Top Trends in Computer Science Careers
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Nearly every industry requires knowledgeable information technology (IT) professionals. As the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) continues to expand, the number of cyberattacks threatening businesses also grows. This in turn increases demand for computer science professionals.
A survey conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2020 found that 9 in 10 companies were experiencing skill gaps or expecting skill gaps to develop in the next five years. These companies particularly needed professionals in IT management, data analytics, and mobile and web design.
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Students hear this calling, with a record number enrolled in computer science programs. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 88,633 bachelor's degrees in computer and information science were conferred in the 2018-19 academic year.
Are Computer Science Careers In Demand?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 13% job growth in computer and IT jobs from 2020-2030. This translates to about 667,600 new jobs. One reason for this growing demand is the economy's need for professionals in information security, cloud computing, and big data collection and analysis.
According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), technical majors earned the highest salaries of all 2020 graduates. The average starting salary for those with a bachelor's in computer science was $85,770.
Most In Demand Computer Science Careers
Information Security Analyst
Median Annual Salary: $103.590
Projected Job Growth: +33%
As cyberattacks escalate, the need for professionals who protect networks and computer systems also grows. As a result, information security analysts find themselves in one of the fastest-growing fields in the industry.
Information security analysts protect businesses' networks and computer systems using firewalls and encryption programs. They may conduct penetration testing to analyze vulnerabilities and monitor security breaches. These professionals protect information systems for industries including government, nonprofit, finance, and healthcare.
Computer and Information Research Scientist
Median Annual Pay: $126,830
Projected Job Growth: +22%
Computer and information research scientists experience high demand due to growing cybersecurity threats and the increasing use of data and AI. These professionals write the algorithms used in data processing, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing. They also explore new ways to prevent cyberattacks.
Computer and information research scientists also create new programming languages and software systems. They may work with engineers to solve complex computing problems. Much of today's new information technology was invented by these scientists.
Median Annual Pay: $110,140
Projected Job Growth: +22%
Software developers are the creative, tech-savvy masterminds behind computer programs and software applications. They create apps that power the economy, let you play online games, and track expenses. As the world's reliance on technology continues to expand, so does the need for software developers.
Mobile application developers experience robust demand due to the booming mobile app industry. The healthcare industry also requires innovative software to manage changing protocols and patient regulations. Cybersecurity threats may increase the need for updated security software.
Median Annual Pay: $77,200
Projected Job Growth: +13%
2020 saw an increase in online businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 2 billion consumers purchased products or services online in 2020.
Many web developers work remotely as freelancers.
Median Annual Pay: $98,230
Projected Job Growth: +27.9%
Companies in healthcare, finance, government, manufacturing, and business management make critical data-based decisions to improve and personalize their services and products. As data science becomes more popular, professionals in this field experience greater demand.
Data scientists help companies manage and effectively use their data. These professionals may create algorithms to predict outcomes and find trends and patterns in big datasets. After collecting data, many use Python, R, SQL, and Tableau for data cleaning, analysis, and visualization.
Trends in Computer Science Careers
Artificial Intelligence Continues to Explode
As AI becomes more popular across industries, the need for AI experts rises. These professionals develop algorithms that program facial and speech recognition software and self-driving cars. Mega brands such as Facebook and Google invest large sums of money into AI every year.
In December 2020, the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act passed to increase AI activities in over a dozen government agencies. This was meant to keep the U.S. on the cutting edge of AI research. A career in AI typically requires a bachelor's degree, but thanks to soaring demand, AI bootcamps are popping up on campuses across the country.
Big Data is the Buzzword
Big data continues to make headlines as IT transforms the field. A few in-demand data science careers include data scientist, data architect, data analyst, and data engineer.
Emerging trends in data analytics include data fabric, generative AI, and the data marketplace, which facilitates the exchange of data across businesses. Just a decade ago, a handful of colleges offered data science programs. Today, students can access these programs at numerous universities offering bachelor's degrees and data science bootcamps.
Cybersecurity Threats Boost Need for Protection
Cyberattacks recently forced the shutdown of a major U.S. pipeline and closed some operations at the world's largest meat supplier. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the number of reported data breaches from January through September 2021 exceeded the total number of breaches in 2020 by 17%.
Because of this growing threat, businesses need cybersecurity professionals who know how to protect information and networks. Some employees prefer candidates with a bachelor's in cybersecurity or a computer-related field. Others hire graduates of cybersecurity bootcamps or applicants with certification, like the certified information systems security professional designation.
Bioinformatics Combines Biology and Computer Science
Bioinformatics uses software development and programming to create big datasets of biological information. Professionals in this field may look for patterns in genetic material, such as RNA, DNA, and genes.
This area offers tremendous potential in the healthcare industry. Bioinformatics provides early disease detection by analyzing data for disease biomarkers and determining the best targets for gene therapy.
Job titles in this field include bioinformatics research scientist, bioinformatics engineer, and computational biologist. Payscale reports that bioinformatics scientists earned an average annual salary of $96,670 as of February 2022.
Edge Computing and the Cloud
Companies have increasingly moved their applications to the cloud to eliminate servers and reduce risks, costs, and maintenance. Edge computing helps eliminate some of the shortcomings inherent to cloud computing, such as latency or the delay between requesting and receiving data.
Edge computing processes data closer to the end-user instead of large data centers. An example of edge computing is when the computer systems in a self-driving car must quickly apply brakes, reducing the delay involved in a cloud response.
Edge computing specialists and cloud architects with edge computing skills can expect increasing demand as this technology expands.
How Do I Start a Career in Computer Science?
Most computer science occupations require a bachelor's degree. Popular bachelor's degrees in this field include computer science, computer programming, software development, and information technology.
Bootcamps offer another means of entry into this burgeoning field. IT bootcamps are sprouting up aso employers' need for these professionals increases.
One Indeed survey revealed that 80% of tech managers hired an employee who graduated from a coding bootcamp program, of whom 99.8% said they would do it again.
In addition to coding, you can find bootcamps in cybersecurity, data analytics, fintech, and data science.
Many professionals in IT also earn certificates. Online technical certificate programs offer the greatest flexibility and may take 2-18 months to complete. You can find these accredited programs at community colleges and universities.
Available certificate programs include information technology, data mining, information systems security, and software development.
Frequently Asked Questions About Trends in Computer Science Careers
What percent of computer science majors get jobs?
Computer science majors enjoy a strong employment rate. According to NACE's 2021 winter survey, the current job market indicates high demand for computer science majors. Almost 49% of all survey respondents planned to hire computer science graduates from the class of 2021, with a 26.6% projected hiring increase for the class of 2022.
This need correlates to continued wage increases. According to NACE's 2021 summer survey, computer science degree-holders see an average starting salary of $85,770. Additionally, Data USA reports that the number of computer science majors in the workforce grew from 2.06 million in 2018 to 2.17 million in 2019.
Is computer science still a good career?
Yes. Those who are interested in IT and want to continue expanding their knowledge may enjoy a computer science career. A degree in computer science may lead to an above-average salary in a position with relatively high employer demand.
The BLS projects a 22% job growth for computer and information research scientists from 2020-2030. This is much faster than the average 8% growth for all occupations. As technology expands, the need for computer science professionals grows. Those with knowledge in data analysis or cybersecurity should see even greater opportunities.
Is AI the future of computer science?
It may be. A survey conducted by Ernst & Young found that 80% of respondents reported an AI talent shortage. Smart homes, security, medical advancements, and climate change research all use AI.
You can find AI in just about every field, including healthcare, telecommunications, financial services, education, and energy. This subject provides the means to analyze data on a massive scale. AI uses learned intelligence to make decisions. Companies rely on AI to optimize operations, increase revenue, and target consumer demand.