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What Can You Do With a Degree in Computer Science?

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There's never been a better time to become a computer scientist. Employment growth in the field is expected to reach 22% overall by 2020, and if you want to get in on the action, it’s a good idea to think about at least minoring in computer science and knowing how to code.

We’re beginning to enter an era in which math, reading, and writing aren’t the only essentials for students anymore: coding is becoming so important that there is a movement to begin teaching it as a part of core school curriculums.

Today, there are so many great resources online for learning the basics of coding, but some people want to take things a step further and deepen their knowledge—sometimes even making a career out of it. If you’re interested in moving beyond basic coding, pursuing a degree in computer science can help you land an interesting, fulfilling, and lucrative career after graduation.

It’s never been a better time to become a computer scientist. Employment growth in the field is expected to reach 22% overall by 2020, and if you want to get in on the action, it’s a good idea to think about at least minoring in computer science and knowing how to code. For Computer Science Education Week, let’s explore some of the exciting career paths you can take with a computer science degree.

Web Developer

Nearly every company and organization (and even many individuals) now has a website. Websites have grown far more complex, interactive, and visually appealing in the last two decades, and web developers are responsible for making them look and function the way they should. Using a variety of programming languages, web developers make a vision into reality.

Software Development Engineer

Going beyond the application of programming languages to design websites, software engineers actually design and build software that solves problems or serves a specific function within an organization. Software engineers develop algorithms and analyze programming obstacles in order to create functional programs.

Cyber Security Engineer 

Cyber security is a growing concern as more and more of our sensitive information is being stored digitally, from health records to financial information. Cyber security engineers work to stay one step ahead of hackers and safeguard this type of information for organizations. Designing and building systems to keep malware and other attacks out is a challenging task that requires in-depth knowledge and problem-solving skills.

Information Security Analyst

There are openings for analysts in many different fields, including data science, computer systems, and even criminal justice. Information security analyst jobs are expected to grow by 28 percent between 2016 and 2026, with some salaries being as high as six-figures. Analysts help identify patterns in data and can help inform strategic decision-making for organizations.

Mobile Applications Developer

Developers who create mobile apps and mobile sites operate in a similar way to software developers, only optimizing interfaces, functionality, and appearance for mobile, rather than for desktops and laptops. The future is mobile, and although the outlook for mobile developers is already very good, it will only become better as more and more of our time spent online is spent on mobile devices.

Tips for Success 

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) graduates are in high demand among companies looking to innovate and expand. However, graduating with a degree in computer science can be a challenging journey, and you’ll need to be prepared for some bumps in the road. Here are a few tips for succeeding in the major.

Persevere

Many people find that math and programming classes are a stumbling block when pursuing their computer science degrees. Persevering by studying hard and getting additional help with the classes you find difficult is the only way to gain the skills you need to succeed.

Consider Cross-Specializing

More than ever, businesses are looking for people who know how to code…and then some. Having basic business knowledge and acumen is extremely helpful for getting a job after graduation, and commanding a higher salary. You could also choose to major in computer science or business, and minor in the other to show your versatility.

Keep Up with Trends

Computer science fields move quickly since the technology is always evolving and changing. Keeping up with the trends while you’re still in school will help you learn relevant skills and get you in the habit of being aware of what’s new throughout your career. Right now, for example, cloud adoption is on the rise, and 92% of workloads will be on the cloud by 2020. Paying attention to what’s growing can help you decide which skills to focus on—and help you land a better job.

Know Your Strengths

Though many people are attracted to the field of computer science because it pays well and there are a lot of opportunities open, it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Don’t go into the field just to make money—you won’t be happy, and you may not end up working in the field for long. If you like building things, consider becoming a software engineer. If you have curiosity and like to solve problems, think about data science. There’s something for everyone who has an aptitude for logic and problem-solving in computer science—it’s just a matter of finding what’s right for you.

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Author:Ryan Ayers
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