Top Careers in Computer Science


Updated October 4, 2023

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Typical duties for workers with information technology (IT) and computer science jobs include developing and supporting computer systems, networks, software, and hardware. High-employing industries for computer science professionals include software publishing, higher education, government agencies, and computer systems design.

Some of the highest-paying and most in-demand computer science roles include software developer, computer and information research scientist, and information security analyst.

Many entry-level jobs in this field require at least a bachelor's degree. Depending on your specific career goal, you may also need a master's degree. However, professionals can also land positions without a computer science degree if they complete a coding bootcamp, teach themselves key skills, or earn relevant computer science professional certifications.

Use our guide to learn more about some of the best careers in computer science, including how to find work in this growing field. We describe what to expect from computer science jobs, highlight several prominent employers, and provide helpful resources.

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Salary Potential and Career Outlook in Computer Science

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 15% growth for computer science and information technology jobs between 2021 and 2031 — a much-faster-than-average growth rate, which may indicate continued demand for workers with tech skills as society continues to incorporate technology into everyday life.

BLS data also reveals computer and IT occupations earn higher-than-average wages: Their median annual salary was $97,430 in 2021, more than double the median wage of $45,760 for all workers nationwide.

Explore the two charts below for data about some of the highest-paid and fastest-growing computer science jobs.

Top Five Computer Science Jobs by Salary

Top Computer Science Jobs by Salary
Computer Science Career Median Annual Salary, 2021
Computer and Information Research Scientists $131,490
Computer Network Architects $120,520
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers $109,020
Information Security Analysts $102,600
Database Administrators and Architects $101,000
Source: BLS

Top Five Computer Science Jobs by Outlook

Top Computer Science Jobs by Outlook
Computer Science Career Job Outlook, 2021-31
Information Security Analysts +35%
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers +25%
Web Developers and Digital Designers +23%
Computer and Information Research Scientists +21%
Computer Systems Analysts +9%
Source: BLS

Major Employers of Computer Scientists

  • Microsoft: Founded in 1975 and headquartered in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft is the largest software maker globally. The company employs 221,000 workers worldwide, including 122,000 in the U.S. Microsoft hires tech professionals in roles like software engineer, data scientist, and solution architect.
  • Google: With a mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," Google is one of the biggest tech companies in the world. Google employs various computer science professionals, including software engineers, UX researchers, and software developers.
  • Apple: The company behind the iPhone and Mac computers, Apple is a global juggernaut, reporting a quarterly revenue of $94.8 billion in April 2023. Apple offers computer science jobs in hardware, software and services, and machine learning and AI.
  • Amazon: In addition to online shopping, Amazon offers cloud services, hardware devices, entertainment, and delivery and logistics. Computer science professionals can find jobs in software development, software engineering, and data science at Amazon.
  • Meta: Originally created in 2004 under the name Facebook, Meta is a tech company that runs social media and communication platforms. They are also developing augmented and virtual reality tools for social experiences. Meta hires computer science professionals for roles like computer research scientist, security software engineer, product designer, and data scientist.

Note this list is not exhaustive. Other large companies that hire tech workers include Intel, IBM, and Cisco, and many other smaller organizations also employ computer and IT professionals.

Find Your Computer Science Career

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How to Start a Career in Computer Science

Many careers in computer science — like software developer, information security analyst, and database administrator — typically require a bachelor's degree in computer science. Entry-level roles for most positions in this field do not require relevant work experience, though completing an internship or maintaining a programming portfolio can help you stand out in the job search.

Some computer science roles, such as computer and information research scientist, require a master's degree. Even if employers do not require a graduate degree, holding an advanced educational credential can help you qualify for upper-level jobs and higher salaries. Some companies may even cover master's program tuition as part of their education benefits.

In some cases, you can qualify for entry-level tech positions after completing a computer science bootcamp and/or earning computer science certifications. Learn about some of the leading tech companies where you can work without earning a computer science degree.

Resources for Working in Computer Science

Professional organizations can help computer science students and career switchers network, find work opportunities, and stay updated on new developments in the field. In addition to the options below, you can join organizations like the IAENG Society of Software Engineering or computer science Meetup groups.

Help for Computer Science Students

Association for Computing Machinery

The largest computing society in the world, ACM includes 38 special interest groups. Members can access publications, conferences, and networking opportunities.

Computing Research Association

CRA includes 250 member organizations from North America that work on computing research problems. Founded in 1972, the group includes government, research, and academic members.

IEEE Computer Society

This organization helps computer science and engineering professionals in all areas of the field advance in their careers through webinars, conferences, and publications.

Help for Career Switchers

Computing for All

This nonprofit works with schools, workforce development, and employers to help students launch computing careers.

CompTIA Career Change

CompTIA offers professional tech certifications and training to help you launch or advance your computer science career.

Learn to Code with Me

This organization offers advice for learning computer science and shifting into tech careers.

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Questions About Careers in Computer Science

Do you need a computer science degree to get a job in tech?

If you earn a computer science degree, you can qualify for an array of entry-level tech jobs like computer programmer, software developer, and database administrator. However, you may also land tech roles without a degree by completing a bootcamp, earning a professional certification, or building a portfolio that highlights your relevant knowledge and skills.

What careers can you get with a computer science degree?

Which tech careers you qualify for depends on your education level, prior work experience, and employer. However, a computer science degree can help prepare you for various occupations, including information security analyst, computer systems analyst, computer and information research scientist, and network and computer systems administrator.

Are computer science careers in high demand?

The BLS projects 15% growth for computer and information technology jobs between 2021 and 2031, a much-faster-than-average rate. This can signify high demand for workers in this field.

Are computer jobs going away because of AI?

We cannot be certain about how AI will impact computer jobs in the future. Though AI can generate code for computer programming or analyze data, some industry experts predict that AI will actually augment tech professionals' work to be more efficient rather than replace them.

Last reviewed June 21, 2023.

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