Applied Computer Science Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Learn about the different career options in applied computer science, including those in computer information systems, game design and software engineering. Keep reading for more information on required skills, and check the potential earnings in this field. Schools offering Computer Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Careers Are Available in the Field of Applied Computer Science?

Within the field of applied computer science, undergraduate students have the opportunity to specialize in computer software engineering, game design or focus on computer programming. You could find a career developing video games or designing computer systems to assist companies in achieving their goals through information technology. Your job could also be to oversee the implementation of information technology that could benefit companies as a computer information systems manager. The table below gives some more details regarding this field:

Software EngineerVideo Game DesignerComputer Information Systems Manager
Degree Required Bachelor's Degree Bachelor's Degree Bachelor's or Master's Degree
Key Responsibilities Creating software, working with clients, designing applications Creating plots and stories, using software to create video games, making sure games work well Systems' maintenance, collaborate with other company executives, update equipment
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 19% (applications software developers)
13% (systems software developers)
6% (for all multimedia animators and artists) 15%
Median Salary (2015)* $98,260 (applications software developers) $105,570 (systems software developers) $63,970 (for all multimedia animators and artists) $131,600

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Software Engineer

Computer software engineers design the programs that run on computers in homes and offices all over the world. You may work closely with clients and businesses who are in need of new software to fully understand what it is they are wanting. As an application software engineer, you may create computer games or programs that assist in increasing productivity. As a systems software engineer, you may be responsible for creating software that runs the computer itself, the operating system. In either case, once you've designed the program, you would send it off to a computer programmer to write the program you've conceptualized.

Video Game Designer

As a video game designer, you may wear several different hats. You would be responsible for creating the overall content of a video game, or the plot and storyline. This may involve storyboarding and creating a timeline of major events. Then you would turn your attention to the programming of the game, working with other artists to lay out the graphics and create a document that shows each and every aspect of the game, from player views to maps of the game itself. As the design process continues, you will continue to study it to discover any mistakes and make sure the game makes sense and plays well.

Computer Information Systems Manager

A computer information systems (CIS) manager works with other staff members as they ensure that a company's computer systems - both hardware and software - are installed correctly and upgraded regularly. As a computer information systems manager, you would work with other executives to determine future equipment requirements and how best to utilize the equipment that the company has on hand. You may research new products, software, and hardware to make sure your company is using the most efficient equipment and stays up to date.

What Skills Would I Need?

To be successful in the field, you would need to understand a variety of computer programming languages, including C++ or RPG (role-playing game) programming. You would also need to work well with others and be able to communicate clearly. You must understand current technology and have the ability to analyze problems to create solutions.

In classes such as introduction to operating systems and computer architecture, you'd learn about the components of a computer and its system-related programs. You can expect to take several classes in computer languages in your undergraduate studies. You'll put what you learn in the classroom into practical use during a required internship or practical experience session before you graduate.

How Much Might I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that multimedia artists and animators, which included video game designers, made a median annual salary of $63,970 per year in 2015.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) breaks out earnings data for software developers based on specialty (www.bls.gov). The BLS noted that in 2015, there were 747,730 software application designers working in the United States, and that individuals in the middle of the salary range for that occupation earned $98,260 per year. There were 390,750 individuals working as systems software engineers in the U.S. in 2015; those in the middle of their salary range earned a median salary of $105,570 according to the BLS.

The BLS further noted that there were 348,500 computer information system managers working in the U.S in 2015. Most of those individuals earned a median of $131,600 per year during that year. Industries hiring the most CIS managers were computer systems design, management firms, and scientific and technical consulting. The highest-paying states were New York, with a mean annual wage of $166,560, California at $164,290, and New Jersey at $160,660.

Individuals have a number of options in the field of applied computer science, like in video game design, software development, and computers systems management. Your specific skills set and interests will help you make an informed decision regarding what career path to follow.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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