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Career Information for a Degree in Computer Science

Computer science is a broad field of study that encompasses hardware and software design. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Those who major in computer science have the option of entering fields such as software development, computer programming, database administration, or network/computer systems administration. Job growth and salaries vary, depending on the career chosen.

Essential Information

A degree in computer science or a closely related field can help individuals prepare for a variety of careers working with computers. Earning a bachelor's degree is sufficient preparation for numerous job options. Voluntary certification is available for computer science graduates.

Career Titles Software Developers Computer Programmers Database Administrators Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Education Requirements A bachelor's degree in computer science A bachelor's degree in computer science A bachelor's degree in management information systems or computer science A bachelor's degree in computer or information science
Certification Voluntary Voluntary Voluntary Voluntary
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 17% -8% 11% 8%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $98,260 $79,530 $81,710 $77,810

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Graduates of computer science programs pursue employment in a variety of areas. They might qualify for positions such as software developers, computer systems analysts, software engineers, computer programmers or computer network and database administrators, among other careers.

Software Developers

Software developers test, design and create the software that makes it possible to perform several tasks on a computer. They conduct maintenance and create charts that assist computer programmers in writing code. The BLS indicated that computer software developers should see opportunities increase by 17% from 2014-2024. Median salaries in 2015 were $98,260.

Computer Programmers

These specialists use computer languages to write programs. They plan software and develop computer models, as well as testing and debugging computer programs. During the 2014-2024 decade, computer programmers are projected to see 8% employment decline. Their median salaries were $79,530 as of May 2015.

Database Administrators

Database administrators are responsible for ensuring that computer data is properly stored and that it is secure from unauthorized access. To safeguard against loss, they backup and restore computer data. The employment of database administrators is predicted to rise by 11% from 2014-2024. Median salaries for these specialists were $81,710 as of 2015.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

These workers install and provide ongoing support for the network and computer systems of organizations. They maintain system security and evaluate computer system performance. The BLS predicted 8% growth in employment from 2014-2024. Median salaries were $77,810 in May of 2015.

Educational Requirements

Educational requirements for careers in the computer sciences vary by specialty and career choices, though a bachelor's degree is typical. Computer science programs are offered as associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs, preparing students for a wide range of jobs and responsibilities. In addition to courses, participants may participate in independent study, seminars and internships. Students pursuing a computer science major may study course topics such as computer programming, information systems, database management, web design, local area networks, network security, and software development. Hardware and cyber security are also frequently covered.

Certifications

Many graduates obtain certification as means to enhance their employment opportunities. Computer software and hardware vendors often offer certification and training when their products are being used. Microsoft and Cisco both offer certifications. Some programs also include certification as part of the training.

One has a number of career paths with a bachelor's degree in computer science, including in software development, computer programming, database administration, or network/computer systems administration. Professional certification, offered by various hardware and software companies, can increase employment options. Job growth prospects for programmers are projected to decline, but the outlook for other careers is good for the foreseeable future.

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