Top 8 Computer Science Career Paths

Computer science is one of the most flexible courses among all university degrees. With knowledge in computers and tech, your potential career options are endless. Almost every year, you can expect companies to look for the best and the brightest in the world of information technology.

Want to take it easy by giving computer science classes for kids? Or are you looking for a high-powered career as a software developer? There are dozens upon dozens of careers that you can take as a professional - with each one with the potential to lead you to success. Here are the top 8 computer science career paths you can take that will lead to success.

1. Computer Programming

When you talk about computer science as a degree, the number one career path that people think of is computer programming. Computer programmers write code to build programs and their focus is solely on the programming side of things.

Computer programming requires several skills, from problem-solving and troubleshooting to collecting libraries to improve development speed. Programmers also test and improve upon completed software, removing bugs and closing off potential loopholes for abuse.

Computer programmers are usually adept with at least one programming language. On average, programmers should have flexible ways to resolve frontend and backend coding issues. Professional certifications can also help push career paths and measure an individual’s mastery of their path.

2. Software Development

Software developers and engineers are some of the most sought-after professionals in the world. With much of the world running with software and automation, software devs are the backbone of every modern tech. From your computer to your Smart TV, software developers push the envelope on what technology can do.

Software development as a career has more specific career paths under its umbrella, which we’ll discuss further down. There are various specializations that you can go to, depending on your interests. From developing games to corporate software, you can pick where your interest lies and there’s a software development job waiting for you.

3. Systems and Network Engineering

Systems and network engineering is another path that can lead you towards a stable, successful career. Professionals in this path work with large-scale technological infrastructures. From planning IT networks to maintaining server farms, this can provide an enjoyable, high-powered career if you enjoy working with machines.

Problem-solving skills, logic systems, and network design are among the few things needed to become a successful system engineer. Much of the work is hands-on and, depending on the size of the business, you can opt to work for small startups or big corporations.

Many system engineers and network engineers work with hardware and software. While computer science focuses more on the software side, the degree prepares you for many of the things that every engineer needs.

4. Web Development

If you’re looking for a more creative career, a web development path should help you fit right in. Web developers designing and writing code for websites by building the site’s layout and ways to show media and content. Much of your work will be to make sure everything works and that the aesthetics and functionality of the site are up to par.

Web developers use mostly front-end programming languages, including HTML, CSS, Javascript, and XML. Your focus will be on several fronts, the goal of which is to bridge the gap between the brand and the user. 

Web development positions are also flexible. You can work at any business scale, from small and medium enterprises to big corporate positions. Web devs also have several options, as many can do freelance work or start businesses with only their skills.

5. Game Development

One of the most exciting career paths that someone with a computer science degree can take is game development and design. Game development entails creating new intellectual property that offers new ways to utilize gameplay. 

You can produce games for various platforms, from PC, consoles, mobile phones, and more. As a game developer, your job is to make titles that can entertain, challenge, or immerse gamers in new worlds. You can tell the narratives that you want or repurpose existing game mechanics to work within a system you design.

Game development requires extreme levels of creativity to succeed. It also requires you to wear several “hats”, dealing with art, animation, physics, storyboarding, and gameplay loops. There’s also an extensive programming side to game development, which powers everything underneath the art assets that you see.

6. Database Administration

Database administrators handle, analyze, collate, and evaluate the information for use of the end-user. Depending on the goals of the organization, you can develop and improve the database. You can help improve the efficiency of data collection and even improve the speed that end users can store and access this data.

Much of the work of database admins revolves around problem-solving. Database frameworks vary in programming languages, each with its own pros and cons. Depending on what you do, you can be part of an enterprise team that will make sure the data is secure and easy to access.

7. Systems Analyst

Systems analysts work in the IT field, responsible for organizing computer systems and infrastructures. They help analyze systems and offer tweaks and adjustments to an organization. The goal is to drastically reduce downtime for end-users and improve business efficiency and productivity through technology.

Professionals who work as systems analysts usually stay within a corporate environment. The job stability is quite favorable and predictable, usually working with top management in developing solutions that help the business grow. In some cases, systems analysts provide consultation to help them run systems efficiently.

8. Cybersecurity Consultant

Cybersecurity consultants are specialized computer scientists that help keep technological and digital assets protected from malicious interactions. Due to the potential for sabotage, hacking, or espionage, cybersecurity experts focus on the risks involved for different enterprises and how to mitigate them with technology.

A cybersecurity consultant’s job will be to analyze potential pathways to security breaches and data leaks. You will look for weaknesses and loopholes in the system and seal them off through patches. You will also participate in testing security protocols through the use of “ethical hacking”.

Most cybersecurity experts have a wide range of specializations. Many start as analysts, programmers, or database administrators and try to specialize in risk management and mitigation.