Careers in Computer Information Science

Learn more about a career in computer information science. Research the education requirements, job duties, job outlook and average salary to find out if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Cloud Computing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Computer Information Scientist?

Computer information scientists spend the majority of their time in research and development to invent new computer technologies. They collaborate with engineers to solve computing issues and develop the computer languages, algorithms and architectures necessary to improve the user experience. Computer information scientists also find ways to test software operations and analyze the results.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know before entering the field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree is required for federal government work, but doctorate degrees are generally required in the private sector
Educational Fields of Study Computer science or information systems
Key Responsibilities Inventing and troubleshooting new computing technologies, assisting colleagues solve computing problems, publishing new findings in professional journals
Job Growth (2014-2024) 11% (faster than average, for computer and information research scientists)*
Average Salary (2015) $115,580 (for computer and information research scientists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Types Of Computer Information Science Degree Programs Are Available?

One entry-level educational path that might help jump-start your career is a bachelor's degree in computer and information science. In this type of program, you'll explore information technology fundamentals, such as software design and development, computer operating systems, programming languages and computer networks. You'll also receive a solid grounding in mathematics and science. A smattering of liberal arts and humanities courses will round out your curriculum.

If, after you get your bachelor's degree, you still have a hunger for knowledge, you could pursue a graduate program in computer and information science. Examples of these degree programs include a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems and a Master of Science in Information Systems. While a graduate degree is not essential for finding employment in this field, it may help separate you from the pack and increase your employment and advancement opportunities.

What Jobs Can I Apply For?

An undergraduate degree in computer information science will prepare you for a number of information technology positions. In addition to a position as a computer and information research scientist with the federal government, you could pursue positions that include computer systems software engineer, computer applications software engineer and computer systems analyst. You could also pursue careers in database administration, network systems analysis and data communication.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

Salary can vary considerably, depending on the occupation you choose. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the mean annual salary for computer and information research scientists was $115,580 as of 2015 (www.bls.gov). The mean salary for all computer occupations was $86,090 in that year. The BLS predicts that employment opportunities for computer information scientist occupations will increase by 11% between 2014 and 2024.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Alternative positions in computer information science will start in software development. Software developers design network and computer operating systems or software applications for general use as well as for a specific organization. Mechanical engineering is another area you may wish to go into. This broad discipline will have you using technology to develop and test tools, engines or a variety of other mechanical devices. Another employment opportunity may be in computer and information systems management. This career will require you to help a business meet its information technology needs on a daily basis. For all of these alternative positions, you will need to earn a bachelor's degree.

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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