Top Computer Science
Careers of 2021

Computer science careers promote solving problems through computer technology. A career in computer science could help you find a job in ecommerce, finance, engineering, mathematics, music, or entertainment, among other fields. Computer science has practical applications in all of these industries and more.

To thrive in the field of computer science, you need to be a creative and critical thinker with statistical and analytical skills. It is also helpful to have a strong mathematics and science background.

What Is Computer Science?

The core elements of computer science are theory of computation, information and coding theory, data structures and algorithms, and programming language theory. Computer science also includes artificial intelligence, computer architecture, distributed computing, cryptography, and networking.

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Computer science utilizes databases, data mining, graphics, visualization, image and sound processing, engineering, social computing, and software engineering. In each branch, you will encounter algorithmic processes, computational machines, and computation. It is a broad field that prepares you to work with both hardware and software.

Where Do Computer Science Professionals Work?

Not surprisingly, people with computer science skills are employed throughout the tech industry. They work as IT professionals, software engineers, and data scientists for a wide range of companies and in a wide variety of sectors.

If we just look at computer scientists, however, we find that the highest number of them work in the public sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 28 percent of computer and information research scientists have jobs in the federal government.

About 19 percent of computer scientists, meanwhile, work in computer systems design, and another 16 percent are employed in research and development. Others find themselves in software publishing or academia. Most of this work is full-time.

Highest-Paying Computer Science Careers at a Glance

The salary and job growth figures in the following table were sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job growth projections refer to the percentage change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Job Title Education Requirement Projected Job Growth Median Pay
Computer and Information Research Scientist Master’s Degree 15% $126,830
Computer Hardware Engineer Bachelor’s Degree 2% $119,560
Computer Network Architect Bachelor’s Degree 5% $116,780
Software Developer Bachelor’s Degree 22% $110,140
Information Security Analyst Bachelor’s Degree 31% $103,590
Database Administrator Bachelor’s Degree 10% $98,860
Computer Systems Analyst Bachelor’s Degree 7% $93,730
Computer Programmer Bachelor’s Degree -9% $89,190
Network and Computer Systems Administrator Bachelor’s Degree 4% $84,810
Web Developer Bachelor’s Degree 8% $77,200

Why You Should Pursue a Career in Computer Science

According to PayScale, the average salary for professionals with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science is about $91,000. Salaries vary by career pathway and can be higher or lower depending on the company you work for.

A career in computer science opens you up to multiple job opportunities. This is because computer science skills are applicable to various fields of work, provided that you have a solid education and background. You could find yourself working with hardware, software, or both at once. You can work on projects as part of a team or become a manager.

The job outlook for most computer science careers, moreover, is better than the prospects for growth in other industries. There is job security in computer science because there is a high demand for people with these skills.

Finally, a career in computer science gives you an opportunity to be involved in research and innovation for the future. You do not need to have an in-person or online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science to excel in this field. Many of the skills required for this industry can be obtained through coding bootcamps or online courses.

The Best Computer
Science Careers in 2021

The computer science jobs listed below are currently the most common and among the best-paying in the field. However, computer science is constantly evolving. You should focus on pursuing a broad education so you can transition into any of these computer science careers.

Computer and information research scientists must be proficient in data analysis, algorithm development, machine learning, Python, and C++ programming. If you want to advance your career in this field, you should sharpen your cyber security skills as well.

The job of a computer and information research scientist is an excellent starting point if you wish to pursue opportunities in upper management. Your career pathway could include becoming a software engineering manager, an information technology manager, director of engineering, or a software engineering director.

Part of this job includes the analysis and processing of relevant data, which will then be reported to the leaders of your company or organization. All the data is based on research done on the computer-related aspects of the company.

A computer hardware engineer is expected to have a comprehensive knowledge of engineering design, board design, debugging, C programming, and computer hardware. You’ll also need to learn Python, digital design, microprocessing, systems troubleshooting, Verilog, and engineering design.

These engineers design computer chips, circuit boards, modems, and printers. When clients and users need hardware upgrades or maintenance to be performed, the computer hardware engineers are the first to be contacted. All of the cost estimates for organizational hardware and logistical arrangements will be performed by the computer hardware engineer.

Computer network architects focus on network architecture and design, Cisco systems, switching and routing, IT security, and IT infrastructure. These professionals are familiar with Software Defined Networks, big data analytics, firewalls, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). They also maintain technical infrastructure and conduct research and development.

You will also be responsible for the design and setup of an organization’s network. You will explore new network technologies and be responsible for their installation. If any problems do emerge within a company’s network, you will be the initial point of contact for users and clients.

Software development is a top area of specialization in computer science. These experts are expected to have technical mastery of programming languages like JavaScript, C#, .NET, SQL, and Java. The best software developers will also have extensive knowledge of FileMaker Pro, MUMPS, ArcGIS, and distributed systems.

Most software developers focus on the development of computer applications. The kind of application depends on the task that needs to be performed, the platform, and the device you plan on using to perform the task.

A majority of this job hinges on identifying, prioritizing, and analyzing potential security threats to the organization you are working for. The skill set includes expertise in cyber security, security policies and procedures, security information, event management, IT security and infrastructure, and security risk management.

Beyond that, an information security analyst is also expected to have an understanding of switches and firewall installation, identity management, system administration, penetration testing, data security, standard encryption, and automation scripting. You will also be expected to understand auditing, computer forensics, and web security encryption.

To become a database administrator, you should learn data analysis, SQL, and Microsoft SQL Server. Database management is the primary focus. These professionals must have a sound knowledge of data modeling, Apache Cassandra, data mining, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Database, Sybase, and NoSQL.

They use these skills to monitor and optimize the performance of the system, while also installing, configuring, and troubleshooting for the database systems that they need to maintain. This includes making sure there is some form of backup in the event that something goes wrong.

An aspiring computer systems analyst must learn SQL, Java, Microsoft, and Windows. These professionals have working knowledge of systems testing, Unix and Linux, requirements analysis, .NET, Microsoft SQL Server, JavaScript, and Java.

These skills are necessary to monitor and prevent security threats and anything else that might compromise the performance of your system. To perform this job, you will be tasked with installation, configuration, maintenance, and any system upgrades that are needed.

You also need to be competent in resolving issues with both software and hardware. Clients and users will turn to you for those solutions.

These professionals work with programming languages like SQL, Java, JavaScript, C#, C++, and Python. These are the most common and useful programming languages. Beyond that, the best computer programmers will also be skilled in programming languages that are used for specific platforms, such as Cisco, Oracle, IBM, Android, and Apple.

To become a computer programmer, you will have to learn things like Informatica, iOS, SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), ABAP, and IBM COBOL. A computer programming job also involves data mining and machine learning. All of these skills are needed to write, modify, and debug software. These experts need to write clean and readable code.

One of the primary skills required in this line of work is an extensive knowledge of Cisco systems, which are a highly popular networking solution for companies around the world. These administrators are also expected to know and understand Windows and Linux.

Additional skills worth having as a network administrator include C++, VMware, and knowledge of IT security infrastructure. This knowledge is required to perform tasks like establishing and documenting standards and procedures.

Network and computer systems administrators are also tasked with monitoring the performance and security of the network they are overseeing. These professionals are in charge of installing, configuring, maintaining, and upgrading networks.

Web developers are expected to know their way around Java, JavaScript, CSS, PHP, and HTML5. They should also have skills in continuous integration, Unix, Apache Cordova, NoSQL, and .NET Core. Among the core responsibilities of a web developer are testing and documenting software for websites and applications, and writing clean readable code.

Computer Science Salaries by Location

Salaries for computer scientists are impacted by the demand for computer science skills in your area and the cost of living. For example, a computer scientist in San Francisco makes 52 percent more than the average for computer scientists in the United States. And in New York City, computer science salaries are about nine percent higher than average.

However, computer scientists in Ohio are expected to earn about seven percent less than the national average. In Alabama, they earn about 23 percent less than the average.

What Education Does a Career in Computer Science Require?

What Education Does a Career in Computer Science Require?

Most employers seek candidates who have completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Computing, Computer Science, Information Technology, or a related field.

For those seeking a more technical education, a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering in one of these fields will be the most practical option. For those seeking a more holistic education, a Bachelor of Arts is also a realistic option.

However, pursuing an Associate Degree in Computer Science will provide you with the skills needed to work with software programs, mobile applications, design, and development.

If you are concerned about affordability and scheduling, you do not even have to enroll in an expensive university degree program. There are a number of short-term online coding bootcamps that can equip you with the skills you need to thrive in this field.

Can I Study Computer Science Online?

Yes. You can get an online computer science degree. You can also take online computer science courses through learning platforms like Udemy and Coursera. For the best bang for your buck, look into how an online coding bootcamp can equip you with the right computer science skills for your career path.

Is a Computer Science Job Good for Me?

Yes. It is a field of study and work that will provide numerous employment opportunities over the next decade. A career in computer science is more accessible than most because there are courses, certificates, and degrees you can complete without breaking your budget and schedule. If you have the talent and work ethic, you can thrive in this field.

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