Careers with a Computer Science Degree

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As a computer science graduate, you’ll have a multitude of career options in front of you; whether it be finding a dream job with a leading IT company, furthering your research career, or setting out on your own to undertake an entrepreneurial endeavor.

 

 

Undergraduate degree programs in this field serve as great preparation for a variety of interesting and fulfilling careers. Some jobs you may be able to jump right into, while others may require further education and experience.

 

 

Fortunately, if you have a passion to go further academically in your field, you will be in a very strong position to apply to graduate school with a computer science degree.

 

 

This career guide contains detailed occupational information on career paths relevant to this degree. Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other helpful information related to these careers. We’ve also included computer science-specific scholarships to help you pay for school!

 

 

 

 

What Can You Learn in a Computer Science Program?

Typically, the first two years of undergraduate degree programs in this field involve learning the fundamentals of various mathematical and computer science concepts, as well as practical techniques. During this time, you are also introduced to the core areas of computer science:

 

• Software engineering

• Graphics

• Multimedia

• Networks

• Databases

• Artificial intelligence

 

During the final years of study, you’ll take upper level courses that build on these concepts and techniques, allowing you to explore more advanced concepts and further develop your technical skills. During this time, you may also choose an area of specialization within the field of computer science; depending on which areas you’re interested in.

 

Many undergraduate computer science degree programs involve hands-on experience, where you’re taught practical skills such as the appropriate use of equipment.

 

Major projects may also be a requirement. These projects may or may not involve the supervision of a Computer Science department faculty member. These projects allow you to directly apply the knowledge and skill set you gain through coursework and hands-on work.

 

Success Tip: Not all computer science programs are the same. Do you research on computer science programs, in order to ensure that you get a quality education that fits your needs.

 

 

Why Computer Science is Important

Computer Science graduates and professionals play a key role in the expansion of horizons in science and technology by providing ever more powerful computing capabilities. They can only accomplish this by having a thorough understanding of how to design and build computers, how to program them to do useful tasks, and how to create them in a way that allows us to interact with them effectively.

 

The classroom-based coursework, practical work, project-based work and co-op work opportunities that typically compose a computer science degree program at the university level are designed to provide you with the skills to become proficient in the conceptual and practical areas of computer science. These skills are employable in a wide variety of careers.

 

 

List of Careers Relevant to This Degree

The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying computer science at the university level serve as an excellent foundation for the following careers (not even close to an inclusive list):

 

Actuary

Aerospace Engineer

Air Traffic Controller

Application Architect

Applications Analyst

Applications Programmer

Astronaut

Blogger

Business Analyst

Chief Information Officer

Clinical Data Analyst

Compensation and Benefits Coordinator

Computational Linguist

Computer Programmer

Computer Scientist

Computer Service Technician

Contract Administrator

Cost Estimator

Cryptographer

Cryptologist

Cyber Security Specialist

Data Analyst

Data Processing Director

Database Administrator

Database Marketing Analyst

Electronic Data Processing Auditor

Elementary School Teacher

Embedded Software Engineer

Energy Efficiency Engineer

Entrepreneur

Financial Analyst

Flash Programmer

Geomatics Plan Technician

Graphic Designer

Helicopter Pilot

High School Teacher

Information Systems Consultant

• Information Systems Designer

Instructional Technology Specialist

Inventory Control Specialist

IT Analyst

IT Manager

Java Developer

• Military Officer

Multimedia Programmer

Network Architect

• Network Engineer

PHP Developer

Quality Control Specialist

Quantitative Analyst

• Project Analyst

Records Manager

Research Assistant

Retail Sales Associate

Robotics Technologist

Sales Representative

Software Engineer

Statistician

Systems Administrator

Systems Integration Engineer

Technical Coordinator

Technical Support Specialist

Technical Writer

• Telecommunications Technician

Test Engineer

Transportation Planner

University Professor

User Interface Designer

Video Game Audio Programmer

Video Game Developer

Visual Effects Artist

Web Designer

Webmaster

 

Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.

 


 

Job Postings Related to Your Degree!

Whether you're a student looking for a job to help you pay for school, or a graduate looking for an entry or mid-level job, our job board has opportunities directly and indirectly related to computer science.

 

Find Computer Science Related Job Opportunities

 

 


 

 

 

Diversifying Your Skill Set: Consider a Double Major

The field of computer science is one that is collaborative by nature. Some of the most innovative and exciting progress in the field is occurring as a result of combining knowledge of computer science with that of other fields.

 

For example, computer science is changing the way biological research is conducted in fundamental ways, leading to a new field called bioinformatics, which is essentially a hybrid of biology and computer science. Advances in computer science are also making it possible to study problems in physics, chemistry, geology and economics, problems that would have been very difficult to solve otherwise.

 

This collaboration between this field and others is largely acknowledged at the university level, as many computer science programs in Canada and the United States allow students to “dual major” in computer science and a complimentary field. These “dual majors” can lead to some interesting and unique computer science careers and opportunities. For example:

 

• A dual-major with biology can lead to a career in bioinformatics.

• A dual-major with economics will help solve problems in economics via computer simulation.

• A dual-major with fine arts can lead to a career in animation, or other forms of media design.

• A dual-major with political science or criminal justice can lead to a career in security and information policy.

• A dual-major with business can lead to some types of IT (Information Technology) careers.

 

 

 

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Average Salary Levels of Graduates

The salary you could earn with this degree varies based on a wide variety of factors, such as:
 
• The type, size, budget and discretion of your employer
• Your level of education, such as if you have a graduate degree
• Your level of certification (if applicable)
• The region in which you work 
• How much overtime you’re able to work (if applicable)
• The amount of responsibility inherent in your position
• Your level of experience (it’s worth noting that people with several years worth of experience can often earn substantially more in their profession than what’s listed below)
 
The salary you could earn as a computer science graduate is also highly dependent on the specific occupational field you pursue. Below is an overview of the average earnings of people in a few career fields that are directly or indirectly relevant to a degree in this field.

 

Please note however, that some careers may require additional education and training, and the salary information listed below for all of these careers is meant only to serve as a guideline. In many cases, workers in these fields can earn a much lower, or much higher salary, than what is listed below!

 

 

Actuary
Alberta: $93,273 (ALIS)
Canada: $68,693 (indeed)
United States: $101,560 (BLS)

 

Air Traffic Controller
Alberta: $101,122 (ALIS)
Canada: $101,122 (ALIS - nationally regulated position)
United States: $122,950 (BLS)

 

Application Architect
See “Computer Programmer”

 

Applications Programmer
See “Computer Programmer”

 

Astronaut
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $91,300 to $178,400 (Canadian Space Agency)
United States: $66,026 to $144,566 (NASA)

 

Business Analyst
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $77,935 (indeed)
United States: $72,591 (indeed)

 

Chief Information Officer
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $179,329 (Glassdoor)
United States: $144,467 (PayScale)


Computer Programmer
Alberta: $81,552 (ALIS)
Canada: $64,920 (indeed)
United States: $79,840 (BLS)

 

Computer Scientist
Alberta: $93,877 (ALIS)
Canada: $84,180 (indeed)
United States: $114,520 (BLS)

 

Computer Service Technician
Alberta: $58,749 (ALIS)
Canada: $41,340 (indeed)
United States: $29,820 (indeed)

 

Cost Estimator
Alberta: $75,167 (ALIS)
Canada: $64,850 (indeed)
United States: $64,166 (indeed)

 

Cryptographer
Alberta: $87,074 (ALIS)
Canada: $86,543 (PayScale)
United States: $106,804 (indeed)

 

Cyber Security Specialist
Alberta: $87,074 (ALIS)
Canada: $88,991 (indeed)
United States: $95,510 (BLS)

 

Data Analyst
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $52,048 (indeed)
United States: $64,493 (indeed)

 

Database Administrator
Alberta: $85,996 (ALIS)
Canada: $66,237 (PayScale)
United States: $87,020 (BLS)

 

Electronic Data Processing Auditor
Alberta: $75,474 (ALIS)
Canada: $69,846 (PayScale)
United States: $69,350 (BLS)

 

Energy Efficiency Engineer
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $91,799 (indeed)
United States:$82,839 (indeed)

 

Financial Analyst
Alberta: $91,993 (ALIS)
Canada: $64,175 (indeed)
United States: $84,300 (BLS)

 

Flash Programmer
See “Computer Programmer”

 

Graphic Designer
Alberta: $58,099 (ALIS)
Canada: $40,980 (indeed)
United States: $48,700 (BLS)

 

Helicopter Pilot
Alberta: $64,265 (ALIS)
Canada: $61,152 (PayScale)
United States: $89,002 (Glassdoor)

 

Inventory Control Specialist
Alberta: N/A
Canada: N/A
United States: $74,590 (BLS)

 

IT Manager
Alberta: $111,460 (ALIS)
Canada: $98,179 (Glassdoor)
United States: $139,220 (BLS)

 

Java Developer
See “Computer Programmer”

 

Network Architect
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $88,323 (Glassdoor)
United States: $104,650 (BLS)

 

PHP Developer
See “Computer Programmer”

 

Quantitative Analyst
Alberta: $91,993 (ALIS)
Canada: $73,698 (PayScale)
United States: $84,300 (BLS)

 

Robotics Technologist
Alberta: $70,560 (ALIS)
Canada: $69,787 (PayScale)
United States: $56,740 (BLS)

 

Sales Representative - Technical
Alberta: $72,229 (ALIS)
Canada: $65,788 (Canada)
United States: $78,830 (BLS)

 

Statistician
Alberta: $93,273 (ALIS)
Canada: N/A
United States: $84,060 (BLS)

 

Systems Administrator
Alberta: $76,380 (ALIS)
Canada: $66,788 (indeed)
United States: $81,100 (BLS)

 

Technical Support Specialist
Alberta: $68,632 (ALIS)
Canada: N/A
United States: $52,810 (BLS)

 

Technical Writer
Alberta: $58,979 (ALIS)
Canada: $56,634 (PayScale)
United States: $57,549 (BLS)

 

Telecommunications Technician
Alberta: $60,740 (ALIS)
Canada: $42,920 (indeed)
United States: $53,380 (BLS)

 

Transportation Planner
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $56,105 (PayScale)
United States: $61,426 (Glassdoor)

 

User Interface Designer
See “Web Designer”

 

Video Game Audio Programmer
See “Video Game Developer”

 

Video Game Developer
Alberta: $81,552 (ALIS)
Canada: N/A
United States: $70,530 (BLS)

 

Visual Effects Artist
Alberta: $58,099 (ALIS)
Canada: N/A
United States: $63,970 (BLS)

 

Web Designer
Alberta: $75,380 (ALIS)
Canada: $45,539 (indeed)
United States: $67,990 (BLS)

 

Webmaster
Alberta: $67,808 (ALIS)
Canada: $47,909 (PayScale)
United States: $51,543 (indeed)

 

The name in brackets next to the salary data for each region is the sources from which the data was obtained. Please note, the salary data that is sourced from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) represents median salary figures, rather than average salary figures, unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Salary Data References

ALIS: Alberta Learning and Information Service (alis.alberta.ca), sponsored by the Government of Alberta. For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.
PayScale: Private organization owned by PayScale Incorporated (payscale.com). For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.
BLS: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), sponsored by the federal government of the United States of America. For details regarding their salary survey methodology, please visit here.
Glassdoor: Glassdoor is a private organization owned by Glassdoor incorporated (glassdoor.com). For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

 

 

Relevant Scholarships

If you’re a computer science major looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck! Our scholarships database has Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to computer science, scholarships for science students in general, and scholarships that are open to any field of study.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.

 

 

 

Professional Associations

To find out more about careers directly related to your degree, consult the following professional association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have opportunities for student membership, as well as job placement and mentoring opportunities.

 

Canada

Canadian Association of Computer Science

Computer Science Canada

Canada's Association of I.T. Professionals

Canadian Society for Computational Studies of Intelligence

 

United States

American Association for Artificial Intelligence

American Society for Cybernetics

American Society for Information Science

Association for Information Systems

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

 

 


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