Computer science is a field that has implications all around the world, whether it's Silicon Valley, Singapore, or Sydney.

It pays well, grants a flexible work schedule, and opens doors to countless job opportunities across various industries.

As the world transitions to digital technology, the demand for computer science professionals and their work seems to be growing at an unprecedented rate.

It might sound like a challenging field to break into, but it's more accessible than most people assume it to be. We'll be taking you through everything you need to know about this field.

A woman in a black shirt writing a code on a Macintosh desktop computer. Computer science students learn to write code in different programming languages
Computer science degrees involve students developing programs using long rigorous sequences of code. Some of the common programming languages in which programmers write code are HTML and Java. (Source: Unsplash)
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What Is Computer Science?

If you're looking to apply to computer science universities, ask yourself; what do you expect to get out of studying this subject?

To break it down, computer science is the study of information in the digital form. Computer scientists study a range of disciplines, from computer programming to systems to algorithms.

There are many ways for prospective students to learn computer science. Many enthusiasts take the self-taught approach without enrolling in an educational institute.

But since it is so complicated, it is better to take formal education in this subject, as it's hard to keep up with this expanding field.

Enrolling in an associate or bachelor's computer science degree will give you the knowledge you need to grow.

Some people also acquire a master's degree to edge over their competition, while others who plan to become professors pursue doctoral programs.

Careers In Computer Science

Computer science is an extremely varied and extensive field, with a wide range of sub-fields and disciplines, from software developers to programmers and data analysts.

With the vast implications of this field, prospective students have enough room to find their niche.

We'll be looking at some of the jobs that aspiring students select in computer science schools, along with the education required to get in those positions and their mid-career average salary.

Software Developer

This is probably the career of choice for most aspiring computer science disciples. The job profile of software developers involves designing computer science applications, recommending software updates for existing programs, creating new software, and creating customized programs as required by consumers.

Essentially, there are two types of software developers:

  • Applications software developers: They design computer applications that we use on our phones, such as Instagram and WhatsApp.
  • Systems software developers: They are responsible for creating, designing, and updating operating systems. Their job requires them to work with operating systems, such as Windows and Linux.

Additionally, you will find most software developers to have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a similar field.

Some professionals choose computer programming degrees because of the extensive use of programming languages in software development.

Many of the best schools for computer science offer internships for aspiring students looking to get into software development.

However, to excel in this field, it's necessary to stay updated on the latest programming languages. An average mid-career salary for a software developer is $105,590.

Database Administrator

Database administrators are the core professionals behind most financial and commercial systems. Their job requires them to handle, store, organize and secure the vast amounts of data coming in.

A database administrator's job description includes merging databases of consolidating businesses, ensuring that databases run smoothly, backing up databases, and modifying current databases.

However, one of the essential tasks of database administrators is to ensure data security, both for consumers and businesses.

Therefore, there are two main categories of DBAs: systems database administrators and applications database administrators.

The former is responsible for updating and troubleshooting databases, while the latter is responsible for writing and debugging programs for databases using programming languages.

As an administrator, you must know database languages. The most commonly used language is SQL, and most computer science degrees include it in their courses.

Furthermore, employers expect database professionals to have a bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems. The average mid-career salary for a database administrator is $93,750.

Computer Programmers

This is one of the most accessible sub-fields in computer science. As compared to other professions, computer programmers only need to know one programming language to qualify for a decent job.

Professional programmers are responsible for writing computer programs using languages such as C++, Java, and HTML.

Besides, they are responsible for updating existing programs, troubleshooting them for errors, correcting incorrect code, and simplifying applications using code.

Many programming languages are relatively easy to learn. Therefore, competition is tough in jobs that require languages such as HTML and Java due to the high number of candidates.

However, jobs that require more challenging programming languages, such as C++, are in high demand.

Candidates looking to work as freelancers can find success in this field. Unlike other computer science positions, there are many opportunities for self-employed work for computer programmers.

Moreover, many organizations require a bachelor's degree for programming jobs, but it is easy to commence a programming career without a formal education.

According to your acquired skill, the average mid-career salary for computer programmers is $86,550.

A sequence of code in different colors on a black screen. Computer programmers use HTML for much of the websites and programs we use on web browsers
Writing code can take many hours, and even a small mistake can cause a glitch in the program. Programmers use debugging tools to get around minor irregularities in code syntax; a computer science degree will arm you with the knowledge to carry out debugging. (Source: Unsplash)

Information Systems Managers

Information system managers are among the highest-paid individuals in the computer science field.

Information systems managers are responsible for supervising the complete computer-science-based ecosystem within an organization.

They are also commonly known as IT managers, and they oversee everything from internet security to hardware maintenance.

They work on the short-term and long-term needs of a company and supervise every IT project while working closely with programmers, developers, and security experts.

They need a bachelor's degree in computer science with sufficient managerial skills, and most organizations require at least five years of professional experience for IT managers. The average salary for IT managers is $146,430.

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts are responsible for analyzing the systems and procedures of a company's IT structure and recommending changes and improvements when required.

Suppose all the computers in an organization work at 95% of their potential; the 5% slowdown can cost them a significant amount of loss in time and money.

Therefore, it is the systems analyst's job to recommend system updates. Most computer systems analysts have a bachelor's degree in computer science, but not all organizations require it.

Professionals in this field usually tend to hold degrees in information technology, computer science, or a business-related field.

Computer systems analysts must always keep themselves informed with the latest computer technologies and IT practices.

They must also understand the specific needs of their respective industries, such as the finance industry, banking industry, or the healthcare industry. The average salary of a systems analyst is $90,920.

A professional using an analytics program to sequence DNA. Computer science programs and applications have broad implications in the healthcare and medical industry
Computer science is an ever-expanding field; a degree in this discipline can arm you to find opportunities in any industry in the world. The automation of human labor has created a need for computer experts to find work anywhere. (Source: Unsplash)

Computer Science Degrees

Computer science schools offer a range of disciplines, and you can pursue a degree in a range of sub-fields that suit your area of interest.

Some examples include health informatics, computational science, and artificial intelligence, besides the fields mentioned earlier.

Let's look at some of the degrees that are offered by computer science universities:

Associate's Degree

An associate's degree is suitable for students who don't want to invest in a college education.

This is because many students are on a budget and cannot afford a full-fledged university program. Meanwhile, there are a few students who want to go the self-taught way.

For both types, an associate degree is the best possible choice. Many computer science schools offer an associate's degree – often as online programs – for students who don't want to study in a conducive environment.

Some of the courses you can expect to find in an associate's program include Computer Networks, Computer Technology, as well as a few programming language courses.

To acquire an associate's program, you must complete two years of coursework, with a minimum GPA of 2.0.

However, many universities might require a GPA of 2.5 or 3.0 as a qualifying factor, depending on the program.

Associate programs are short, less demanding, and affordable, making them a popular choice for students. However, they tend to skip many specialized courses.

Bachelor's Degree

For most computer science jobs, a bachelor's degree is the standard requirement. Although you can get some positions with an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree qualifies you as a computer science professional.

Students looking to enroll in a bachelor's degree can do so at any top computer science college in America.

A bachelor's degree in computer science will include software architecture, Computer Programming, and Numerical Analysis, among others.

Compared to an associate degree, bachelor's degrees offer more advantages. The two extra years allow students to study advanced subjects, understand the field, and explore the concepts learned in associate degrees.

Also, bachelor's degrees offer a broader range of subjects – including liberal arts and business courses – which allow students to apply themselves in a professional field better.

Master's Degree

Master's degrees provide an extensive in-depth education in computer science that associate and bachelor degrees fall short with.

Master's programs require 45 to 60 credits for a two-year, full-time program or a five-year part-time computer science program.

Students can choose to focus on specific sub-fields in their master's program, such as Artificial Intelligence or Biocomputation.

It is necessary to have a bachelor's degree in computer science to qualify for a master's degree, with a minimum GPA of 2.5, or even 3.0 for some universities.

Furthermore, master's programs do not feature thesis requirements but might include a final year project.

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If you consider yourself an expert in coding, programming, computer hardware, or software, working towards a computer science degree may be just the catalyst your career needs!

And if you have a fundamental interest in the field and find yourself messing around with computers, finding a computer science tutor will help you take that first step towards a potential career.

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