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Computer science is a highly technical field that will require significant education. So what do you need to get started an IT or computer science career? Read this article to learn it.
It’s no secret that the modern world runs on computers. From communication to travel to research and education, technology is an inseparable part of our everyday lives. All that technology, from apps and algorithms to networking and data harvesting, requires people who know how to design and develop that vital infrastructure – and the demand for skilled individuals is ever-growing.
Here are just a few statistics on how fast the field of computer science is growing:
- In the United Kingdom, computer science A-levels have increased by 5% since 2020, with a 9% increase in female students enrolling in an undergraduate degree.
- In the United States, computer-related occupations made up almost 45% of STEM employment in 2015, and is only growing: computer science is a leading STEM major, and computer and IT professions are predicted to grow by 11% by 2029, which is faster than the average growth rate.
- Almost six in ten new jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are related to computer science.
Demand for Computer Scientists in the Job Market
Having established that computer science graduates are more in demand than ever, that leaves the question: exactly what kind of careers are most in demand?
Some of the fastest-growing fields in computer science include:
Artificial intelligence, the field of creating machine coding that mimics human intelligence. AI professionals develop the algorithms and software that guide much of our modern lives, from online shopping to AI chatbots to medicine and scientific research. Artificial intelligence can help identify disease outbreaks, detect bank or credit card fraud, and have revolutionized manufacturing and surveillance. Potential jobs in the field of AI include machine learning engineers, research scientists, deep learning engineers, and algorithm engineers.
Edge computing, which has to do with putting data close to the end-users, as compared to cloud computing, which concentrates on data processing and storage happening far away from the end-user. Edge computing is used in products like self-driving vehicles, video conferencing, and augmented reality. Edge computing is also frequently employed in industries like security, telecommunications, and energy.
Quantum computing, which is the use of computers to solve problems at subatomic levels. Where traditional computing stores data in binary code, quantum computers use quantum bits, allowing them to process data and crunch numbers much faster than their more traditional counterparts.
Robotics is one of the most rapidly expanding fields in computer science, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop robots for a wide variety of purposes, such as food preparation, product delivery, manufacturing, and even farming. Robotics has already seen use in the police and military defusing bombs, as well as in the medical field, performing surgeries too complex for human hands to handle safely.
Educating Yourself for a Career in Computer Science
Obviously, computer science is a highly technical field that will require significant education. So what do you need to get started in an IT or computer science career?
Aspiring software developers usually choose to get a bachelor’s (B.S.) in computer science. This is also true for students who want to go into computer hardware engineering, possibly working in a corporate environment or for high-end research firms. More advanced professions, like information research scientists, may pursue a doctorate or professional degree, to aim for jobs such as database administration and systems management. A graduate degree may be necessary for work in the federal government or for research and development labs.
Those wishing to gain an advantage in their careers – whether just starting out or looking to advance further – can try for a computer science certification, opening the way for some of the higher-paying IT jobs.
But degree holders aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a CS certification. Some CS occupations don’t necessarily require a degree, such as jobs in social media, marketing and content, support, and some design and development jobs. This won’t necessarily lead to the highest-paying jobs in the field, but can be a major advantage in jump-starting your career without getting a degree.
What Does a Career in Computer Science Pay?
As you might expect, the salary range for computer science is higher than the national average. The median annual wage for computer technology and information technology occupations was $91,250 in 2020, as compared to a median wage of $41,950 across all occupations in the US.
Here are what some of the highest-paid occupations in the field of computer science pay:
- Programming analyst ($71,000 / year)
- Tech support engineer ($72,000 / year)
- Systems analyst ($79,000 / year)
- Database developer ($84,000 / year)
- Software developer ($86,000 / year)
- Database administrator ($92,000 / year)
- Front end developer ($102,000 / year)
- Software engineer ($106,000 / year)
- Network security engineer ($115,000 / year)
- Data scientist ($121,000 / year)