What Can You Do with a Computer Science Degree? (2023)

What Can You Do with a Computer Science Degree? (1)

Computer science combines the principles of engineering, mathematics and science to study and develop computers, networks, hardware, software, databases and much more. Because of that, there is a wide range of potential careers within the field, from software engineering to computer programming or system analysis.

With a bachelor's degreein computer science, you can embark on a field of study – and career – with dozens of potential job roles suited to your interests. You can also use the knowledge you develop to apply the concepts and theories that are the foundation of computer science to work in a variety of industries, including technology, business, manufacturing and more.

With a degree in computer science, one of many technology programs, you can enter into a career path with dozens of potential job roles suited to your interests. You can also use the knowledge you develop in classes to apply foundational concepts and theories to work in a variety of industries, including technology, business, manufacturing and more.

What Kind of Jobs Can You Get with a Computer Science Degree?

In addition to working across broad industries, computer scientists can specialize in a number of areas within computer and information technology. For example, you could design and build communication networks as a computer network engineer. As a computer systems analyst, you might analyze an organization’s computer network and find ways to make it more efficient and productive.

Because computer science is such a comprehensive field of study, you can determine which of many paths within the discipline you're best suited for—and most interested in.

Computer and Information Scientists

Computer and information research scientists study problems that organizations in medicine, business and other sectors confront regarding computing. They use data science, robotics and computer programming principles to create or improve computer systems, software and algorithms and sometimes work with electrical and computer hardware engineers on complex projects.

Other typical duties, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), include:

  • Creating and enhancing software that forms the basis of users’ experience
  • Identifying and helping to solve foundational problems in computing
  • Inventing new technology and computing languages and tools to improve computing systems
  • Publishing findings in academic journals and conferences

Most computer research and information scientists work for the federal government, a computer systems design service or a research and development organization. They earned a median income of $131,490 in 2021, and a master’s degreeis usually a requirement for the position, according to BLS.

Computer Programmers

What Can You Do with a Computer Science Degree? (2)Computer programmers specialize in different programming languages to manipulate program designs by engineers and developers into instructions the computer can better understand. “Computer programmers write the code that allows software programs to run. The programmer's job entails refining the ideas and solving the problems while converting the program into code,” said Dr. Albanie Bolton, an adjunct in computer science and information technology programsat Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).

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Computer programmers work hand in hand with software developers and engineers, and some of their job functions can overlap. Other duties computer programmers doinclude:

  • Writing computer programs with fluency in multiple programming languages
  • Testing programs for errors and fixing computer code to fix those errors
  • Updating and maintaining existing software programs and applications

Computer programmers earned a median salary of $93,000 in 2021, BLS reported. If you want to become a computer programmer, know that most have a bachelor's degree, and many certifications are available in specific programming languages and products. Some companies require their programmers to become certified in the company's programs.

What Can You Do with a Computer Science Degree? (3)

You might consider taking introductory courses in a computer programming certificateto gain some foundations in programming. If you earn it online at SNHU, for example, you may be able to transfer all of the creditsyou earned in the certificate program toward a related associate or bachelor's degree program.

To advance within a company, you may need to develop business experience and become a computer systems analyst or software developer, according to BLS.

Computer Systems Analysts

What Can You Do with a Computer Science Degree? (4)

Computer systems analysts—or systems architects—study a business or organization’s computer systems, networks and protocols and find ways to make them work more efficiently. “The computer systems analyst is also generally responsible for identifying and solving problems with applications, operating systems and integration of items with the overall enterprise computing environment,” said Dr. Francis Manning, an information technology and computer science adjunct at SNHU.

Computer systems analysts also:

  • Combine technical and business knowledge to find ways to serve both goals
  • Find ways to increase computer system capabilities and conduct cost/benefit analysis to help management evaluate investment in IT
  • Manage installation of new system configurations and perform quality control testing
  • Research new technology and evaluate its potential benefit

Many computer systems analysts have a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science, but those aren't your only options. Since you have to evaluate IT needs in the context of business goals properly, you might also consider business courses or choose a business major with a computer science concentration, according to BLS.

Computer systems analysts made a median salary of $99,270 in 2021, and the field is expected to grow by 9% through 2031, according to BLS.

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts are charged with protecting a person or organization’s computer networks and data by monitoring those networks for cyber attacks and intrusions. Security analysts are often intimately involved in planning for a possible security breach and data recovery plan so companies can continue to operate if they are hacked.

Other duties include:

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  • Developing, recommending and updating an organization’s computer security protocols
  • Documenting hacking attempts and security breaches
  • Identifying and deploying software and firewall programs to protect against cyber attacks
  • Performing “penetration testing” by simulating attacks and highlighting weak points in a computer network

Most information security analysts have at least a bachelor’s in a computer-related field, such as a computer science or cyber security degree, and many companies look for candidates with previous experience in a related field.

There are also many licensure opportunities for information security analysts, according to BLS, including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional designation.

Security analysts made a median salary of $102,600 in 2021, and the field is growing quickly. BLS estimates security analyst positions will grow 35% through 2031. As advancements in technology continue to accelerate, the field of information security is of increasing importance.

Software Developers

Software developers supply the creative inspiration behind the millions of software programs and applications. “Software developers can or may create customized software for a specific customer or commercial software to be sold to the public," said Bolton. “They are in charge of outlining and creating the code and design for a program.”

Software developers can learn a range of programming languages, including Python, Java, JavaScript and C#, while completing their computer science degree. "A sufficient balance of hard and soft skillsis an important element to have as a software developer,” said Bolton.

There are two main types of software developers, according to BLS:

What Can You Do with a Computer Science Degree? (5)

Other typical core duties for software developers include:

  • Analyzing user needs and developing, testing and creating applications and programs to meet those requirements
  • Executing software maintenance and testing protocol to ensure software continues to operate optimally
  • Identifying and recommending new software or software updates to meet clients' needs
  • Working with other specialists to develop software

Most software developers have a bachelor's degree and strong computer skills. In 2021, they earned a median income of $109,020, and the field is growing quickly. It is estimated to increase by 25% through 2031, according to BLS.

You might also consider becoming a software engineer, a type of software developer. Some computer science programs offer you the chance to focus on this role with a software engineering degree concentration.

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Web Developers

Web development is a subset of computer programming. A web developer's roleis to mainly focus on the creation of the website. In addition, they work on the everyday use of the website, ensuring it is both visually appealing and easy to navigate for the user.

While some web developers work on all aspects of a website, others have specialties, according to BLS:

  • Front-End Developers create the look and feel of a website, including layout, integrating applications and other content.
  • Back-End Developers work on the behind-the-scenes structure of websites that most users never see. They ensure the technical aspects of the programs that allow the site to function are working correctly.
  • Webmasters update and maintain existing websites and run testing protocols to find broken links and other aspects of a site that can malfunction.

Other duties typical for web developers include:

  • Working with internal and external clients to determine the look and functionality of a website
  • Collaborating with writers, designers and other creative professionals to determine a site's layout and content
  • Integrating multimedia assets into a website

Web developers need a good understanding of HTML programming, and some employers prefer developers with knowledge of multiple programming languages. A college degree isn't always a requirement, but some employers look for developers with a bachelor's degree in computer science or programming. You might also consider earning a web developer certificatefocused on full stack web development.

Web developers earned a median salary of $78,300 in 2021, and the position is expected to grow by 23% through 2031, according to BLS.

What Do Computer Science Majors Do?

Most jobs in computer science require a degree in a computer-related subject—and, to earn one, you need to enroll in an accredited college or universitythat offers the degree you're interested in.

A bachelor's degree in computer science will teach you the theory, development, application and design of computer science as well as a number of programming languages and an array of other vital skills.

A computer science program can include:

  • Ability to analyze problems and define computing requirements for a solution
  • Ability to function as part of an interdisciplinary team
  • Ability to use design and development principles to build software programs
  • Understanding ethical, professional and legal issues related to the computing field

“The purpose of the computer science degree path is to provide the student with a significant amount of background information to understand why things work in a particular way,” said Manning. “If you want to be able to contribute to the overall body of knowledge for computer science, understanding 'why' things work is absolutely essential.”

(Video) 10 jobs you can get with a computer science degree

What is the Best Degree for Computer Science?

You can find computer science degrees and related programs at all educational levels; however, the best option depends on you and your individual goals within the computer science field.

Your undergraduate programs include an associate degree in computer scienceor a bachelor's degree in computer science. Some employers may offer entry-level positions to candidates with just an associate degree, while others will require or prefer a bachelor's level education.

To advance in the field, you may discover you need to return to school for a graduate degree such as:

  • Master's in computer science
  • Master's in cyber security
  • Master's in information technology

You can also choose to add a concentration if you want to specialize further. A master's degree can provide you with a broader range of courses and subjects within the field to dive deeper into and prepare you for advancement and leadership in your career.

“This credential is often seen as a mechanism of providing proof that your skills in the discipline are at a level that the employer deems necessary to succeed in a defined role,” said Manning.

It's also possible to earn a doctoral degree in the field, especially if you're interested in taking your career into academia or on a private venture.

With a huge demand for computer science skills and a wide range of job roles, the time is ripe for you to decide, "is computer science right for me?" If you're interested in combining your knowledge of computers, mathematics and networking, the answer might be yes.

Discover more about SNHU’s bachelor's degree in computer science: Find out what courses you'll take, skills you’ll learn and how to request information about the program.

Joe Cote is a staff writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Follow him on Twitter @JoeCo2323.

FAQs

Is computer science a good degree? ›

Is computer science a good major? With a median pay of $91,250 and job growth of 11% in the computer and IT field , yes, computer science is a good major. The pay is competitive, and job growth for the industry is faster than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Is computer science a stable career? ›

Computer scientists tend to have good job stability. Computer systems are a part of nearly every industry, which means businesses require team members with computer science backgrounds to manage them. As computers are likely to become even more present in businesses, technical positions may be recession-proof.

Is computer science hard? ›

The short answer is “yes.” Search any list of majors to study, and you'll likely find that computer science tops the list as one of the most challenging disciplines to learn. Compared to other fields of study, pursuing a career in computer science requires both technical and analytical skill sets.

What are the cons of computer science? ›

13 cons of being a computer scientist
  • Analysis. Technology occupations involving computer science require analytical skills to detect potential issues and develop solutions for them. ...
  • Commitment. ...
  • Cost. ...
  • Creativity. ...
  • Developments. ...
  • Education. ...
  • Health. ...
  • Inactivity.
14 Apr 2022

Does a CS degree guarantee a job? ›

What If I Already Have a CS Degree? All of the above aside, a computer science degree isn't likely to hurt your chances at an amazing tech career. The thing to remember is that a computer science degree on its own does not guarantee that you'll land your dream job or have a successful career.

Is it better to major in it or computer science? ›

Which is better Computer Science or IT? There is no such thing as “better” because they lead to different careers and have different specialisations or subfields. Either discipline is a great choice for your studies, as long as you're passionate about technology, and you understand what each study option implies.

Is it hard to land a computer science job? ›

The fact is that while computer science grads get to enjoy a low unemployment rate compared to many other fields of study, it's still difficult to get a job after graduation. Therefore, don't waste the four years that you're in university simply studying to get your degree.

How many people drop out of computer science? ›

Computer Science Tops the Dropout Charts

A recent survey from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), revealed that among universities, Computer Science has the highest dropout rate – 9.8%.

How stressful is computer science? ›

CS job is not stressful, but, I can understand your inquisitiveness about this. It is a very common misconception that CS/IT jobs are stressful. Well, it is not about the industry you are working in. I have seen IT people completely relaxed and satisfied and professionals from other industries under a lot of stress.

Is computer science a lot of math? ›

Computer science is a broad field, so if you're looking to get your computer science degree, the kind of math you'll need to know will depend on your specific program and career path. But generally speaking, most degree programs require a basic understanding of calculus, algebra, discrete mathematics, and statistics.

Can I survive in computer science? ›

Remember: even as a Computer Science student, you still have a life. If you study for a Computer Science degree, it may seem pretty daunting as you'll need to learn more, study more, and do more. But don't forget to live your life.

Which is harder IT or computer science? ›

Which Is More Difficult Computer Science or Information Technology? A degree in computer science is required for more advanced positions in the information technology field. It is typically harder to get a job in computer science.

Which degree is best in computer science? ›

When wondering what degree to get for an IT job, you should definitely consider these seven popular computer degrees:
  • Information Technology and Information Systems.
  • Computer Science.
  • Information Science.
  • Systems & Network Administration.
  • Software Engineering.
  • Computer Engineering.
  • Cybersecurity.
15 Feb 2013

How do I know if computer science is for me? ›

6 Signs That an Applied Computer Science Degree Is Right for You
  • You love solving puzzles. ...
  • You studied the humanities or have a two-year technical degree. ...
  • Your Myers-Briggs personality is an “analyst” type. ...
  • You're highly organized and detail oriented. ...
  • You are musically talented or have some other “master hobby.”
11 Aug 2017

Is computer science a safe career? ›

From software development to cybersecurity, the computer science field is full of exciting, diverse, and high-growth careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer science jobs are projected to increase by 13% from 2020 to 2030.

Why is it so hard to find a computer science job? ›

The biggest reason for companies not considering CS graduates to fill job openings is due to their lack of real-time practical experience. IT employers take 50% longer to hire a candidate than other recruiters as they want highly-qualified developers with exceptional coding skills.

Is CS high paying? ›

With an average salary of ₹ 23,46,700 per annum, software engineers are among the highest-paid jobs for candidates with a computer science degree. Software engineers are largely responsible for maintaining and monitoring the technical aspects of the company.

Which is better CS or IT engineering? ›

Both degrees are also exciting, especially if you choose the one that appeals to you more. If you are more into software than hardware, then computer science may serve you well. On the other hand, if hardware interests you more than software does, then computer engineering may prove to be the better choice.

Which IT degree should I get? ›

For more technical job roles, a degree in engineering, computer science, or information science is preferred, but for less technical roles such as those at a help desk, some post secondary education (with no specific major) is important combined with a knowledge of computers as well as customer support skills.

Is computer science in demand? ›

The growth in the number and specialty of computer scientists has created a vast network of opportunities in the field. In fact, computer science is one of the most in-demand jobs of any occupation.

Is a career in computer science worth it? ›

Yes, a computer science degree is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 11% job growth in computer and information technology occupations over the next 10 years.

Is computer science a good career for the future? ›

The number of computer science jobs is projected to grow 13% between 2020 and 2030 — much faster than the average for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of computer science jobs is projected to grow 13% between 2020 and 2030, making it one of the more viable fields.

Is computer science still in demand 2022? ›

The time has arguably never been better to pursue a career in computer science. There is a high demand for those working in the sector, which is likely to increase. Moreover, there is a need for computer scientists in various industries — many of which compensate these professionals well.

Is computer science a low stress job? ›

It makes you question, “Is being a computer engineer stressful?”. Surprisingly, it is low-stress. While deadlines, clients' complicated requirements, and software's difficulty might sometimes be frustrating, the work is often enjoyable.

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