Are you struggling to pick a path in computer science? Fortunately for you, there are many computer science career options, and this article will help you find one that best suits you.
Begin by asking yourself what about computers gives you joy; be the Marie Kondo of computer science. What job do you most see yourself in? It takes some exploration because many students might enter computer science with a vague idea of what they want to do. Many young techies see their future selves as some sort of hacker. Soon, you’ll find that the possibilities are endless, and the types of careers under computer sciences may expand to reaches you’ve never imagined.
What is Computer Science?
Computer science is a broad umbrella under which any study related to computers, technology, and software reside. With the rapidly developing state of technology these days, it makes sense that computer science encompasses a myriad of things.
Generally, computer science students learn about the inner workings of computers, but also the internal software and applications. As one of the most in-demand fields today, computer science is widely popular and competitive. In fact, computer-related jobs have some of the highest salaries out there.
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The most common way of entering computer science is through a classic 4-year degree. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or other related specialties is heavy on the math, mechanical, and electrical sciences. In addition, expect to find other unrelated general education requirements courses peppered in.
Many people think computer science is just a bunch of technical jargon and logical problem-solving. However, students are surprised to find it requires a lot of creativity and analytical thinking.
Another misconception: that image of computer scientists sitting behind their (many) computer screens all day with little to no human interaction. In fact, coding, problem-solving, and working projects all require team-based effort.
With the various paths leading to a career in the computer science field, there are just as many possible destinations. If you are interested in studying computers or technology, you may be wondering: “Which computer science career is right for me?”
Choosing a computer science path depends on the person, but this list can help you narrow down your options.
Here are some of the top computer science careers:
- Software Engineer
- Web Developer
- Hardware Engineer
- Computer Programmer
- Database Administrator
- Systems Analyst
- Network Architect
- Health Information Tech Specialists
- Video Game Developer
Types of Computer Science Careers
A software engineer can design either applications or systems, two branches within the software engineering field. Software engineers help companies to research the best way to meet software needs. Then they go about designing, developing, and optimizing the plan to create that software. There are a lot of steps involved, as software engineers can do a lot of different tasks. They can also work anywhere from tech companies to corporate offices.
Becoming a hardware engineer requires more physical and mechanical work with computers. A hardware engineer develops various parts of the inner computer, like the processor, memory, and motherboard. They may also work on equipment in cars or medical devices. A lot of hardware engineering work is hands-on implementation. They work with a team of software developers, engineers, and clients to formulate the design into reality.
A computer programmer writes code to create software programs based on a design made by a software developer or engineer. In other words, computer programmers bring software ideas into life. Computer programming requires knowledge of programming languages and libraries (collections of code made to ease and speed up the creation of new code). Testing and improving upon existing program code is also a big part of computer programming.
A database administrator’s main task is managing databases for a company or organization. What exactly is a database? A database holds an organized set of data in a computer system. Organizations and companies use databases to compile a ton of information, allowing it to easily be accessed when needed. Database administrators are necessary to maintain database organization and to fix any issues that arise.
A systems analyst works in the information technology field and is responsible for organizing computer information systems. They analyze systems and recommend any tweaks to improve the systems or any updates that are needed. Professionals in this position may work in technology companies or manage systems in banks or other companies’ financial departments.
The responsibilities of a systems analyst entail consulting with and advising clients to help them utilize their computer systems efficiently. Must-have skills include research and attention-to-detail.
Much like a traditional architect, a network architect sketches out and devises a network that connects various computer systems. Networks are pretty important for sharing and distributing information. On the same note, network architects are valuable for maintaining that connection through developing the IP network hardware; including wide-area networks or local-area networks.
Employers expect network architects to meet them where they are in their network needs, as well as staying updated and dynamic in their designs. Becoming a network analyst usually requires more experience in network administration first.
Health Information Tech Specialists
A health information technology specialist bridges the gap between health and information technology. The duties of a health IT specialist include managing databases of patient history and information and keeping such information secure. These professionals also manage electronic medical record systems (like EMRs, EHRs, or PHRs). In addition, many specialists might automize provider order entries and compile disease registries. Hospitals are not the only places that hire Health IT specialists; laboratories and public health organizations do so as well.
Video Game Developer
Video game development can include a variety of devices like mobile games, video games, and computer games. It includes many duties like pre and post-game development as well as designing and developing the software for a game. A video game developer focuses on bringing conceptual designs to life through coding.
This role is team-based, allowing video game developers to work with other graphic artists, writers, and developers. Video game developers are always working on updating the game to come out with new versions, add more components, or fix bugs.
Where Computer Scientists Can Work
Almost every place you can think of needs at least some form of computer assistance. Tech companies are the main employers of computer science jobs, but not the only ones. You can also work at a consulting company, hospital, government building, or any other company.
Your workplace doesn’t even have to relate to computer science at all. Computers are pretty much used everywhere, and most businesses have an online platform where they may need a web developer at the very least.
The world is your oyster. Freelancing or remote work is also an option if you would like to take on contractual work with a variety of clients.
Fortunately, the computer science field is full of career opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the national growth of computer science jobs will be 16% between 2018 and 2028. Therefore, no matter what path you choose, you have a lot of options. The number of companies, organizations, and clients in need of these computer science services are endless.
Take your next steps towards a career in computer science on the Career Karma app!
If you commit 3-4 hours a day to learning to code, you could land an entry-level programming job in as little as 6-8 months.
There is no “right” way to learn to code! You can learn programming through self study, a traditional four-year degree, or through a coding bootcamp.
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