What Can You Do With a Computer Science Degree?

Combining principles of mathematics, science, and engineering, a computer science education equips students with knowledge on how to develop software, hardware, networks, databases, and more. In our digitally connected era, professionals who can create and improve software are a tremendous asset to businesses across industries and around the world. As a result, computer science jobs may be an attractive choice for recent graduates hoping to start down a lucrative career path post-graduation. 

A degree in computer science allows you to pursue a variety of careers, from software engineering to system analysis. The demand for computer scientists and other computer and information technology professionals remains strong, and employment of these professionals is expected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Still, you may be wondering: What can you do with a computer science degree? Graduates with a bachelor’s in computer science can go on to build rewarding careers in programming, web development, system support, network administration, database design, applications development, computer and network security, software engineering, and other high-tech fields. 

Here, we explore different career paths you can pursue with a degree in computer science. 

Full-Stack Developer

As professionals working with both back-end and front-end web development, full-stack developers have the knowledge to build complete websites and optimize visible parts of applications for web browsers and mobile devices. They have skills in a variety of coding niches — from databases to graphic design and UI/UX management — and are proficient in server, network, and hosting environments. They’re mainly responsible for helping with the design and development of software, testing and debugging software, writing clean front-end and back-end code, ensuring cross-platform compatibility and optimization, and aiding in several other stages of the web development process. 

Full-stack developers generally possess excellent time management skills, diligent attention to detail, and a creative mind. They also tend to be well-versed in business logic and user experience and can help guide and consult on strategy. Many full-stack developers, like web developers, tend to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer programming, computer engineering, or software development. 

Full-Stack Developer Salary

Whether you’re a freelance full-stack developer or work for a company, the demand for professionals is constantly growing. Employment of web developers and digital designers is projected to grow 13 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS.

The median annual salary for a web developer was $77,200 in 2020, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $146,430. Half of all software and web developers, programmers, and testers also earned six figures in 2020, with a median annual salary of $105,310. However, your degree level, years of experience, location, and any additional skills or certifications will influence your salary in full-stack development. 

Machine Learning Engineer 

Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables a system to learn from data rather than through explicit programming. Machine learning utilizes algorithms that ingest training data supplied by a machine learning engineer, making it possible to produce more precise models based on that data. Machine learning engineers are trained to design and create AI algorithms capable of learning and making predictions. 

Machine learning engineers’ responsibilities vary depending on the organization, but these professionals typically assess, analyze, and organize large amounts of data while executing tests and optimizing machine learning models and algorithms. They usually work as part of a large data science team, communicating with other data scientists, administrators, data analysts, data engineers, and data architects. Machine learning engineers leverage advanced math and statistics skills. At the bachelor’s level, these professionals may study computer science, math, statistics, or a related field. They may also go on to earn a master’s degree.

Machine Learning Engineer Salary 

Salary for professionals in this area of computer science depends on their employer, location, and job title (which varies). One example is computer and information research scientists, who frequently use techniques from data science and machine learning to design and conduct experiments that solve complex business problems. The median annual salary for computer and information research scientists in 2021 was $131,490, according to BLS pay data. Experience in the field can help engineers advance from an entry-level salary to a senior-level salary. 

Mobile App Developer

A mobile app developer is a software engineer who works with mobile devices to create, program, test, and maintain apps and mobile platforms across devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Exceptionally skilled in working with various operating systems such as Windows and Mac, mobile app developers often develop both Android and iOS app products. They have in-depth knowledge of different programming languages such as C++, Java, HTML, MySQL, PHP, and Objective-C.

Mobile app developers may work closely with computer analysts and engineers, utilizing various software development languages to create mobile apps. They primarily write, maintain, and implement source code to develop mobile apps and mobile platform programs that meet client needs and requirements. Before entering the field, mobile app developers may earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, although some advanced positions might require a master’s degree. 

Mobile App Developer Salary

Mobile app developer yearly salaries vary depending on your education, certifications, skill level, and years of experience, among other factors. To get an idea of how much these computer science professionals make, you can explore web developer salary estimates. 

Network Engineer 

A network engineer is a highly trained specialist with programming experience and cybersecurity expertise which they use to plan, implement, and oversee the computer networks that support in-house communications as well as wireless network services. They deal with planning, design, and technical specifications as well as day-to-day maintenance, management, and troubleshooting efforts. Network engineers focus on delivering high-availability network infrastructure to sustain a user’s online and on-site IT activities. 

Network engineers primarily design and implement network configurations, troubleshoot performance issues, carry out network monitoring, and configure security systems such as firewalls. Typically, they work internally within an organization or as outside consultants. They are trained to understand complex networks, pinpoint problems, and propose solutions. In addition to technical skills, network engineers utilize analytical, leadership, organizational, and communication skills, as well as keen attention to detail. 

Network Engineer Salary

The average salary for a network engineer varies from professional to professional and what they bring to the table in terms of skills and experience. Engineers may earn bonuses, and some employers may offer profit-sharing programs. Computer network architects, who perform similar duties to network engineers, earned a median annual salary of $120,520 according to BLS data from May 2021. 

Security Engineer 

Security engineers are responsible for keeping a company’s security systems up and running. They primarily build security systems and implement and monitor security controls to protect an organization’s data from unauthorized access and cyber attacks. They may also test new security features, plan computer and network upgrades, and respond to security breaches and incidents. 

Security engineers need deep knowledge of computers, networks, and security best practices to create significant impact at their organization. By monitoring and protecting computer systems and networks, they help safeguard their company’s profits and reputation. Security engineers (sometimes called information security analysts) work with a variety of technologies and can be found in health care, finance, nonprofits, government, manufacturing, or even retail. 

Security Engineer Salary 

As information security grows in importance across industries, so does the need for security engineers. Jobs in the information security sector are projected to grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030. Salary for information security analysts differs by industry. In May 2021, the median annual wage for information security analysts was $102,600. However, those working in the information industry earned significantly more, with median earnings of $128,970. By contrast, the median salary for information security analysts employed by the administrative and support services industry was $95,270 as of May 2021.

Software Quality Engineer 

It’s important to check for mistakes during the software development process and ensure that the software adheres to company standards. Software quality engineers (or quality assurance analysts) monitor every phase of the software development process, confirming that new products work before they’re released to the public. They are primarily responsible for reviewing code and testing programs to identify potential risks or defects of the software.

Software quality engineers also help companies meet deadlines by setting attainable testing goals and relaying any issues back to the development and product teams. They have a thorough understanding of quality assurance testing environments and software development life cycles, which they develop through a bachelor’s degree program in computer science or a related field.

Software Quality Engineer Salary 

Software and computer technology tend to be fields that pay above-average salaries, but your earnings will depend on location, company, experience, industry, and education.

UX Designer 

User experience (UX) design is the process of creating products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. It includes all aspects of the end user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. UX designers play an important role in the end user’s interaction with products, whether users interact through clicking a mouse, swiping their finger, or using assistive technology.

UX designers build and design digital products like websites and apps while using UX principles. Generally, they deal with the front end of these products, designing the user-facing parts that people interact with like buttons, layouts, and interface flows. UX designers are proficient in coding languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. UX designers may earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, as well as other certifications to enhance their technical skills. 

UX Designer Salary 

UX designers who work for themselves are common. In such cases, they get to decide how much they make, sometimes charging by the hour or by project. Those employed by companies will be compensated based on their education, skills, the location of the job, and more.

Web Developer 

Web developers are professionals who create websites and web applications using a variety of programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They usually fall under one of three categories: back-end developers, front-end developers, and full-stack developers. Their primary role is to ensure the website they’re designing is visually appealing and easy to navigate — but many web developers are also responsible for the website’s performance and capacity, as well as analyzing user needs to ensure they’re creating content that is useful and accessible. 

As a web developer, you could work for a company or agency to design user interfaces and navigation menus, integrate multimedia content onto various sites, test web applications, troubleshoot problems with performance or user experience, and collaborate with other designers, developers, and stakeholders. Web developers typically get a bachelor’s degree in computer science or another relevant field to learn the basics of computer programming and logic. 

Web Developer Salary 

Exactly how much a web developer makes largely depends on the skills and efficiency of the developer as well as the complexity of the project at hand. Before applying to web developer jobs, explore the earning potential for all three types of web developers in your city or state. 

Get Started

Are you interested in studying computer science and jump-starting an exciting career in tech? You can earn your bachelor’s in computer science online with Simmons University, where you will learn new methods for solving highly technical problems at the forefront of technology. This innovative 128-credit program features an online computer science curriculum including courses in information technology, software engineering, and programming. Throughout the program, you’ll work closely with Simmons faculty and collaborate with bright, motivated peers to expand your knowledge of computer science. What are you waiting for? 

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Last updated May 2022.