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Explore careers in computer science

This article was updated on April 30, 2024.

Elizabeth Exline

Written by Elizabeth Exline

Kathryn Uhles

Reviewed by Kathryn Uhles, MIS, MSP, Dean, College of Business and IT

Computer science graphic icons with title that reads Field of Study: Computer Science

A degree in computer science can prepare students with skills for a wide variety of careers. Whether you’re interested in coding, providing IT support or guidance, or helping businesses figure out their technology needs, a background in computer science is often the first step.

While computer science is separate from computer programming, the two have similarities in terms of career paths. Additionally, computer science, IT and cybersecurity also have overlap as well as differences. Ultimately, you can consider a range of industries for work with a computer science degree, so long as you’ve developed the in-demand skills for your chosen specialty.

“Computer science is not the sole domain of the IT industry,” explains Kathryn Uhles, dean for the College of Business and Information Technology at University of Phoenix. “It never has been, really. But more than ever, computer science is applied at companies across industries, from business to nonprofits to the arts. To be competitive, every organization needs computer support, which means computer science professionals can pursue careers within a variety of fields.”

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) bears this out. Jobs in computer and information technology are projected to grow faster than average from 2022 to 2032, with about 377,500 openings a year. 

Computer science careers

Most careers in computer science involve working with computers and computer systems. This might mean working on the creative side to develop computer applications or programs, or it could mean working on the logistical side to optimize a company’s technology experience by updating its systems and maintaining its technology. A computer science degree, in other words, provides a foundation for a number of interests, roles and careers.

In addition to technical capabilities, skills needed for computer science include a number of transferrable ones. These are typically soft skills necessary to succeed in the working world, where you’ll need to come up with solutions, work with others, explain problems, share ideas and track project progress. 

Top computer science soft skills infographic with the four skills being problem-solving, teamwork, project management and communication.

Just where can your computer science degree take you? Computer science careers are more varied than you might think. BLS notes that much of the projected job growth will be in software and application development, information security, and systems and network analysis.

Want more details? Here are a few potential careers with a computer science degree.

Application developer

Application developers design, code, test, deploy and update software applications. These could be for the web, a specific operating system or even a device. (Developers tend to specialize in one area, like mobile phone apps, for example). This very technical role demands different skills and strong knowledge of programming languages, like Java, Python or Swift.

App developers also need skills to collaborate with clients or stakeholders, understand and communicate project requirements, and meet deadlines.

Salary: As of May 2023, the salary range for software developers, which is a category that includes application developers, was between $77,020 and $208,620 a year (with a median of $132,270), according to BLS.

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field is recommended, while a master’s degree and industry certifications can be preparation for new opportunities within a specialization.

Job outlook: Software developer jobs are projected to grow by 25% between 2022 and 2032, according to BLS.

Note: Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Research specific information for a specific state and city on the BLS website.

BLS Occupational Employment Projections, 2022-2032 is published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data reflects BLS’ projections of national (not local) conditions. These data points are not specific to University of Phoenix students or graduates.

Computer consultant 

Not to be confused with an IT support specialist, which generally provides IT assistance to end users, computer consultants assist organizations in implementing and optimizing computer systems and networks. They oversee the selection, implementation and maintenance of hardware, software and networking solutions to meet organizational needs. They may also provide training and ongoing support for those technologies to ensure employees are using them effectively. Finally, they may also be responsible for troubleshooting services to ensure smooth operations.

Salary: As of May 2023, the salary range for computer support specialists was between $45,660 and $121,920 a year (with a median of $71,530), according to BLS.

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in computer science is not always required but is recommended, especially since it can be helpful for keeping up with changes in technology.

Job outlook: Growth of 5% is projected between 2022 and 2032, according to BLS.

Information technology analyst

Also known as systems analysts, IT analysts design and implement information systems that make organizations more efficient. Their responsibilities include evaluating the current IT infrastructure, identifying inefficiencies or areas for improvement and recommending solutions or modifications to support greater efficiency and productivity.

Information technology analysts also work with organizational leaders and other teams to gather requirements, establish resources and oversee projects to make sure they are completed on time and within budget. IT analysts must stay informed about business strategies as well as emerging technologies to make sure the infrastructure keeps up with organizational needs and digital transformation.

Salary: As of May 2023, the salary range for computer systems analysts was between $63,230 and $165,700 a year (with a median of $103,800), according to BLS.

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in computer science is usually required. Some employers may accept candidates with a liberal arts degree who have technical or programming knowledge, while other employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree.

Job outlook: Growth of 10% is projected between 2022 and 2032, according to BLS.

Software developer 

Software development is one of the more popular careers for computer science majors. They design, create and modify computer applications and programs. After analyzing requirements, they use programming languages and development frameworks to create a solution, then test it to ensure it functions as required and meets quality standards and expectations. Software designers also maintain and update software to fix bugs and add new features or improvements. They may work with clients, stakeholders, software engineers and programmers during a project.

Salary: As of May 2023, the salary range for software developers was between $77,020 and $208,620 a year (with a median range $132,270), according to BLS.

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field is recommended, while a master’s degree and industry certifications can pave the way for progress within a specialization. Software developers must keep up with advancements in tools and computer languages throughout their careers.

Job outlook: Growth of 25% is projected between 2022 and 2032 for software developer jobs. 

Technical consultant 

Technical consultants serve as specialized advisors, offering expertise and guidance to businesses and other organizations on technologies related to their field. They assess existing technical infrastructures, investigate clients’ needs and goals, and recommend solutions that will meet their objectives and requirements. They may assist implementing selected solutions and customize them.

Technical consultants also provide training and support to ensure clients are using the solutions correctly and optimizing them to align with business needs. By ensuring organizations leverage technology strategically, technical consultants help them keep up with ongoing digital transformation and maintain a competitive edge.

Salary: As of May 2023, the salary range for computer and information systems managers, a category that includes technical consultants, was between $101,590 and $239,200 a year (with a median of $169,510), according to BLS.

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology or a related field is generally required. Some employers require technical consultants to have a master’s degree as well. Many technical consultants earn an MBA to better understand the business context of information technology.

Job outlook: Growth of 15% is projected between 2022 and 2032, according to BLS.

How to find a job in computer science 

Even graduates of computer science degree programs face competition in the job market. These factors can help you stand out:

  • Familiarity with more than one computer language.
  • A specialization. No one can know everything about computer science — figure out where your passion lies.
  • The ability to understand and communicate your skills. Colleagues and even managers with different educational backgrounds may not always understand what’s required of you to successfully complete your role. Everyone wins when you can clearly and effectively explain it.

In addition to searching job listings online, these tactics can help graduates start their careers with a computer science degree:

  • Get an internship: The company may hire you full time after the internship ends. If not, you have some valuable experience you can showcase in your job search.
  • Networking: Reach out to former professors, friends and even family members to see if they have contacts at companies that need help with information technology and security.
  • Alumni associations: These organizations often put on networking events and job fairs. They might also have alumni listings you can peruse to make connections.
  • Professional associations: These groups might have listings for jobs and host networking events or conferences.

And remember: The key to success in any IT field is to continually learn. It’s not enough to simply get a degree or complete a boot camp. Technology is a constantly evolving field, and so its professionals need to as well.

Frequently asked questions

How does a degree in computer science benefit your career?

A degree in computer science shows you have expertise in programming, problem-solving and analysis, all of which are required to pursue a career as a programmer, developer, support specialist, consultant or any number of technology-related jobs.

In addition, having a foundation of computer science knowledge will help you keep up with new technologies and tools and empower you to adapt them for different industries and positions.  

Are there specific industries where computer science graduates are in high demand? 

Knowing what careers you can pursue with a computer science degree can help you plan for your education. Tech is the most obvious industry for computer science graduates, especially for individuals with expertise in artificial intelligence, big data, cybersecurity and other specialties.

However, industries that heavily rely on technology also need computer science experts to develop and implement applications, keep networks and systems running and help them plan for their technology needs. Finance, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing and retail also offer opportunities for computer science careers.

Is it necessary to have work experience to land a job with a computer science degree? 

Work experience isn’t always a must, although it can help distinguish you from other candidates. If you are looking for your first full-time job, you can show experience from internships, volunteer work or even projects from your degree program.

Earning certificates is another way to demonstrate your skill set to potential employers. Online IT certificates, for example, are available in a number of specialties (think cloud computing, software development and cybersecurity, to name a few) so that you can grow and deepen your expertise.

Earn a computer science degree at University of Phoenix

The online computer science degree program at University of Phoenix is ideal for working adults who need to fit in their education with their other commitments. Start dates for this four-year degree are available year-round, and the sequential nature of the program means students take just one course at a time.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science: This degree focuses on the foundational knowledge you need to work in the field of IT. Develop core skills in programming and networking, and an understanding of artificial intelligence and big data. Learn to apply computer science theory to real-world business challenges, including writing and presenting your app to your peers. You can also use elective courses to earn a certificate in cybersecurity, networking, cloud computing and more.

You might also want to consider one of the other information technology programs, which include online certificates and master’s degrees.

Even after you graduate, you can take advantage of career services at UOPX, including tips on writing resumés and cover letters, preparing for interviews and developing a personal brand.

Plus, with over a million UOPX alumni and counting, you’ll have a ready-made network for support and advice. Alumni services also include events, workshops, career coaching and more.

Find out more about how our degrees can help computer science careers flourish.

Portrait of Elizabeth Exline


Elizabeth Exline has been telling stories ever since she won a writing contest in third grade. She's covered design and architecture, travel, lifestyle content and a host of other topics for national, regional, local and brand publications. Additionally, she's worked in content development for Marriott International and manuscript development for a variety of authors.

Headshot of Kathryn Uhles


Currently Dean of the College of Business and Information Technology, Kathryn Uhles has served University of Phoenix in a variety of roles since 2006. Prior to joining University of Phoenix, Kathryn taught fifth grade to underprivileged youth in Phoenix.


This article has been vetted by University of Phoenix's editorial advisory committee. 
Read more about our editorial process.


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