What Can You Do With a Computer Science Degree?
If you enjoy working with computers, a computer science degree can be a great choice for you. Before beginning your coursework, you should take some time to determine what your career goals are. If you’re interested more in computer forensics, for example, you could consider taking criminal justice classes along with your computer science courses. Or if you enjoy tinkering with computer programs, you may decide to become a software engineer. Wherever your interests lie, there are computer science careers that will help you reach your professional goals.
A bachelor’s degree in computer science generally requires about 120 credits. You’ll take courses that cover topics such as web design, systems analysis, algorithms and data structures, and mobile applications development, just to name a few.
While you earn a degree in computer science, you can choose a concentration in subjects such as business, computer forensics or web design. These concentrations will enhance the value of your degree and will provide you with the computer information science skills that meet your career goals.
A computer scientist doesn’t just work for an IT company; in fact, computer science career paths reach all industries, including manufacturing, finance, and health care. You may be asking yourself, What does a computer scientist do? Computer scientists in all industries rely on computational thinking to solve an array of problems, and then develop step-by-step instructions for solving similar problems. This process for problem-solving can be applied to any industry, and there’s a need for computer scientists in almost any field of work.
Computer scientists study information and then decide on the best way to represent, store, process, and relay that information to key stakeholders. They think about problems logically and can apply what they learn in a computer science classroom across all disciplines.
There is also a growing need for applied data scientists across all industries. These employees are uniquely qualified to extract “actionable knowledge” from data and analytics, which allows managers to quickly make decisions based on trends. Data scientists can also create visuals that make the data easy to interpret.
Computer science jobs are in demand; in general, employment in computer and information technology occupations is expected to grow 13 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Within the field of computer science, there are a number of occupations you can choose, and the salaries of those occupations can depend on the industry and city in which you work. Below are some computer science career paths and their median annual salaries.
- Computer Systems Analyst Average Salary: $87,220
Computer systems analysts help organizations become more efficient with the design and implementation of information systems solutions.
- Multimedia Artist and Animator Average Salary: $65,300
Multimedia artists and animators create visual effects and animations for television, movies and video games.
- Information Systems Manager Average Salary: $135,800
Also called IT managers, the employees plan, coordinate and direct all of the computer-related activities within an organization.
- Software Developer Average Salary: $102,280
Software developers create computer programs, develop applications that allow users to perform tasks on a computer, and develop the systems that control networks.
- Network and Computer Systems Administrator Average Salary: $79,700
Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the daily operations of the computer systems that allow businesses to operate.
- Computer Programmer Average Salary: $79,840
Computer programmers write the code that allows computer applications and software to function.
- Web Developer Average Salary: $66,130
Web developers create and design websites. In addition to the technical aspects, the developer is in charge of the site's look and content.
Some employees in the computer science industry go on to earn a certification(or two) along with their degree. For example, some students earn Cisco or Microsoft certification to enhance their computer science salary. Some common certifications include:
Cisco CCNA/P/IE Security– With this certification, you’ll demonstrate the ability to develop a security infrastructure, recognize threats and vulnerabilities, and mitigate security threats. Security is a growing concern across industries, making security professionals in demand in their field.
Cisco CCNA/P/IE Data Center– This certification demonstrates the ability to install, configure and maintain data center technology. As you progress in your career, you can earn higher levels of certification, adding more complexity and greater understanding of Cisco networks.
Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012– This is the most popular certification that Microsoft offers for system engineers, and qualifies you for a position as a computer systems administrator or network specialist. This is your first step to becoming a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert.
Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)– This certification demonstrates your knowledge of fundamental technology concepts, and provides the foundation knowledge necessary for further certifications. It’s a great starting point for IT professionals who are newer to the field.
This field is so vast, so finding the computer science career path that’s right for you is just a matter of uncovering your interests. You can begin that process in a program like Gwynedd Mercy University’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science. You’ll have the option of adding a concentration in an area such as business, computer forensics or web design and multimedia to enhance your skills for computer science jobs.