The high-paying jobs you can get with a computer science degree

May 23, 2023 · 5 min read · By ASU Online

The computer science field continues to expand with high demand for skilled employees. In this article, we’ll break down what a computer scientist does, the salary outlook for computer science roles and the degrees that aid your career path.


Arizona State University Professor Andrea Richa works in a field that’s only bordered by the reaches of her imagination. Through the use of computer systems, Richa’s imagination runs wild thinking about the possible application of nano sensor systems that could do everything from stop blood flow out of the body in the case of an emergency to curing diseases. Computer science continues to expand at a rapid rate into uncharted territory, making computer science careers and research an exciting place to be, Richa said.

"My passion is an ever-evolving area," Richa said. "If you think about it, computation is everywhere. Even without a computer we're always computing and analyzing everything we do, even when we're going to the grocery store and making a list and minimizing the steps we have to take in the grocery store."


What does a computer scientist do?

Computer scientists specialize in the study and development of computer systems and computational technologies. Combining the principles of mathematics, engineering, logic and algorithms, these professionals design, develop, analyze and optimize computer software and hardware systems. These systems are an integral part of problem solving in all kinds of business, industry, scientific and social contexts.

As the application of computer science is present in all industries, the work of a computer scientist can vary depending on their specific role and area of expertise. However, general daily activities for computer scientists include:

  • Addressing computer security issues to protect business’ data and networks from unauthorized access.
  • Analyzing existing computer systems and networks to identify issues and improve performance.
  • Researching new algorithms, technologies and methodologies, such as artificial intelligence, data science, computer graphics and more.
  • Writing, testing and maintaining software programs and applications for various purposes, including web development, mobile apps, operating systems and more.


The computer science skills you’ll need to succeed

Computer science is no longer a confined skill set that’s only used for specific industries. In today’s economy, some of the highest-paying jobs require computer science skills. These skills are often the key differentiator within the job competition and can have an important bearing on your salary.

"You used to have to take a computer class in high school then go into computer science in your undergraduate degree to get computer science skills," Richa said. "Now, you have additional disciplines, even biology, that need knowledge and skills in computation and analysis."

As you progress in your education and career journey, building current, in-demand computer science skills will ensure you’re prepared to successfully enter the job market. Some of these skills include machine learning, programming language skills, 3D modeling, data visualization and data analytics. Additionally, it’s important to possess complex problem solving and critical thinking skills, as computer science heavily relies upon identifying issues and working to address them.


Computer scientists: In demand and highly paid

Computer scientist roles represent some of the highest salaries among new graduates immediately after completing their degree, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. While computer science salaries can vary depending on the hiring organization’s industry and your level of expertise, you can expect to enter the job market with competitive and lucrative compensation.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer scientists earned a median annual salary of $131,490 per year in 2021. As the demand for newer, better technology grows, so will the demand for computer scientists. The BLS also reported that employment for computer scientists is expected to grow 21% between 2021 and 2031, which is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.

Other careers related to computer science also delineate this profound projected growth and substantial pay, such as:

What makes ASU Online's Master of Computer Science unique? Hear directly from two students in the program as they share their thoughts and why they’d recommend it to aspiring computer scientists.

The jobs you can get with a bachelor’s in computer science

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science is an excellent way to enter this competitive field. While computer science skills can be earned at the graduate and undergraduate levels, Richa emphasizes that both levels of skill can easily enter the market upon graduation.

Upon completing a bachelor’s in computer science, you’ll be prepared to immediately enter the marketplace with potential roles as an engineer, software developer, security analyst and more.


The jobs you can get with a master’s in computer science

While a bachelor’s in computer science provides you with the necessary general foundation to begin your career, the additional skills and knowledge gained in a computer science master’s program allows you to specialize in fields that you’re passionate about or prepare you for more research-oriented careers.

Once you’ve graduated from a master’s in computer science, you’ll be equipped to follow more advanced career paths in a variety of computer science roles with even higher pay than those who only possess a bachelor’s degree.


Earn your online computer science degree with Arizona State University

Whether you’re just beginning your educational journey or are looking to hone your skills with an advanced program, ASU Online’s computer science degrees will aid in your path to becoming an computer scientist.

The Bachelor of Science in computer science program equips you with the skills needed to improve software reliability, network security and information retrieval systems. Throughout your coursework, you’ll develop competency in widely-used programming languages, including Java, C and C++, and learn how to analyze a variety of applications from artificial intelligence to database systems using computer science theory.

The Master of Computer Science is also available if you already have a bachelor’s degree and are interested in expanding your knowledge of computer science and computation. You’ll also have the ability to choose a concentration in big data systems or cybersecurity, allowing you to build relevant skills in a particular area of computer science based on your passions and interests.

Everything you need to know about ASU Online classes and degree programs

We’ve compiled what you need to know about online classes and degree programs at Arizona State University. Read on to learn all about what to expect from the ASU Online learning experience.


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