What Can I Do With a Computer Science Degree

Programming

Areas

  • Systems
  • Scientific Applications
  • Business Applications: Intelligence, Warehousing, Information Delivery, Maintenance
  • Project Management

Employers

  • Computer vendors
  • Software and computer companies
  • Any large organization including: Banks, retail chains, manufacturers, universities, and government agencies
  • Management consulting firms
  • Contract and temporary employers
  • Research laboratories

Strategies

  • Gain relevant experience through internships or co-ops.
  • Develop an attention to detail and a flair for creativity.
  • Learn to work well with a team and to meet deadlines.
  • Supplement computer degree with courses in business, science, or engineering.
  • Stay current on programming languages.
  • Earn a master's degree for upper level positions.
  • Seek the Certified Computing Professional designation by completing a series of exams and experiential requirements.

Systems Development

Areas

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Support
  • Quality Assurance
  • Specialty Systems: Database, Client-Server, Expert

Employers

  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Consulting firms
  • Manufacturers
  • Local, state, and federal government
  • Computer companies
  • Research institutions

Strategies

Develop strong interpersonal skills. Learn to communicate effectively with technical and non-technical colleagues. Gain programming experience. Many analysts begin their careers as programmers. Become an effective problem solver. Take business courses. Earn an M.B.A. degree for advanced positions.
Plan to continually educate self on new computer languages and technology.

Network Technologies

Areas

  • Installation and Maintenance
  • Administration

Employers

  • Variety of organizations and industries

Strategies

Work in university computer labs. Develop good communication skills and an interest in helping others. Gain knowledge in a variety of computer areas including minor programming, software, and hardware. Stay abreast of the latest technology and software. Earn certifications in networking and computer security.

Internet

Areas

  • Programming
  • Software Design
  • Systems Analysis
  • Hardware Production
  • Web Page Design

Employers

  • Network access points
  • Backbone operators
  • Online service providers
  • Internet service providers
  • Computer/equipment vendors
  • Internet-related companies including: Browsers, Search engines, Website design services
  • Large businesses

Strategies

Gain experience as a webmaster through part-time jobs, internships, or volunteering to design web pages for student organizations. Learn web-related programming languages. Take graphic design courses to develop creativity.
Learn to communicate and work well with others in a team by participating in group projects or student organizations. Earn a master's degree in computer science for advanced opportunities in programming, analysis, or hardware/software design.

Consulting

Areas

  • System Installation
  • System Implementation
  • Training

Employers

  • Consulting firms
  • Self-employed

Strategies

Obtain a strong technical knowledge of computers, a background in business management, and experience as a systems analyst. Learn various programming languages and operating systems. Develop exceptional analytical and interpersonal skills.

Education

Areas

  • Teaching
  • Instructional Technology

Employers

  • Public and private schools, K-12
  • Colleges and universities

Strategies

Certification required for public school teaching. Earn a doctoral degree in computer science for post-secondary teaching. Earn a graduate degree in information technology or a related field for instructional technology.
Develop a research specialty for university teaching. Gain experience working with other students through tutoring or positions in computer labs.

Non-Technical

Areas

  • Customer/Product Support
  • Technical Writing
  • Sales and Marketing

Employers

  • Software/hardware manufacturers
  • Retail stores
  • Software vendors

Strategies

Develop excellent communication skills and an interest in helping customers solve problems. Work in university computer labs. Supplement curriculum with technical writing courses to develop skills. Seek related work experiences.

General Information

  • Complete informational interviews with current computer science professionals to help establish career goals.
  • Having related experience is critical to most employers that hire computer science majors. Obtain an internship, co-op, or part-time job in a relevant area to increase employability.
  • Obtain vendor specific certifications or networking certifications to gain a competitive edge.
  • Develop strong interpersonal, communication, and other "soft skills." Learn to work well on a team.
  • Programming and consulting may go hand-in-hand. Many occupations in these areas have responsibilities that overlap.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer