Areas of Computer Science
Many different career paths are available to computer science majors with specific areas of study, some of which are described below.
Computer architecture – the actual designing and building of computers with all their components
Computer graphics – images and visual effects done on and/or for the computer; does not include text
Computer animation – designing and creating moving images on and sometimes for the computer
Parallel computing – breaking down large problems into smaller, easier to handle issues resolved by computing the calculation of multiple solutions at once
Robotics – creating robots to perform everyday tasks or specific jobs for faster production turnaround
How to Get Your Degree in Computer Science
Whether you’re in search of your bachelors degree in computer science or interested in extending your education to a masters degree or doctoral degree, many schools exist at where you can achieve your goals. It’s just a matter of choosing which school best fits you. Do you want to stay local for your higher education, or would you like to travel?
The California Institute of Technology, more commonly known as Caltech, is number one on the list of Top 25 Ranked Computer Science Programs with the Best Return on Investment (ROI). An institution well-known for its impressive blend of research with education, Caltech offers students and faculty the opportunity to work side by side in order to collaborate on research projects and discover new information in the world of science. The teacher-student ratio is a rare 1:3, allowing students to receive a more personal educational experience which often contributes to the amount of knowledge gained in the time it takes for students to earn their computer science degrees.
The Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA, is another of the top public schools with a highly-rated computer science program. Their School of Computer Science offers fantastic courses involving a variety of components of the subject and an opportunity to expand your researching abilities and problem-solving capabilities. Here, students can earn more specific types of computer science degrees. See the website for more information.
Cornell University‘s computer science program in Ithaca, NY, is number 10 on the Top 25 list. As a private Ivy League university, Cornell is known to have high standards and to provide top quality education. The university’s computer science department offers courses in all sorts of interesting things for both undergraduate students and graduate students alike, like Computing in the Arts and Introduction to Computer Game Architecture. The school also offers research opportunities in areas like robotics and computer architecture, as well.
Choosing a school isn’t always easy, but it would be wise to apply to at least three universities and/or institutes before graduating high school.
Careers in Computer Science
Because the field is always growing, career opportunities in computer science are always expanding. Choosing a career that utilizes your computer science education, no matter what level career that may be, will allow you to earn a more than comfortable living right from the start.
Entry Level Computer Science Careers
Computer science is a high-tech, detail-oriented subject; therefore, all jobs require candidates with patience and who pay strict attention to detail. Most introductory jobs focus on computer programing knowledge and often provide opportunities for advancement. Computer science is not always easy, but it is very interesting and highly rewarding.
Database managers design and create database programs and put together troubleshooting information for those programs. They also design and create methods to keep database applications protected. In order to be a database manager, you should have sufficient knowledge in computer programming and good people skills. Good communication is important for a person in this position because he or she is expected to prepare reports regularly informing the technical management department of the database performance and if there are any issues that need to be addressed.
A person entering the database management position out of college can make $37,000 to start, but the average salary for this position based on experience and knowledge is approximately $65,000 a year.
Computer Systems Analyst
With a job as a computer systems analyst, you will work alongside of business professionals and other computer experts in an effort to create computer systems that advance and improve production of a given business. You will focus on the use of databases and networks in addition to the internet in order to better assess said systems, and you will analyze those systems’ expected return on investment (ROI).
Computer systems analysts can earn between $49,000 and $53,000 or more a year.
Computer Software Engineer
Software engineers need to know the ins and outs of computer programming in order to fulfill their duties. They are often responsible for keeping up with software in order to ensure its performance is up to par. Since the engineers are so familiar with the software, it is not uncommon for them to train people how to use it properly, which requires excellent reasoning and communication skills. Software engineers are also in charge of writing operating manuals for the software to make the software easier to understand for its users.
Computer software engineers can make around $54,000 to over $80,000 annually.
Advanced Careers in Computer Science
A lot of the fun and exciting career paths lay in wait as you continue your education in the field of computer science. Just check out some of these high-paying opportunities that lie ahead.
If you understand computer programming languages, you’re most likely very familiar with Java. Java developers use this language to determine the type and quality of system protection. They focus on providing users with applications to make their computer experiences positive while making programs easy to understand and control. Java developers are responsible for testing Java code they have written in order to confirm the reliability and performance of their applications and software components.
Java developers can make an average of approximately $72,000 annually.
Information Technology ConsultantInformation technology (IT) consultants use their knowledge in everything from computer programming to data and analysis in order to solve IT issues for companies around the world. They often work with consulting firms that spend time in the field physically, fixing IT problems of clients (that may include individuals or companies) within a specific jurisdiction or across the globe. They are experts at performing computer maintenance when necessary.
Information technology consultants are capable of making around $74,000 a year.
Ever think about getting involved with animated movies? If you’re interested in working with computer animation, this is the career for you. Help people’s storyline dreams come to life through computer animation. Make a writer’s dream your reality by introducing imaginary characters and worlds to reality in animated films. Find a second home at an animation studio like DreamWorks or Pixar. How fantastic would it be to help bring to life the next Disney Princess by landing a job at Walt Disney Animation Studio? But computer animation isn’t just restricted to movies. It can include designing advertisements, television series, and especially video games. The choice is yours.
Join a computer animation team as a computer animator and you could make over $80,000 a year.
Companies that Hire Individuals with Computer Science Degrees
Now that you’ve read up on a variety of areas of study and career paths in the field of computer science, you may be thinking, “What companies can I work for with my computer science degree?” Below is a short list of just a few employers who don’t hesitate to hire a person with a computer science degree who knows technology like the back of his or her hand.
Georgia Institute of Technology – located in Atlanta, GA; offers positions for computer science course professors
Walt Disney Animation Studios – located in Burbank, CA; creates new worlds for children of all ages, big and small; offers positions in software engineering, animation, visual development, etc.
IT Solutions Consulting, Inc. – located in Fort Washington, PA; offers positions for IT consultants and more
Select Staffing – founded in 1984; headquarters in Schaumburg, IL; offers positions in the computer science and engineering fields
Opportunities in the field of computer science are constantly popping up. If you’re looking for a job that will keep you busy from the time you come in until the end of the day that involves anything computer related, this is your field. There is never a dull moment, and the pay even for individuals who just completed their degree in computer science is unbeatable. Be smart. Check other career paths and companies in the field, as well; and don’t forget to apply to as many schools as you can.