What Can You Do With a Computer Science Degree?

While you’re considering earning a computer science degree, you’re probably curious about what your options will be after graduation. You’ve got bills to pay and children to raise, so you’re seeking a career that’s a safe bet.

When it comes to the future, there are few guarantees. But you’re not likely to find a career path with a more optimistic outlook than computer science careers. With job opportunities increasing significantly and above-average starting salaries that escalate with experience, it’s no wonder you’re considering this field.  

We know, we know – you haven’t made your decision yet. But as you explore your options, it’s always helpful to know as much as possible about the types of jobs that will be available to you once you earn your degree. To help you in your research, we analyzed more than 560,000 job postings over the past year to determine the most common positions for computer science degree holders.*

So, what can you do with a computer science degree? Take a look!

what can you do with computer science degree

Top 10 computer science careers

Below you’ll find a detailed breakdown of the top 10 careers for computer science degree holders, ordered according to the total number of jobs posted over the past year. Learn a bit about the duties, outlook and earning potential for each position.**

1. Software applications developer

Daily duties:

  • Design or customize computer applications software
  • Modify existing software to optimize operational efficiency or correct errors
  • Evaluate software requirements and user needs to determine software feasibility

Available jobs (7/2014 – 6/2015): 165,063

Projected growth (2012-2022): 22 percent or higher

Median annual salary (2014): $95,510

2. Computer systems analyst

Daily duties:

  • Analyze data processing problems to improve computer systems
  • Develop and test system design procedures
  • Enhance system compatibility so information can be shared easily

Available jobs (7/2014 – 6/2015): 32,018

Projected growth (2012-2022): 22 percent or higher

Median annual salary (2014): $82,710

3. Computer systems engineer

Daily duties:

  • Develop solutions to complex applications problems and other network concerns
  • Provide technical guidance for troubleshooting computer systems
  • Confirm stability and security of system architecture

Available jobs (7/2014 – 6/2015): 21,144

Projected growth (2012-2022): 3 – 7 percent

Median annual salary (2014): $83,410

4. Network systems administrator

Daily duties:

  • Install and support an organization’s network system
  • Examine website functions to ensure performance without interruption
  • Perform data backups and disaster recovery operations

Available jobs (7/2014 – 6/2015): 21,089

Projected growth (2012-2022): 8 – 14 percent

Median annual salary (2014): $75,790

5. Database administrator

Daily duties:

  • Test and administer computer databases
  • Coordinate changes and correct errors to computer databases
  • Apply security measures to safeguard information

Available jobs (7/2014 – 6/2015): 20,835

Projected growth (2012-2022): 15 – 21 percent

Median annual salary: $80,280

6. Business intelligence analyst

Daily duties:

  • Analyze market strategies through examining competitors and share trends
  • Collect and compile data from public information, industry reports or purchased sources
  • Produce business intelligence and trend data to support recommendations for plans of action

Available jobs (7/2014 – 6/2015): 20,589

Projected growth (2012-2022): 3 – 7 percent

Median annual salary (2014): $83,410

7. Web developer

Daily duties:

  • Write, design or edit web page content, or direct others producing content
  • Identify and correct problems uncovered by testing or user feedback
  • Back up website files for immediate recovery in case of problems

Available jobs (7/2014 – 6/2015): 19,993

Projected growth (2012-2022): 15 – 21 percent

Median annual salary (2014): $63,490

8. Computer programmer

Daily duties:

  • Create and test the code that allows computers to run properly
  • Analyze user needs and develop software solutions
  • Write computer programs to store, locate or retrieve data

Available jobs (7/2014 – 6/2015): 19,229

Projected growth (2012-2022): 8 – 14 percent

Median annual salary (2014): $77,550

9. Software systems developer

Daily duties:

  • Design, develop and test various software for a variety of industries
  • Alter existing software to correct errors or improve performance
  • Analyze data to identify, recommend and plan new system installations or modifications

Available jobs (7/2014 – 6/2015): 17,356

Projected growth (2012-2022): 15 – 21 percent

Median annual salary (2014): $102,880

10. Software quality assurance (QA) tester

Daily duties:

  • Develop test plans to identify software errors
  • Create and maintain a database to track software defects
  • Review software documentation to confirm accuracy and mitigate risks

Available jobs (7/2014 – 6/2015): 16,179

Projected growth (2012-2022): 3 – 7 percent

Median annual salary (2014): $83,410

The bottom line…

It should be clear now that earning a computer science degree isn’t a dead-end decision. In fact, doing so will open up a variety of doors in the exciting world of technology. The good news is that this should validate your decision to earn a degree in computer science. The bad news is that you may just end up with too many great career options to choose from.

Now you know what you can do with a computer science degree – all that’s missing is the actual degree! Check out this article to learn why our program stands out amongst the rest: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Rasmussen College Computer Science Program.


*Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 561,194 computer science jobs, Jul. 01, 2014 – Jun. 30, 2015)

**Job duties, outlook and median annual salaries were taken from the U.S. Department of Labor. Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This article was originally published in November 2013. It has since been updated to reflect information relevant to 2015. 

External links provided on Rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Callie is a Content Marketing Specialist who writes helpful and encouraging career-focused content on behalf of Rasmussen College. 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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