Careers in Computer Science: 5 Facts on this Flourishing Field You Can No Longer Ignore
Between your worries about paying bills and supporting your family, a go-nowhere career is the last thing you need. Instead of fretting over your job and what the future may hold, it may be better to spend some time researching additional career fields and areas you could branch out into.
If you are interested in technology, then you’ve likely given some thought to pursuing a degree in this field—and Computer Science remains one of the hottest potential focus areas. As you dig into this field and the careers associated with it, it’s only natural to have questions or concerns. After all, you want to know that committing to a degree in Computer Science will be the right choice for you.
So what makes a Computer Science degree worth pursuing? You may have heard that computer science-related careers are in-demand, but we have the facts to prove it. In this article, we’ll examine the industry and highlight a few facts that will help you decide whether this degree should be in your future plans.
The facts about computer science careers
Before you commit to a career in computer science, familiarize yourself with some of the facts about the field.
1. Computer science careers are expected to grow substantially in the upcoming years
While others may have to worry about their job security, those in computer science-related careers can rest relatively easy. As the world becomes increasingly digitized, companies from every industry need the proper technical infrastructure and software applications to support their businesses.
To help illustrate this, we used real-time job analysis software to look at all of the job postings requiring a Computer Science degree. In the past year, there were just over 800,000 job postings looking for candidates with this degree.1
Tech jobs aren’t simply growing—they’re skyrocketing. This cluster of careers is projected to grow by 13 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).2 That’s much faster than the average rate of growth for all occupations, which is seven percent. This translates into an additional 557,100 new tech jobs to be added through 2026—and that doesn’t account for the jobs that already exist. Unless things drastically change, the job market for Computer Science degree holders will be relatively strong.
2. Computer science-related career salaries are more than twice the national average
Everyone wants to love their job, but when it all comes down to it, a solid paycheck is what helps pay the bills and put food on the table—and a computer science-related career can definitely help.
Let’s take a look at two of the most common computer science-related occupations: software developers and computer programmers. The BLS reports that the 2017 median annual salary for software developers was $103,560, and $82,240 for computer programmers. That’s more than double the national average for all occupations, which was $37,690.2
It’s important to keep in mind that these wages reflect the median salary for employees of all experience levels and that salaries vary based on experience and location, so these figures likely do not reflect an entry-level salary. Generally speaking, salaries increase with experience, so you will likely earn a lower salary upon graduating, but your earning potential could reach new heights as you develop professionally.
3. Computer science jobs are in multiple industries
Going into a technology career doesn’t mean you have to work within the technology industry. Computer science jobs abound in all kinds of industries. Software is a tool that can be useful in nearly any field. This means a Computer Science degree can enable you to work in anything from logistics to forestry to finance—and any number of industries in between.
So if your first computer science job doesn’t live up to your expectations, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be stuck doing the same thing forever. You have the opportunity to work in a completely different industry without having to learn a new skill set or earn a new degree.
4. A Computer Science degree provides an excellent foundation for programmers
If you take a quick scan of job postings for programming and development careers and start making a list of all the programming languages and skills employers are seeking, you’re likely to get a hand cramp trying to write them all down. There’s an impressive and sometimes intimidating amount of programming languages out there to master—so how can someone possibly keep up with it all?
For one, programmers and developers tend to specialize and focus on mastering just a few languages. But here’s a little secret—all programming languages are based on the same foundation of translating human ideas into logic a computer can process. A Computer Science degree helps you understand those foundational concepts. Once you have the foundation down, the finer points of difference between each language becomes easier to grasp.
5. A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science is needed for the majority of these jobs
Now that you’re aware of the optimistic outlook for careers in computer science, you’re probably wondering what it takes to become qualified for these positions. The short answer is that you will most likely need a Bachelor’s degree.
Our analysis of software development and computer programming job postings show that just over 88 percent of employers are seeking candidates with a Bachelor’s degree.3 While it’s true some exceptionally talented and determined people have taught themselves enough to break into this field without a degree, it is definitely not common. Add that to the challenge of getting the attention of a potential employer and competition from other candidates with degrees, and it’s easy to see why many opt to pursue a formal education.
Is a computer science career in your future?
As you can see, there’s a lot to like about careers in computer science. Whether you’re intrigued by industry growth or motivated by exciting earning potential, these computer science facts should help you feel more confident in your decision to pursue a degree in this field.
Earning a Computer Science degree can open several doors for your future. You know the outlook is bright, but you may still be curious about what types of jobs are available to degree holders. Check out our article, “What Can You Do with a Computer Science Degree?” to learn more.
1Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 805,381 job postings requiring a Computer Science degree, June 13, 2017 – June 12, 2018)
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [information accessed June 12, 2018] www.bls.gov/ooh/. 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.
3Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 451,903 computer programming and software development job postings, June 13, 2017 – June 12, 2018)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in September 2016. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2018.