The Top Career Paths for Computer Science Degree Holders

A computer science degree can yield rewarding results. With the boom of the technological age, computer scientists are in high demand. As technology grows, the demand for skilled and knowledgeable computer experts will only grow. There are many great career paths in the field, and choosing the right one depends on your skill set and career plans.

Database Administrators

Almost all of the Web is made up of databases. Anytime you search for a product in an online catalog, find your favorite show on a network website or search for a recipe, you are accessing a database. Database managers maintain these networks of information, keeping them current and accurate. Many database managers work onsite at large companies, helping to maintain systems and update them with new information. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a database administrator was $73,490 in 2010. That number is only expected to grow as the industry is experiencing a shortage of skilled administrators.

Software Developers

These titans create software that we use every day, both online and off. Software developers may create programs for chain supermarkets, streamlining the checkout process. They may also create software for use in mobile phones and applications. Software developers also write code and customize applications for use across multiple industries. They often work on staff at companies, but many are entrepreneurs who own their own development companies. Software developers earn an average salary of $90,530, according to statistical labor data.

Information Technology (IT) Directors and Managers

IT directors manage all of the inner workings of a company’s software and technological functions. They often troubleshoot software issues, update and upgrade programs and manage databases. IT managers usually work with software, rather than hardware systems, but there are some that carry out both functions. The median salary for IT directors was $115,780 in 2010. Growth in the area has been slow, although there are still more specialists needed than there are available talent.

Computer Engineers

Engineers keep all of the working parts functioning, stepping in to solve common hardware issues. Computer engineers work on issues such as circuits, motherboards and routers. They also find new ways to expand the functions of existing hardware. Computer engineers often work on staff at large firms, but many work independently as on-call technicians. Computer engineers earn a competitive wage for their work, with the top earners commanding salaries of $98,810, on average.

Web Developers

In short, Web developers build the Internet. They create dynamic websites that disseminate information, perform basic tasks and fuel e-commerce. Web developers often manage the speed and bandwidth of the site while performing other essential functions like writing code. Web developers are the most likely in the field to work independently, and many own their own companies. The demand for quality Web development is only growing as companies seek to expand and grow online. Web developers earn an average income of $75,660 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Quantitative Research Analysts

Quantitative research analysts are in charge of crunching the numbers in the organization and making them work in conjunction with the company’s IT(information technology) function. The position is part auditor, part statistician. These financial computer professionals develop proprietary software for insurance companies, banks and wealth management firms. Salaries vary widely in the field, with the top earners bringing in starting salaries of over $90,000.

Chief Technology Officers

The chief technology officer is the top of the food chain when it comes to implementing and managing a company’s technology needs. The CTO is often in charge of managing the research and development team, the senior engineers and compliance professionals. The CTO is also directly responsible for all of the intellectual property of the company and may appoint teams to deal with the company’s trade secrets, patents and licenses. The CTO’s job is varied and complex, and compensation reflects this level of responsibility. The median salary for a CTO in 2010 was $151,490.

There are many great career paths for motivated computer science degree holders. Technology is only growing, and salaries are following suit. From engineers to IT techs, the field is growing and skilled professionals are more in demand than ever before.