A bachelor's degree in computer science can open up a whole new world of opportunities for you. With the massive advancement in technology and increased reliance on computers in virtually all industries, computer science majors are more in demand than ever.
Contrary to popular belief, computer science education isn't limited to teaching some programming languages like C, Java, and Python.
In this article, we'll explore the career prospects for computer science majors and what opportunities are available for them.
How Much Do Entry Level Computer Science Majors Make?
Based on data gathered from payscale.com, the average salary of an entry-level computer scientist is $81,472 per year in the United States. Of course, this number varies depending on multiple factors, like job type, industry, company, working hours, and years of experience.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), computer science majors are more likely to find high-paying jobs straight out of college than their peers who've graduated from other programs.
Is Computer Science Hard for Someone With No Experience Or Bachelor's Degree?
It's undeniable that working in any tech-related job won't be a walk in the park. As a computer science fresh graduate with little to no hands-on experience, things can be a bit challenging for you at the beginning of your career and you may start wondering ''is computer science for me?''. Your best bet is to continue developing your skills, improving your proficiency in several programming languages, like Java, C, and learning from others with more experience than you.
Types of Entry-Level Jobs for Computer Science Majors
Not all computer science majors take the same career path. There are many computer science specializations, and each of them requires a different set of skills and knowledge areas. Computer science majors usually specialize in only one or two niches, but we recommend starting with one at first. Here is a list of some of the most common entry-level computer science jobs:
Software developers solve problems by creating, testing, debugging, developing, and updating software for the user. By analyzing the user's needs, a software developer comes up with unique software solutions that make the user's life easier and more efficient.
The mean salary of a software developer is $67,000 per year.
Similar to software developers, software engineers are responsible for developing software that the user can interact with. The main difference is that software engineers solve large-scale software problems by applying the principles of engineering. They also create and improve the tools used in software development, while software developers use these tools in the product lifecycle.
On average, software engineers make around $74,000 per year.
Software Quality Assurance Engineer
A software quality assurance engineer or QA engineer's role is to monitor the software development lifecycle of the product throughout all the development phases to ensure that the design is compliant with the standards of the business. QA engineers also provide support through all of the development phases to make sure that the deadlines are met.
The average salary of a QA engineer is $66,500.
Information Technology Specialist
An information technology specialist's role is to support users across the different business functions with any technical problems they may face. They are also responsible for setting up new systems, applications, and networks. Moreover, they monitor and manage bandwidth allocation.
Based on statistical data, information technology specialists make on average $49,000 each year.
Web developers usually specialize in either front-end or back-end web development. Front-end developers are concerned with the visible part of the website that the user interacts with, while back-end developers focus on the client-server interface in the back end. Full-stack web developers are familiar with both disciplines.
The average web developer salary at the beginner level is $65,000 per year. Full-stack developers usually make more than developers who niche in either front-end or back-end development.
A security analyst's job role is to prevent, identify, analyze, and eliminate security threats that exploit the business network. Security analysts use advanced software tools to monitor the status of business systems. The mean annual salary of a security analyst is $76,000, making it one of the highest-paying computer science specializations.
Mobile Application Developer
Mobile app developers are software developers who work in creating and designing applications for mobile platforms. Some developers even specialize in building apps for a particular platform online, like iOS or Android. Mobile application development is one of the most in-demand computer science specializations that employers look for, which is why mobile application developers make $89,000 per year on average.
A UX/UI designer creates products that users can interact within a logical and intuitive way. User Experience (UX) design is about presenting the user with a logical, step-by-step path that takes them from A to Z as seamlessly as possible, while User Interface (UI) design ensures that the user has the necessary tools and elements to use the product efficiently. UX/UI designers have a median annual salary of $80,000.
Artificial Intelligence Engineer
AI engineers design AI applications using natural language processing and neural networks to perform hard, time-consuming tasks with minimal interference from humans. And because this is a relatively new field, the median annual salary for AI engineers is quite high, reaching around $114,000 on average.
Working with infinite amounts of data is what a data scientist eats for breakfast. The responsibilities of a data scientist include analyzing large data sets, extracting actionable insights, and making the necessary improvements that support business strategies. The mean salary for data scientists is $105,000 per year.
Entry Level Computer Science Jobs in the United States
Entry-level computer science jobs in the United States are available in several traditional and casual forms of employment, including full-time, part-time, freelance, and contract-based employment. Some of the most common entry-level job titles that employers offer in the U.S include:
- Entry Level Software Developer
- Junior Computer Programmer
- Junior Software Design Engineer
- Entry Level Quality Assurance Engineer (QA Engineer)
- Junior Application Developer
- Entry Level UX/UI Designer
- Junior Cyber Security Engineer
What Is the Difference Between Computer Science and Computer Engineering?
There's a common misconception that computer science and computer engineering are more or less the same. While the two fields overlap in several areas, a computer science degree isn't the same as a computer engineering degree. Computer science programs emphasize finding solutions to complex software problems. The curriculum is usually centered around teaching object-oriented programming, database design, data analysis, information systems, and programming theory.
On the other hand, computer engineering education focuses on designing hardware and software interfaces. Some of the most common courses that are taught in most computer engineering programs include electronics, electric circuits, digital systems, control systems, microprocessors, data mining, and machine learning.
Is a Master's Degree in Computer Science Worth It?
A master's degree in computer science is definitely worth it, especially if you want to take the academic teaching and researching path. However, it all depends on your career goals and what you aspire to do in the short and long term. These degrees usually take around 2 years to complete, so only consider a master's in computer science if you're sure that it'll benefit your career. Generally speaking, post-graduate studies may qualify you to get a managerial role at your company.
Nevertheless, if you've recently graduated, a bachelor's degree is more than enough on the academic level. We recommend focusing on developing the skills that companies look for to find a good work opportunity.
What Skills Do Computer Science Majors Need?
Here are some of the most sought after soft and hard skills that are essential for success in this highly competitive field:
- Proficiency in several programming languages
- Team leadership
- Excellent knowledge of mathematics
- Staying up-to-date with technology trends
- Analytical thinking
- Communication skills
- Root cause analysis
To recap, the career prospects for entry-level computer science majors are definitely promising. The demand for computer science bachelor's degree holders is surging day by day, and salaries are quite high compared to other professions.
Not to mention, you've got multiple knowledge areas that you can specialize in based on your skills and interests. And with the rise of Artificial Intelligence, the dependency on computers and systems is expected to grow exponentially in the next few decades.