What Are Entry-Level Jobs in Computer Science?
If you're looking for an entry-level job in computer science, you could become a computer support specialist or computer programmer. Read on to learn more about these two careers, including their job duties, educational requirements, job outlooks and average salaries.
Computer Science Defined
Computer science is a broad term that applies theoretical concepts like computation and information systems to computer technologies. Computer science includes many different specializations, such as computer graphics and computer programming. If you enter this field, you'll learn about different computer hardware and software features in order to build upon current computer technologies.
Important Facts About Entry-Level Jobs in Computer Science
|Continuing Education||Additional training and experience required for advanced positions, such as systems administrator and software developer|
|Professional Certification||Numerous certifications available from industry associations such as Comp-TIA and from computer related companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Cisco|
|Work Environment||May work in numerous fields including IT, finance, healthcare, etc. Some entry-level jobs are done on a contract basis or as employees of an outside support company.|
|Similar Occupations||Database administrator, network administrator, network security specialist, systems analyst|
|Average Salary (2018)*||$55,050 (computer user support specialists); $68,050 (computer network support specialists); $89,580 (computer programmers)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||11% (computer user support specialists); 8% (computer network support specialists); -7% (computer programmers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Some entry-level computer science jobs provide new workers with all necessary training needed. For other entry-level careers, you may have to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science. A few sample classes from these programs include:
- Technical writing
- Programming languages
- Computer system architecture
- Software engineering
- Database systems
Computer Support Specialist
If you become a computer support specialist, you could provide technical help for employers, workers and clients who use information technologies. After receiving a question or call for assistance, you would question the person to figure out the nature of the problem and if necessary, run computer diagnostics to determine the cause. Once the problem is determined, you would need to implement the necessary solutions to fix it.
To gain an entry-level job in this field, you generally must have a bachelor's degree. However, each employer has its own requirements. While being knowledgeable in computer technology might be enough for some computer support specialist positions, network support specialists might need at least an associate's degree.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer support specialists were expected to experience faster-than-average employment growth (www.bls.gov). The total rise in job positions between 2016 and 2026 was predicted to be 11%. Due to the adoption of new technologies in business, workers are going to be needed to meet this demand. This field is expected to have favorable job prospects, especially if you have a technical background and have earned a bachelor's degree.
Organizations that look for computer support specialists include healthcare companies, hosting services, software publishing companies and technical consulting firms. The BLS reported that computer user support specialists earned a mean annual income of $55,050 in May 2018. The computer systems design and related services industry was the top employer and offered a mean annual wage of $56,470.
The BLS also reported that computer network support specialists earned a mean of $68,050 in 2018. The top employers of these workers were the computer systems design and related services industry and telecommunications industry, which offered respective average salaries of $70,800 and $74,440.
As a computer programmer, you could work alongside computer engineers to help write computer programs. These programs contain coded sets of instructions that a computer follows to accomplish the designated task in the software. By using specialized programming languages like C++, you can help update, fix and change computer programs.
The BLS states that computer programmers usually possess an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science or a similar field of study. In addition, they need to be knowledgeable in various programming languages. Optional vendor-specific certifications are also available.
The BLS reported that computer programming positions were expected to decrease by 7% between 2016 and 2026. Outsourcing is expected to have a negative effect on job growth for this career, although the computer industry is expected to have growth. To have the best job prospects, you should know multiple programming languages and earn a bachelor's degree.
The BLS reported that as of May 2018, computer programmers earned a mean annual income of $89,580, while most earned between $48,790 and $134,630. The top-paying industry for computer programmers was nonresidential building construction, which had an average wage of $129,510. The computer systems design industry was the top employer of programmers and paid them $89,550 on average. Software publishers paid them a higher average income of $105,150.