten years, that adds up to 950,000 degrees, which is only about three-quarters of the 1,350,000 computer science jobs the BLS projected will be vacant in that time period.

What this means for you?  As a computer science professional, you’ll be the coveted employee that many organizations are seeking. With job openings increasing faster than degrees are being earned, opportunities are endless for the foreseeable future.

2. Computer science salaries are more than twice the national average

We’ve all heard the saying from Confucius: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Everyone wants to love their job, but when it all comes down to it, a solid paycheck is what continues to put the food on the table. If you’re interested in careers in computer science, you can have both!

The exciting truth is that the median annual salary for the top seven computer science careers is $87,789. This is more than three times the median annual salary for all U.S. workers in 2010, which was $26,364.

FACT: The average annual computer science salary is more than $85,000.

Keep in mind that these wages reflect the mid-range salary for employees of all experience levels. Generally speaking, salaries increase with experience, so you will likely earn a lower salary upon graduating.

But don’t be dismayed. The average entry-level salary for computer science graduates is $60,594 annually, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Even this starting salary is more than double the annual salary for U.S. workers of all experience levels.

What this means for you?  By landing one of these big paying jobs, you can finally have a peace of mind knowing you’ll be earning enough to help keep your family flourishing. The extra cash could go a long way toward cutting your mortgage in half, paying off your child’s braces or financing that long-awaited family vacation you’ve been dreaming about.

3. Computer science professionals have the ability to work in several industries.

Unlike an education or nursing degree, a computer science degree affords you the opportunity to work in a wide variety of industries. In this day and age, nearly every organization is using technology for everything from video conferencing to cloud computing. As a result, computer science professionals are needed in infinite capacities.

FACT: More than 25 different industries hire computer science professionals.

After identifying nearly 350,000 computer science job postings over the past year, we discovered the top five industries offering careers in computer science.* They are listed below, along with some examples of the companies hiring in each industry.

1. Professional, scientific and technical services (IBM, Cisco)

2. Educational services (Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University)

3. Publishing industries (Microsoft Corporation, Apple, Inc.)

4. Administrative and support services (Expedia, Inc., Experian)

5. Transportation equipment manufacturing (General Dynamics, The Boeing Company)

What this means for you?  If your first computer science job doesn’t live up to your expectations, it’s not your last option. You have the opportunity to work in a completely different industry without having to earn a new degree.

4. Bachelor’s degree holders are eligible for more than 10 times as many computer science jobs as individuals with no degree

computer_science_education_factNow that you’re aware of the optimistic outlook of the computer science field, you’re probably wondering what you can do to become qualified for these positions. Earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science is the best way to boost your hiring potential in this field.

The truth is 88 percent of the nearly 350,000 computer science jobs posted in the past year required a bachelor’s degree. This means that you missed out on more than 300,000 computer science job opportunities over the past year, all because you haven’t yet earned your degree!

What this means for you?  By earning a bachelor’s degree, your job opportunities skyrocket compared to those with no college experience. Put simply, furthering your education means you’re creating a better, more stable future for your family.

Learn more

These four computer science facts should help make you more confident in your decision to pursue a degree in this field. Now that your questions are answered and you’ve faced the facts, learn more about the daily responsibilities of a computer science professional as well as some of the skills needed to succeed.

 

Download our Technology Career Outlook for more information on computer science and other careers in technology. 

 

*Source: BurningGlass.com (Analysis of 341,515 computer science jobs, 8/13/2012 – 8/12/2013).

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Callie is an Inbound Marketing Specialist whose aim is to compose helpful and encouraging content to assist Rasmussen College students. Her eagerness for helping others combined with her creative writing passion makes her a great asset to past, present and prospective learners.

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