What Can You Do With a Computer Science Degree? Exploring Your Options
If you’re thinking about majoring in computer science, you probably have a few questions about your future options after graduation. What is a typical computer science-related role’s job description? What can I do with a Computer Science degree? Are computer science-related jobs in demand?
You’ve come to the right place as you explore your educational options—we’ve got answers to all of those questions and more. Keep reading to take a closer look at the jobs you can get with a Computer Science degree. You’ll gain a better understanding of the job duties, projected employment growth and earning potential of each.
What to expect from a Computer Science degree program
Studying this technology field will provide you with fundamental knowledge of key computer science skills that are central to virtually every industry, from programming languages and software engineering to algorithm and data analysis. The courses and hands-on training in these programs can equip you to make an immediate impact in whichever position you pursue after graduation.
Common Computer Science degree courses focus on:
- Big Data
- Software Engineering
- Web Analytics
- Database Systems
- Advanced Java ® Programming
- Algorithm and Data Structure Analysis
- Cloud Computing Technologies
Common computer science skills students can gain:
- E-commerce development
- Data management
- Software design and development
- Quality assurance in software engineering
Computer science majors have the ability to apply their skills to practically any industry—nearly every organization would benefit from automating processes and creating helpful software applications. But you may be wondering: What jobs are most commonly seeking Computer Science graduates? What would I be doing in these roles? What should I expect from a computer science salary?
We combined expert insight with data from real-time job analysis software and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to provide a detailed breakdown of common jobs you can get with a Computer Science degree.
6 Common Computer Science Bachelor’s degree jobs
As you can see from the information above, the practical knowledge and hands-on training incorporated in these programs can prepare you for a broad range of technology careers. So, what can you do with a computer science degree?
Our analysis of more than one million job postings seeking candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science helped us identified six of the most common options.1
1. Software developer
- Projected employment growth 2020–2030 (BLS): 22 percent.2
- 2020 Median annual salary: $110,1402
- Common job titles: Software development engineer, Java developer, applications developer
What do software applications developers do?
Think of how often you send an email, scroll endlessly on social media or stream media on your phone or computer. Practically everything we do with the help of computers is powered by software. Software developers are the people responsible for creating, testing and modifying these programs. Everything—from the front-and-center user interface to the unseen underlying code that ensures it performs as planned—is affected by software development professionals.
In their day-to-day work, most software developers work as part of a development team whose work is segmented and guided by project managers. Their product must meet desired specifications and ultimately interface well with other segments of code—which is no small feat. Some software developers may specialize in areas such as quality assurance, where duties focus on testing software for issues, documenting them and assisting in resolving whatever’s gone wrong.
2. Information security analyst
- Projected employment growth 2020–2030 (BLS): 33 percent.2
- 2020 Median annual salary (2020): $103,5902
- Common job titles: Cyber security analyst, information systems security officer, IT security specialist
What do information security analysts do?
Information security professionals have the vital responsibility of keeping their organization’s network and information safe and minimizing damage in the event of a security breach. This involves reviewing, implementing, updating and documenting information security policies and procedures.
Information security analysts install firewall and encryption tools, report breaches or vulnerabilities, research IT trends and educate other personnel on security best practices. They’re also tasked with creating contingency plans that organizations will implement in case of a successful cyberattack.
3. Web developer
- Projected employment growth 2020–2030 (BLS): 13 percent.2
- 2020 Median annual salary: $77,2002
- Common job titles:Front-end developer, back-end developer, web designer, web development architect
What do web developers do?
As you can probably guess, web developers are the tech professionals who build, maintain and design websites. Web development is a subcategory of careers that can cover a fairly broad range of roles. Some web developers focus primarily on “front-end” features like the design, layout and other surface-level functional elements of a website. Others focus on the “back-end” systems that ensure the site works as intended and communicates properly with other systems connect to the site—for example, inventory databases and customer relationship management systems for online retailers.
These roles focused on the “back-end” of a website are likely the best fit for computer science graduates. Their knowledge of database structures, programming logic and mapping information flows can help bridge the gap between desired website functionality and the systems an organization uses.
4. Computer systems analyst
- Projected employment growth 2020-2030 (BLS): 7 percent.2
- 2020 Median annual salary: $93,7302
- Common job titles:Business analyst, business systems analyst, IT analyst, information systems analyst
What do computer systems analysts do?
Computer systems analysts roles are so versatile that there are many ways to answer this question. Generally speaking, they’re the individuals responsible for merging business needs with IT initiatives. They use their expertise to analyze, improve and plan IT systems in order to meet the specifications needed for a business process.
So, what does that look like? They spend a considerable amount of time meeting with the “business side” of an organization gathering information about organizational needs: How will this system be used? Will this need to work at a larger scale in the future? Will this need to connect with other systems? Once the specifications are determined, computer systems analysts work with the technical teams to develop plans for how they’ll deploy technology to meet those needs.
5. IT project manager
- Projected employment growth 2019-2029 (BLS): 5-7 percent.3
- 2020 Median annual salary: $92,8703
- Common job titles:Information systems project manager, IT program manager, Cyber security program manager
What do IT project managers do?
IT project managers are the people who work behind the scenes to bring complicated technology initiatives to life. They oversee a team of technical specialists, creating seamless workflows and processes to achieve the successful completion of a company’s IT projects.
Their organization skills and keen attention to detail help ensure these projects are completed on time and on budget. Individuals in this role must have a fundamental knowledge of the technical aspects of these operations, while also having the business acumen to keep organizational stakeholders informed on progress.
6. Database administrator
- Projected employment growth 2020-2030 (BLS): 8 percent.2
- 2020 Median annual salary: $98,8602
- Common job titles: Database analyst, database developer, system administrator
What does a database administrator do?
Every online purchase, restaurant review left, doctor’s appointment scheduled—the list goes on—depends on databases that are well-structured, secure and regularly maintained. That’s where a database administrator comes in. They’re responsible for determining how to securely store and efficiently organize the important information in an organization’s database and ensuring access is granted to the right users.
They may also merge existing databases or migrate data to new platforms, which takes careful planning to ensure compatibility and functionality remain for connected systems. Database administrators are also tasked with regularly creating database backups in order minimize damage caused by storage failure.
Qualify yourself for these computer science careers
So, what can you do with a computer science degree? It turns out there’s a whole lot. With all these jobs and occupations commonly seeking candidates with a computer science degree, you should feel more confident about your decision to follow this educational path.
Regardless of which of these computer science job descriptions interests you most, you’ll need the proper training in order to pursue it. Learn more about how a Computer Science degree from Rasmussen University can open the doors to several fascinating careers.
1Burning-Glass (analysis of 1,067,598 job postings requiring a Computer Science bachelor’s degree, Sep. 01, 2020 – Aug. 31, 2021)
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed September 2021] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
3Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [accessed September 2021] https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1299.09. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2013. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2021.