What Can You Do With a Computer Science Degree?

While you’re considering earning a computer science degree, you’re probably curious about what your options will be after graduation. You’ve got bills to pay and children to raise, so you need a job that’s a safe bet.

The fact is, you’re not likely to find a path that has a more optimistic outlook than computer science careers. With job opportunities increasing significantly and salaries that start relatively high and rapidly increase with experience, it’s no wonder you’re considering this field.  

We know, we know – you haven’t made your decision yet. But as you explore your options, it’s always helpful to know as much as possible about the types of jobs that will be available to you once you earn your degree.

To help you in your research, we analyzed more than 350,000 job postings over the past year* to determine the most common positions for computer science degree holders.

So, what can you do with a computer science degree? Take a look!


Top 10 Computer Science Careers

Below you’ll find a detailed breakdown of the top ten careers for computer science degree holders, ordered according to the total number of jobs posted over the past year. Hopefully this information will help you determine which career best meets the needs of you and your family.

1. Software applications developer

Daily duties:

  • Design or customize computer applications software
  • Modify existing software to optimize operational efficiency or correct errors
  • Evaluate software requirements and user needs to determine software feasibility

Available jobs (10/2012 – 10/2013): 127,182

Projected growth (2010-2020): 28%**

Entry-level salary range: $44,895 - $71,650/year***

Upper-level salary range: $76,541 - $114,913/year

2. Computer systems analyst

Daily duties:

  • Analyze data processing problems to improve computer systems
  • Develop and test system design procedures
  • Enhance system compatibility so information can be shared easily

Available jobs (10/2012 – 10/2013): 30,841

Projected growth (2010-2020): 22%

Entry-level salary range: $42,797 - $69,382/year

Senior-level salary range: $79,812 - $114,940/year

3. Computer programmer

Daily duties:

  • Create and test the code that allows computers to run properly
  • Analyze user needs and develop software solutions
  • Write computer programs to store, locate or retrieve data

Available jobs (10/2012 – 10/2013): 17,163

Projected growth (2010-2020): 19%

Entry-level salary range: $44,145 - $70,373/year

Senior-level salary range: $69,482 - $104,280/year

4. Network systems administrator

Daily duties:

  • Install and support an organization’s network system
  • Examine website functions to ensure performance without interruption
  • Perform data backups and disaster recovery operations

Available jobs (10/2012 – 10/2013): 16,762

Projected growth (2010-2020): 28%

Entry-level salary range: $42,674 - $72,899/year

Senior-level salary range: $61,218 - $100,173/year

5. Database administrator

Daily duties:

  • Test and administer computer databases
  • Coordinate changes and correct errors to computer databases
  • Apply security measures to safeguard information

Available jobs (10/2012 – 10/2013): 15,123

Projected growth (2010-2020): 29%

Entry-level salary range: $36,612 - $96,877/year

Senior-level salary range: $85,453 - $124,398/year

6. Computer systems engineer

Daily duties:

  • Develop solutions to complex applications problems and other network concerns
  • Provide technical guidance for troubleshooting computer systems
  • Confirm stability and security of system architecture

Available jobs (10/2012 – 10/2013): 14,202

Projected growth (2010-2020): 9%

Entry-level salary range: $46,299 - $72,678/year

Senior-level salary range: $73,984 - $110,500/year

7. Software quality assurance engineer

Daily duties:

  • Develop test plans to identify software errors
  • Create and maintain a database to track software defects
  • Review software documentation to confirm accuracy and mitigate risks

Available jobs (10/2012 – 10/2013): 13,537

Projected growth (2010-2020): 9%

Entry-level salary range: $37,467 - $62,654/year

Senior-level salary range: $66,153 - $94,473/year

8. Web developer

Daily duties:

  • Write, design or edit web page content, or direct others producing content
  • Identify and correct problems uncovered by testing or user feedback
  • Back up website files for immediate recovery in case of problems

Available jobs (10/2012 – 10/2013): 11,117

Projected growth (2010-2020): 28%

Entry-level salary range: $42,958 - $65,867/year

Senior-level salary range: $71,843 – $106,680/year

9. Computer user support specialist

Daily duties:

  • Assist computer users with technical issues
  • Resolve problems for clients in person, or via telephone or email
  • Conduct computer diagnostics to detect technical problems

Available jobs (10/2012 – 10/2013): 10,907

Projected growth (2010-2020): 19%

Entry-level salary range: $25,553 - $42,665/year

Senior-level salary range: $39,532 - $62,227/year

10. Information security analyst

Daily duties:

  • Develop plans to safeguard digital files and vital electronic infrastructure
  • Respond to computer viruses and security breaches
  • Discuss safety guidelines with personnel and confront safety violators

Available jobs (10/2012 – 10/2013): 7,459

Projected growth (2010-2020): 22%

Entry-level salary range: $43,232 - $69,241/year

Senior-level salary range: $72,353 - $108,105/year

The bottom line…

Each of these computer science careers is projected to grow significantly through 2020. What’s more is that most offer very reasonable entry-level salaries with the opportunity to earn much more once you’ve gained experience.

The good news is that this information should validate your decision to earn a degree in computer science. The bad news is that you may just end up with too many great careers to choose from.

So now that you know what you can do with a computer science degree, it’s time to learn a little bit more about computer science programs. You’ll want to choose a program that will fit into your lifestyle, allowing you to develop as a professional while still handling your other responsibilities.

Check out the Rasmussen College School of Technology to learn about how you can earn your computer science degree online!


*BurningGlass.com (Analysis of 369,423 computer science jobs, 10/29/2012 – 10/28/2013)

**Job duties and projected outlook were taken from the U.S. Department of Labor

***Salary ranges were taken from Salary.com. Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.

External links provided on Rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Callie is a Content Marketing Specialist who writes helpful and encouraging career-focused content on behalf of Rasmussen College. Her eagerness for helping others combined with her creative writing passion makes her a great asset to past, present and prospective learners.

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