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Which Computer Science Career Is Right for Me?

A dedicated female programmer works diligently

Computer science is an expansive field, constantly evolving and in need of new minds ready to explore and broaden the world of technology. With the high demand for computer science experts and the diverse range of job opportunities in the field, pursuing a computer science degree offers versatility and rewarding prospects.

Because every graduate degree requires a large investment of time and money, those considering a graduate degree want to feel confident their degree will pay off. Those considering a master’s degree in computer science might wonder: Is a computer science degree worth it? What can you do with a computer science degree? What careers can I pursue post-graduation?

With how large the field of computer science is, it can be overwhelming to navigate which career path is best for you post-graduation. To begin answering questions about the career paths for computer science graduate students, let’s explore a handful of fields that exist within the computer science industry. 

Computer Science Career Paths After Earning your Master’s Degree

Nearly every domain of work needs a computer science expert. From corporate companies to small businesses to educational settings, skills such as computing, problem-solving, and attention to detail are needed across the board. 

Jobs in the arena of computer and information technology occupations are expected to grow 15% between 2021-2031. There are jobs for every area of interest or specialized skill a computer science student might have. Here are five popular fields of work within the realm of computer science. 

Fields of Computer Science

- Data Science and Analytics:

The field of data science and analytics covers everything related to informational data in computer sciences. Professionals in this field might find jobs building data models, analyzing and processing existing data, or optimizing data collection for organizations. 

- Software Engineering and Development:

This diverse field involves the design and delivery of all kinds of software and applications. Usually, software engineering deals with larger-scale computer systems while development deals with smaller, more specific applications and software. 

- Cybersecurity:

As technology rapidly advances, so does the need to be able to safely use technology. The realm of cybersecurity focuses on preventing data corruption and protecting sensitive information in computer systems. Roles in this field fight against cyberattacks on networks, systems, and software.

- Artificial Intelligence:

Perhaps one of the most quickly evolving fields in modern technology, artificial intelligence, or AI, deals with the intelligence of machines, specifically regarding their problem-solving, decision-making, and computation abilities. Professionals in this field teach machines how to perform these tasks and optimize their outcomes. 

- Human Systems Integration:

The field of human systems integration focuses on making computer systems as accessible and efficient as possible with human capabilities and limitations in mind. This means refining technological systems and operations to help the human roles of technology, like operators or designers, run smoothly. 

Computer Science Career Paths

Since we’ve explored some of the broad fields within the domain of computer science, it’s time to dive into some specific roles that computer science graduate students find themselves filling. No matter where your strengths lie, there is a computer science career for you. Below are a handful of the dozens of computer science career paths for graduates who possess a master’s in computer science.

Computer Network Architect

Professionals in this field typically work with the communications side of computer science. Network architects are responsible for drafting and creating communication networks such as local area networks, wide area networks, and Intranets. 

On average, a computer network architect with a master’s degree makes $118,608 yearly. 

Computer and Information Systems Manager

This role takes on a more high-level position within the computer sciences. Computer and information systems managers are in charge of all computer-related operations. They oversee and coordinate computer activities for efficient technological systems and usage.

Jobs for this role are expected to grow 16% between 2021-2031 and the average annual salary for this position with a master’s degree is $152,387.

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts monitor security systems for organizations, watching for and investigating security breaches. These analysts also implement and optimize security software to keep important information safe, making them vital to any company’s success. 

The job outlook for information security analysts is projected to grow 35% between 2021-2031, and the yearly average salary for this position with a master’s degree is $108,084.

Software Developer

Software developers cover a wide range of computer science needs. They design and build applications and software systems with particular attention to the needs of users. They also use software testing after an application or software is launched to ensure smooth functioning. 

Those in this position can expect to make around $92,617 yearly with a master’s degree, and this field has a projected growth of 25% between 2021-2031

Database Administrator

Another high-level computer science position, database administrators specialize in optimal usage of databases for organizations. They are responsible for testing, editing, and implementing databases for companies. They monitor databases for smooth performance and oversee database backup to prevent memory loss.

Database administrators with a master’s degree make around $92,811 per year, and the number of jobs in this position is expected to grow 9% between 2021-2031.

Computer Systems Analyst

These analysts test computer systems, gather informational data, analyze outcomes, and use their analyses to design better computer systems. This might include changing a system’s memory, storage, or computing power for optimal performance.

The average computer systems analyst’s salary with a master’s degree is $92,818 with a projected growth rate of 9% between 2021-2031.

Computer Programmer: Computer programmers ensure that all computer software and applications run smoothly. They are experts in computer coding, working to write, edit, and test codes for the optimal performance of computer programs. They usually work in office settings, often specifically in the industry of computer systems design.

The average salary for a computer programmer with a master’s degree is $75,184

Earn Your Computer Science Master’s Online

Earning a master’s in computer science is a valuable investment for your educational and professional future. And at Vanderbilt University, you can earn your entire master’s of computer science online. 

Vanderbilt University’s online master’s in computer science focuses on the application of computer science and software engineering concepts across technical subject areas. Students learn from expert faculty, work through individual and collaborative projects, and explore interdisciplinary subjects like AI, human systems integration, cyber physical systems, and more. Students also graduate with an impressive professional portfolio to showcase their work to future employers.

Vanderbilt’s fully online program offers a number of unique benefits to master’s students. Our online engineering degrees include a diverse collaborative community, live-streamed classes accessible from mobile and desktop devices, online office hours with expert faculty, and self-paced course content in a curriculum that can be completed in as few as 12 months. 

If you know Vanderbilt is the next step for your future, you can start your application today. If you want to keep learning about Vanderbilt’s online M.S. in computer science, we invite you to explore the program, request more information, read course descriptions, and more by clicking below.

Discover Vanderbilt’s Online M.S. in Computer Science

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