What Can You Do With A Computer Science Degree?

Usmaan Farooqui

Written By: Usmaan Farooqui

Published: 5/3/2022

If you want to know why college graduates with strong computing skills are in high demand, just take a look at how much employers have come to rely on big data. With the consumption of online information jumping by 5,000% between 2010 and 2020, many organizations are seeing an exponential increase in potential business opportunities, along with new informational needs and cybersecurity threats. Employers, including those in business, government, nonprofits, and the fast-paced start-up world, therefore need professionals who can carry out essential tasks like developing software and ensuring online security.


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Computer Science Careers

A computer science degree can lead to numerous career paths that span a wide range of roles, industries, and sectors. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 13% increase in the number of computing and information technology jobs through 2030 — which is faster than the national average for all occupations. Additionally, with a set of in-demand skills, computer science graduates can also command high salaries. This article provides information about the various career paths open to computer science graduates, so you can decide whether this degree is right for you.

Computer and Information Research Scientists

Median Annual Salary: $131,490

Job Outlook: 22%

Computer science is constantly evolving, and computer and information research scientists are often at the forefront of new innovations in the field. Their job typically involves using technology to meet an organization's needs. This can range from determining computing needs and improving hardware, to experimenting with new algorithms, programming languages, and software applications. These professionals work in a range of settings and are usually part of a larger team of engineers, managers, and support specialists.

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Typical Qualifications: Master's Degree

Data Scientist

Median Annual Salary: $100,910

Job Outlook: 15% or higher

It takes mathematical knowledge and special training to be able to turn raw data into digestible snippets of information. Data scientists use sophisticated software to help organizations make sense of otherwise disparate facts and figures. To do so, they apply machine learning and programming techniques to interpret information, author detailed reports, and present their findings to employers and clients. In many cases, these professionals are also responsible for collecting data from multiple sources, such as large datasets. Depending on where they're employed, data scientists can apply their skills to meet research, marketing, or informational goals.

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Typical Qualifications: Bachelor's Degree

Software Engineer

Median Annual Salary: $110,140

Job Outlook: 22%

Software engineers, also known as software developers, primarily develop computer applications that fulfill specific functions in various electronic products. They are often responsible for the entire engineering process — from identifying user needs, to designing and building an application that meets those needs. Software engineers may also monitor computer programs to ensure they run smoothly. This can require them to conduct regular maintenance, identify bugs and publish updates, and document progress via reports or user manuals.

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Typical Qualifications: Bachelor's Degree

UX and UI designer

Median Annual Salary: $79,890

Job Outlook: 10-15%

UX designers, also known as web and digital interface designers, are responsible for ensuring that users can interact smoothly with a website. These professionals therefore develop the layout, look, and feel of websites, and their day-to-day tasks may entail designing pages, menus, and buttons and other interfaces for both mobile and web browsers. UX designers may also collect user feedback and other forms of data to enhance the marketability and useability of the websites they construct.

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Typical Qualifications: Bachelor's Degree

Web Developer

Median Annual Salary: $77,200

Job Outlook: 13%

An informative, well-functioning, and easily navigable website is crucial for any organization aiming to reach a wide audience. To ensure their brand and vision is accurately reflected online, businesses and other organizations often hire web developers to design, construct, and maintain their web domains. These professionals carry out a range of tasks related to back -and front-end development such as coding, online publishing, and monitoring traffic. Their responsibilities may also include regularly interacting with clients and managers to establish goals and expectations for a particular project.

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Typical Qualifications: Bachelor's Degree

Skills Learned in a Computer Science Degree

A computer science degree may involve taking classes in AI, automation, and software development, to name a few areas. Depending on their degree concentration, students can expect to gain experience with coding and programming, as well as how to use different data management and cybersecurity tools. While it's no surprise that learning about these areas gives you the opportunity to train in various technical areas, a computer science education is also about honing a set of soft skills, which are just as important when it comes to landing a job. During the course of a computer science program, class presentations, group projects, and capstone modules can all expand your competencies in key areas including:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Project management

Related Careers for Computer Science Graduates

Given that it can help you develop a set of transferable and in-demand skills, a computer science degree can also lead to positions that don't require you to carry out day-to-day tasks confined to computing or information technology. Here are three non-computing jobs you may be suited for with a computer science degree.

Market Research Analyst

Median Annual Salary: $63,920

Job Outlook: 22%

Market research analysts help companies sell their products and services to targeted customers. They work with large amounts of data to determine market trends, identify unique price points, and forecast future demand. Market research analysts typically need to use statistical software and other mathematical techniques, so a computer science degree — particularly one that includes coursework on data management — can help equip you with the necessary knowledge to qualify for these positions.

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Typical Qualifications: Bachelor's Degree

Product Manager

Median Annual Salary: $135,030

Job Outlook: 10-15%

Product managers help develop and execute an organization's marketing goals. They are usually part of a team, and often have a strong understanding of their industry as well as the product or service their organization offers. Given this, computer science graduates who have a good grasp of technology may be well-positioned to find jobs managing products in companies that focus on developing software or offering various online services.

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Typical Qualifications: Bachelor's Degree

Technical Writer

Median Annual Salary: $78,060

Job Outlook: 12%

Technical writers develop manuals, guides, articles, and other materials that present complex information in easily understandable written form. Their work can involve researching a product or service's specifications, responding to feedback, and following up on user reviews. As these professionals often collaborate with computer hardware engineers and IT specialists, a computer science degree can give them a solid grounding in complex concepts they need to communicate effectively.

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Typical Qualifications: Bachelor's Degree

Should I Get a Computer Science Degree?

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to pursue a computer science degree. One of the first things you should research is whether a particular program is affordable. While this certainly involves getting a clearer picture of tuition fees and associated costs, it may also mean looking at scholarships and the potential return on investment for a particular program based on future salary prospects. In general, the long-term pay-off for a computer science degree is favorable from a career and earnings standpoint. This is because computing and network technology will continue evolving with processes like automation and artificial learning, and different organizations will likely need skilled professionals in these areas now and in the future.

The Bottom Line

It's important to note that pursuing a computer science education just to land a high paying job may not be the right choice if you are concerned about learning mathematical concepts or don't have a genuine interest in technology. Furthermore, advancing in this quickly changing field will typically require that you invest in continuing education and certification programs — both of which take time and financial resources to complete. But if you value constant learning, a challenging professional environment, and the chance to advance in a field of widespread relevance, a computer science degree can set you up for a fulfilling and rewarding future career.

Want to learn more about similar degrees, explore our cybersecurity and information technology degree guides.

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