Are you struggling to pick a path in computer science? Find out which one suits you. Ask 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—usually, it’s something like imagining themselves as a hacker—you’ll soon 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, most computer-related jobs are some of the highest-paying jobs.
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 like information technology or software engineering is quite heavy on the math, mechanical, and electrical sciences (with some unrelated general education requirements courses peppered in).
Many people think computer science is just a bunch of technical jargon and logical problem-solving, but 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 really depends on the person, but maybe this list of some of the top computer science jobs can help you narrow down your options.
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 while working 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 previously written code made for the purpose of ease and speed in creating future 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. Systems analysts 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. A lot of research and attention-to-detail goes into this occupation.
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 responsibilities of a health IT specialist include managing databases of patient history and information, keeping such information secure, and managing electronic medical record systems (like EMRs, EHRs, or PHRs). Many specialists might also 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 facets 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. The 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. The place you work doesn’t even have to relate to computer science at all. Computers are pretty much used everywhere, and most businesses also 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.
The fortunate thing about the computer science field is that opportunities are endless. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that computer science jobs will have job growth of 16% between 2018 and 2028. So no matter what path you decide to trek upon, you have a lot of options in companies, organizations, and clients who are in need of any of these computer science services.
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