Computer Science

Read about careers for computer scientists, including technical responsibilities and opportunities for employment. Find information about degree programs in computer science here, including levels of study and course topics.

Is Computer Science for Me?

Career Overview

As a computer scientist, you might develop software or hardware, conduct research or perform other functions related to the use of computer information and technology. Your responsibilities may also include evaluating and solving computer-related conceptual and technical problems. Computer scientists usually work in offices or test centers. Some may hold positions as control system computer scientists or programmer analysts.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of computer and information research scientists was expected to increase by 15% nationwide, or faster than average, between 2012 and 2022. The need for cybersecurity and data mining specialists, as well as the use of advanced robotics, will have a positive impact on job growth. Candidates with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree or knowledge of a secondary field, such as finance, may have the advantage in the job market. In May 2013, computer and information research scientists earned an average annual salary of $109,260, noted the BLS (

How Can I Work in Computer Science?

Undergraduate Programs

Associate or bachelor's degree programs in computer science can be found at community and 4-year colleges and universities. Core coursework will include topics in computer networking and programming, circuitry, data systems and logic. You'll also study microprocessor and software design, computer maintenance, mathematics and PC systems, among other topics.

Graduate Programs

At the graduate level, you can pursue a master's degree in computer science which may be found on campus or online. Ph.D. programs in computer science are also available. Graduate courses might include the study of diagrams and illustrations, computer programming languages, networking and problem solving. Computer procedures, systems assessments and mathematical theories may also be part of a graduate computer science program.

Required Skills

As a computer scientist, you'll need to be an analytical thinker and technical troubleshooter with the ability to evaluate and understand complex information. Knowledge of programming languages and computing technologies is key; a sense of creativity may be beneficial when working on computer science problems.

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