You know all about the “hot jobs” lists that talk about how important coding skills are, but as a computer science major you’ve already checked that box and are probably looking for some deeper guidance on what kind of careers will be waiting for you after graduation.
The good news is that there are lots of fast-growing jobs that are ready to challenge — and reward — your skills, regardless of what you’re focusing on as a computer science major. We put together a list of five awesome careers that will let you put your degree to work. All salaries listed are median pay for workers with 10 years of experience, provided by PayScale.com.
Development Operations (DevOps) Engineer
What you’d do: Put your coding skills to use as part of a broader collaborative team to focus on not just creating software but on having it be implemented and updated quickly and efficiently, with a primary emphasis on business outcomes. DevOps is a fast-growing area that incorporates key aspects of Agile development. It’s treated as somewhat abstract in some quarters, but a definition put forth by the website The Agile Admin has been widely embraced: “DevOps is the practice of operations and development engineers participating together in the entire service lifecycle, from design through the development process to production support.”
How you qualify: You’ll need solid coding/scripting skills and the ability to use automation tools that you’re getting with your major, but also “soft skills” for listening, communication and collaboration with noncoders and others from outside the software-development realm. You might want to add some business courses to round out your resume to get an inside track for this path.
What it pays: $123,000
What you’d do: Design databases to ensure easy scaling and maintenance so that data — the lifeblood of many modern businesses — continues to flow smoothly to everyone who needs it, and to ensure that it’s kept secure from the prying eyes of hackers. This role emphasizes strategy/planning, but it also can involve a fair amount of direct nuts-and-bolts coding.
How you qualify: A computer science degree with an emphasis on database architecture will be needed. An advanced degree and/or related certifications and expertise — especially in database security, SQL/NoSQL and Big Data — can be handy as well. Soft skills also are an emphasis here, as data architects will be collaborating with other departments on their needs and priorities.
What it pays: $123,000
What you’d do: Create software that works on Apple’s ubiquitous mobile devices. IOS developers use Apple’s Swift programming language along with the deeper concepts and tools learned in computer science (such as object oriented programming and data structures) to produce software that takes advantage of the massive built-in audience of people walking around with iPhones and using iPads.
How you qualify: Obviously there’s plenty of apps in the App Store that weren’t produced by people with a computer science degree, but a degree puts you ahead of the game in terms of landing a job as an iOS developer, because it signals that you have more than just an idea for an app and a grasp of Swift. Employers are looking for professionals with a commitment to proper programming philosophies and deeper concepts, and the ability to adjust quickly as Apple changes its requirements.
What it pays: $120,000
What you’d do: Play the role of middleman/facilitator in Scrum software projects. Scrum is a spinoff of Agile that seeks to define more concrete roles and steps for software development; it involves a “product owner,” a development team that puts the product owner’s vision into action and a ScrumMaster in between. ScrumMaster isn’t a direct supervisory role so much as someone working to eliminate any obstructions for the team to meet its programming goals; it may sound a bit abstract, but there’s a lot to keep track of. As with the DevOps role, this involves a large emphasis on communication, collaboration and coaching, but also on technical knowledge and skills.
How you qualify: “Certified” is in the name, so you now there will be some certification training involved beyond your degree, but coding skills from your major and heavy familiarity with Agile are a significant part of this role. There’s also a major emphasis on soft skills here.
What it pays: $114,000
Business Intelligence (BI) Developer
What you’d do: Help a business or organization make sense of and find the best uses for its mountains of collected data. BI developers create and maintain the tools that let nontechnical users access and make use of the contents of global databases. This is yet another fast-growing area, but it isn’t really a glamor position, so would-be rock stars need not apply. This is for folks who live and breathe databases.
How you qualify: Knowledge of relational databases and SQL is crucial, along with analysis skills. But despite the nitty-gritty of this role, you’ll find that many employers will be seeking someone with a big-picture perspective — especially for broader business outcomes — and with strong communication skills for working with nontechnical departments.
What it pays: $92,900