Computer science is a broad-spectrum field that gives its scientists many exceptional, well-paying career options. To get started in the field, you’ll want to use this guide to help you learn and prepare what you need to know:
The best way to get into computer science is through education. Self-teaching yourself is a great way to start, and if you are particularly talented at it, there are ways to prove your expertise without a degree, but for most, this is not going to be an option. The good news is that earning a degree makes it easier to learn and easier to prove your skillset and talents, making it the perfect first step towards starting an illustrious career in a computer science role.
Teach yourself at least one programming language. There are games, online tutorials, and more nowadays that will help you understand more about programming basics and help give you a leg up by the time you get started with your bachelor’s degree.
Either get started with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or in a very similar role if you want to expand the foundation of experience you bring to the table.
If you tool a related degree, but not a computer science degree as your undergraduate, then know that there are ways to specialize in computer science with a Masters’s. You will need to take additional foundational courses, but you will have a foundation in software, algorithm programming, and data management once you are done. You will also be able to specialize where you want, allowing you to apply for advanced roles as soon as you graduate from your Masters in Computer Science online.
Furthering Your Education
If you look at the difference between code ten years ago and today, it becomes obvious how important it is to stay on top of your education. Continue to take short courses, attend conferences, workshops, and more. You need to stay at the top of your field, which means lifelong learning needs to become a part of your daily routine.
Your Career Options
Those who are proficient in computer programming languages and, most importantly, in concepts such as algorithm and database design have job opportunities in every sector and in almost every business. However, a company won’t be hiring for someone with a computer science background when they cannot afford your services.
There are numerous career opportunities for you when you choose a computer science background. Although the field is growing at almost double the rate compared to other job roles, they are also some of the best-paid positions available, with the median salary commonly over $100,000 per year.
Here are just a few of the jobs that you can apply for and specialize in with a computer science background:
- Data Scientist
- Software Engineer/Developer
- Database Administrator
- Information Security Analyst
- AI and Machine Learning Engineer
You do need to be careful, of course, when you first start out. Many businesses know that they need someone with a computer science background; they cannot afford them. What ends up happening are underpaid listings with massive wish lists and expectations on what they want you to do. If you do apply to these job postings, be very clear about the level of work you can comfortably accomplish upfront. Don’t promise them you will go above and beyond when they cannot compensate you adequately or are unwilling to bring in more specialists.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Career
Getting the most out of your career will mean different things to you than it will to someone else. Typically speaking, most want to move up the career ladder and be paid more for the work they do. However, when looking at your salary and what you deserve, you have to always think beyond your work. This is because you are not being paid just for your time but for your knowledge and training. Therefore, every moment you spent working towards your education and every moment you train yourself are factors to consider in terms of how much you deserve to be paid.
To ensure that your pay and job title adequately reflect your expertise, you will need to:
Change Jobs Every Few Years
Unfortunately, very few businesses today offer the right amount of career and pay progression. Perhaps they have an internal cap regarding how much of a raise you can earn, or perhaps they keep trying to push off giving you a raise entirely. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many, and it is a very unfortunate choice of business.
The best way to progress despite these limitations is to change employers every few years. The best time to negotiate higher pay and better benefits is when you start a new position, as most employers are expecting to have to pay you more than you are currently earning to take advantage of your experience.
The best opportunities are never going to be found on a job board. That is why you need to network to think of when someone needs your expertise. If they know about you, what you can do, and want your work, they won’t even bother creating a listing before getting in touch to see if you want the opportunity. Thankfully many of the further training methods you will use to stay at the top of all the changes in your field are great opportunities to do this. Attend mixers and remember to connect online so that you can gradually develop your relationship organically.
Know When (and if) You Should Strike Out on Your Own
In some cases, your best bet will be to work for a big organization. In other instances, your best option is to strike out on your own and start your own business. It depends entirely on the business you are interested in starting and how much you are prepared to take over. If you don’t have a head for business and no business intelligence partner to handle that, finding an executive position is a better choice. Always work with your strengths and know that finding the right people to help you achieve your goals is essential to your success if you are set on something.