Top Careers in Computer Science

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Graduates seeking computer science careers can take advantage of a growing field.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for computer and information technology occupations will grow significantly — an 11% increase — from 2019 to 2029. This is significantly faster than the projected growth rate for all occupations nationwide. Some computer science jobs, such as computer and information research scientists, are projected to grow even more quickly.

Computer science job opportunities vary depending on the degree. Graduates with associate degrees often pursue roles as computer support specialists or web developers. Bachelor’s degrees open doors to many more computer science careers in software development, database administration, and computer programming.

Employers typically expect computer and information research scientists to hold master’s degrees at minimum. Read on to explore top careers in computer science.

Explore Computer Science Careers


Computer Programmer

Computer Programmer

Write code to generate programs


Hardware Engineer

Hardware Engineer

Create, implement and test physical computer components


Software Developer

Software Developer

Manage the creation of computer programs


Systems Manager

Systems Manager

Oversee and coordinate IT operations


Web Developer

Web Developer

Plan and produce websites


Software Engineer

Software Engineer

Design and unify software creation


Database Administrator

Database Administrator

Store, order and protect company data


IT Architect

IT Architect

Design data communication networks


Network Administrator

Network Administrator

Maintain the daily operations of computer networks


Systems Analyst

Systems Analyst

Streamline existing IT infrastructures


Security Analyst

Security Analyst

Protect networks from cyberattacks


Information Researcher

Information Researcher

Create cutting-edge technology


Video Game Developer

Video Game Developer

Design the next big game


Health Information Technician

Health Information Technician

Protect patient-related data


Data Scientist

Data Scientist

Analyze data and address targeted problems


Web Designer

Web Designer

Create engaging websites


The Rise of the Computer Science Field

Since its inception during the Industrial Revolution, computer science has become essential to everyday life and changed nearly every part of society: Cybersecurity experts protect companies from foreign and domestic interference, while everyday people stream movies and connect with video conferencing technology.

The BLS projects jobs for information security analysts will grow 31% from 2019 to 2029. Web developers, who use digital design tools to create and update online sites, navigation systems, and search engines, can also expect faster-than-average job growth, according to the BLS.

The federal government has become one of the biggest employers of computer scientists and analysts thanks to the relationship between computer science and national security. The field is highly profitable and likely to stay profitable for the foreseeable future. Plus, computer science is strategically necessary to the world today. Computer science degrees open doors to exciting and lucrative professional opportunities, making the investment worthwhile.

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Career Outlook and Salary Potential in Computer Science

From 2019 to 2029, the BLS projects that the U.S. will add 531,200 new computer and information technology jobs, an 11% growth.

Some computer science jobs should grow even more quickly: The BLS projects a 22% growth in jobs for software developers and a 31% increase in positions for information security analysts. Projections for some computer science careers, such as network and computer systems administrator, indicate growth on pace with the national average for all occupations — about 4% from 2019 to 2029.

The BLS reported a median annual salary of $88,240 across all computer and information technology careers as of May 2019. As the chart below demonstrates, median salary can vary by job title. Computer support specialists make an annual median salary of $54,760, while computer and information research scientists earn $122,840.

Computer Science Top Five Careers By Median Salary

Career Median Salary
Computer and Information Research Scientist $122,840
Computer Network Architect $112,690
Software Developer $107,510
Information Security Analyst $99,730
Database Administrator $93,750

Source: BLS, 2019

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Computer Science Salary by Location

Location plays a major part in salary potential for computer science graduates. For computer and information research scientists, top-paying states include California, Virginia, and Washington. In Virginia, computer and information research scientists earn an average annual salary of $143,390, while California employees make $150,830.

For computer network architects, Massachusetts offers the highest average annual salary at $135,320. States like California, Virginia, and Maryland also offer high salaries. Software developers earn the highest average annual salaries in Washington, California, and New York.

Software Developer Salaries by State

The BLS reported 1,469,200 software developer jobs in the U.S. as of May 2019. This profession houses the lion’s share of computer science professionals (computer support specialists came in a second with 882,300 jobs as of 2019). These employees are spread across the United States, their average salaries varying substantially by state.

Average Annual Wage and Employment for Software Developers by State, 2019

State
FL TX NM AZ AK CA NV UT CO OR WA ID HI OK MT WY ND SD NE KS MN IA MO AR LA MS AL GA SC IL WI MI IN OH TN KY NC WV VA PA NY ME VT NH RI CT NJ DE MA MD DC

Source: BLS

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Major Employers of Computer Science Graduates

Google


One of the largest tech companies in the country, Google employs a broad array of software engineers and computer scientists. The company boasts expanding investments in new and emerging software, including search engine optimization, AI technology, and digital security in the cloud.

FAA


Computer scientists are in high demand in the public sector. The Federal Aviation Administration is actively seeking to expand the quality and strength of its software. For example, the FAA relies on cybersecurity technology to keep air travel safe and smooth both at home and abroad.

CGI


A big name in the financial sector, CGI needs skilled computer technicians and engineers to keep software and services updated as the business world expands. In addition to consulting, CGI also works in IT, infrastructure, and cybersecurity.


Netflix


At the intersection of entertainment and digital media, Netflix has evolved into a platform for emerging and established filmmakers, writers, and actors. At its core, Netflix is a media service that relies on talented software engineers to keep up with its growing demand.



Twitter


As one of the largest social media networks in the world, Twitter has also become one of the largest employers in the last 10 years. With a specific focus on making digital connections, Twitter employs data scientists, software engineers, and cloud data engineers among its ever-growing workforce.


Slack


The workforce is adapting to circumstances that require digital mass communication. Companies like Slack have stepped in to help companies easily and efficiently organize across and within departments. Slack uses digital and social media, plus the related skills of computer engineers, to help coworkers connect in their virtual office spaces.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the highest-paid job in computer science?

    With a median annual salary of $122,840 as of 2019, computer and information research scientists earn high average wages while working to expand the field of computer science with new technology designs, platforms, and systems.

  • Is computer science in high demand?

    The BLS projects jobs for experts in computer science to grow significantly from 2019 to 2029. Depending on the career, these jobs are projected to grow 8-31%.

  • What can you do with a computer science degree?

    With a computer science degree, you can work in technological design, maintenance, and analysis, among other areas. Professionals may work for tech companies, government agencies, or in other sectors.

  • Is computer science a good career?

    Yes! High demand for qualified computer science professionals means high projected growth for many careers. These jobs are often lucrative, with average salaries ranging from $80,000 to $130,000.



Feature Image: shironosov / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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