What Jobs Can You Get With a Computer Science Degree?

Computer science degrees lead to lucrative and rewarding careers in a wide variety of fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and IT occupations are projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030.

Due to the increasing demand of technology in businesses, many companies are in dire need of computer science graduates to assist with programming, web development, data communication, security and more. Let's take a look at some of the popular careers offered to computer science professionals.

Systems Analyst

Systems analysts play an integral role in communicating between IT and non-IT stakeholders. Not only do systems analysts thoroughly research emerging trends in technology, they also design and implement technology solutions and test and improve computer systems and networks. Some other common responsibilities of the systems analyst include:

  • Analyze the costs to purchase new computer systems
  • Train clients and internal teams on new and existing systems
  • Consistently run tests on computer systems and troubleshoot any errors
  • Provide time frames on updating existing systems or integrating new systems

To be successful in this role, systems analysts should be able to demonstrate a strong understanding of programming languages and be able to effectively communicate to stakeholders how their computer systems can significantly improve business. While this role is highly technical, it's important that systems analysts have good interpersonal skills, are quick learners, can comprehend and discuss new technologies and are able to adapt to change.

Solutions Architect

Solutions architects often work closely with enterprise architects and network architects. Solutions architects focus on designing applications for businesses and typically discuss with the development team how these applications will make an impact. Not only do solutions architects need a clear understanding of how the applications will solve a problem but they are also highly involved in the development and implementation processes.

Some of the main tasks performed by a solutions architect include:

  • Working with internal and external stakeholders on budgets, deadlines, and updating them on any complications
  • Identifying and eliminate any performance, UX, and security risks
  • Creating a collaboration framework
  • Discussing best practice for new technologies with the team
  • Notifying stakeholders of any new features

Successful solutions architects have strong skills in both software engineering and design architecture. They are also effective communicators, analytical thinkers, highly organized and have in-depth knowledge of cloud computing.

Software Engineer or Developer

Software Engineer

Software engineers apply various engineering principles to the development, maintenance, design, testing and evaluation of software. One of the main responsibilities of the software engineer is to modify software applications that already exist within an organization as well as create entirely new software applications.

Important technical skills for this career include:

  • Coding and computer programming (e.g., Javascript, C++, Ruby, Python and SQL)
  • Debugging and software testing
  • Object-oriented design
  • Software development

Software engineers are excellent problem-solvers, possess strong written and oral communication skills, and can provide an in-depth analysis on complex information.

Software Developer

Software developers also have a strong knowledge of programming languages such as JavaScript, ASP.NET and Python, which allow them to update, debug and write software. The responsibilities of this role can vary depending on the organization but typically software developers are in charge of developing upgrades for applications and monitoring the performance of new and existing applications.

programming language

Software Engineer vs Software Developer

Although software engineers and software developers share many responsibilities, there are some important distinctions.

  • Software engineers build applications and programs. Software developers handle design and implementation.
  • Software engineers are usually part of a team. Software developers often work independently.
  • Software engineers create tools to build software. Software developers use available tools to create apps.
  • Software engineers consider the big picture which allows them to think more systematically. Software developers tend to be more creative because they are performing functions on a limited scale.

Both software engineer and software developer positions offer a flexible work/life balance and competitive salary. Nearly every industry is in need of a software developer or engineer, making these two of the most in-demand careers. Industries ranging from technology to healthcare to aerospace, are all in need of software developers and engineers.

Web Developer

Many computer science graduates take on roles as web developers where they can choose to pursue back-end development, front-end development or full-stack development.

Back-end, Front-end and Full-stack Developers

Back-end developers write code and create a website's structure, while front-end developers focus on the visual components of the site. They do this by enhancing the site's structure with Javascript and HTML. A full-stack developer combines the responsibilities of both the back-end and front-end, often working at smaller organizations that may not be ready for a large web team.

Mastering the skills below will help you become a successful web developer:

  • Learning how to code: Consider HTML, PHP, cascading style sheets, Python, Java and Ruby.
  • Understanding the development of responsive design: Web developers should be able to create websites that can adjust to various screen sizes.
  • Technical SEO (search engine optimization): Web design and development can affect the website's organic ranking.
  • Controlling the source code: Being able to adjust source code without completely starting over is integral to the role of a web developer.
  • How web design affects marketing: While web developers often correspond with web designers, it’s important to understand how white space, font sizing and image placement affect the website.

Many web developers create an online portfolio to detail these incredible skills. This is an excellent way to grab the attention of future employers.

Network or Systems Administrator

Network Administrator

Network administrators are responsible for ensuring their company's network is up-to-date. Businesses with multiple software platforms are always in need of a network administrator to connect the various systems.

Wiring at engineering lab

Some of the key responsibilities of the network administrator include:

  • Troubleshooting data networks
  • Correcting network issues and equipment failure
  • Configuring cables, routers, servers, switches, etc.
  • Assisting with spam filters and phishing scams

Systems Administrator

The role of the system administrator is a bit different than the network administrator, although in some smaller organizations, these roles can be interchangeable. While the network administrator configures local area networks, the system administrators often work with the hardware and software. This role usually includes data recovery, hardware and software maintenance, as well as installation.

Network Administrator vs Systems Administrator

Systems administrators and network administrators are important roles within the IT department. Both of these positions require strong problem-solving skills and an advanced knowledge of scripting languages, cloud computing and hardware installation. However, let's take a look at what makes these positions different.

  • Network administrators use network hardware such as ethernet hubs and network gateways. Systems administrators work with mainframes, tower servers, mother boards and cable power supplies.
  • Network administrators focus on how computers work together in a network. Systems administrators focus on computer software and hardware.
  • Network administrators install and configure WAN and LAN. Systems administrators install software and updates.

Whether you choose to pursue a career as a systems administrator or a network administrator, you'll have plenty of opportunities. Administrator roles can lead to a variety of job titles such as IT Director, IT Manager, IT Specialist and Systems Engineer.

Network Engineer or Architect

Network Engineer

Network engineers are an integral part of any company and hold a lot of responsibility. Their main role is to design, set up and manage computer networks in their organization. When a network is offline, network engineers are responsible for getting the network back up. They also provide regular maintenance and upgrades and enhance the current network performance.

Network Architect

Network architects look for opportunities where data communication networks would be beneficial for an organization. Often collaborating with the chief information officer, network architects can determine areas that will potentially need new networks. Not only are network architects responsible for the design of the networks, they also build the data communication networks. It's vital for network architects to be aware of any potential security vulnerabilities while designing the networks and they should be proactive about implementing security prior to installation.

Additional responsibilities of the network architect typically include:

  • Upgrading routers, adapters, and software
  • Collaborating with computer systems engineers on building the networks
  • Repairing and maintaining network equipment
  • Planning the layout and execution of the cables

It's important for the network architect to be analytical, organized, detailed, and have strong leadership skills as they'll be overseeing the design and execution of the network.

Network Architect vs Network Engineer

Although the roles of the network engineer and network architect often overlap, there are some major differences.

  • Network engineers focus on implementing the networks. Network architects' main objective is to design the networks and communicate with outside parties.
  • Network engineers execute the project. Network architects ensure the designs meet all requirements.
  • Network engineers work closely with the internal network team. Network architects usually communicate with upper-level management.

How JWU's Computer Science Degree Can Jump-start Your Career

JWU students earning a bachelor's degree in computer science can choose to specialize in software engineering or network engineering. In these classes, students learn how to design, develop and analyze software and hardware. Students can also join our incredible Computer Science Competition team and Association of Computing & Machinery (ACM) chapter where they compete on a national and regional level!

JWU's college of engineering lab

Our passionate faculty helps teach students about a variety of topics such as logic, functions, relations, algorithms, sets and more. They then apply these skills to the latest advancements in software programming, networking, system design, computer science and project management.Through state-of-the-art industry focused computer labs and classrooms, students can work with micro mills, 3D printers, laser engravers and vinyl cutters.

What Makes Our Computer Science Program Unique

One of the many perks of JWU’s computer science program is that our professors also have years of industry experience, allowing them to teach updated techniques which are critical to the evolving and changing world of computer science. With the average class size of 15 students, professors are able to dedicate more time and attention to the needs of each student. JWU also steers away from large lecture halls offering computer science majors plenty of hands-on learning.

What Are JWU Students Saying?

In a recent group vote among JWU students in this major, Computer Science II (CSIS 1112) was ranked as their favorite course. CSIS 112 provides an introduction to the study of important algorithms, and students learn how to design with appropriate data structures (Advanced Data Types — ADTs) and classic algorithms.

"Overall, I love the Cyber program for its small class sizes while also having a lot of hands-on labs that allow us to collaborate with our fellow classmates."
-Sabrina Storey, Cyber Threat Intelligence & Defense, Junior 

Sabrina also notes that Software Reverse Engineering (CYB 311) is one of her favorite classes.

Some other exciting JWU computer science courses include:

  • Survey of Programming Languages: Learn about the evolution of programming languages, including their efficiency and effectiveness. Gain an understanding of concepts common to all programming languages.
  • Network Protocols I: Get introduced to methods of developing protocols and develop a basic understanding of the software paradigms used to construct protocols.
  • Systems Modeling & Simulation: Address the process of business systems, network systems, client-server systems, and more.
  • Introduction to Operating Systems: Discuss the topics of hardware configuration, channel operation, interrupts, and multiprogramming.

View our course catalog for more details about our computer science courses.

Course Catalog

Apply to JWU