If you’ve successfully managed to obtain a computer science degree, you have our congratulations. We know how hard you must have worked for it, and you have every right to feel proud of yourself! Almost half of the people who major in a field of science or engineering back out of it because they find it too difficult, so you can now count yourself as belonging to an elite-level group of individuals in your chosen field.
With your great achievement, though, comes a great question. What are you going to do with your life now? You set out to qualify as a computer scientist, and you’ve achieved that goal. The next step is to turn the skill into a useful career, and it’s not always obvious where you should look, to begin with. ‘Computer scientist’ might well be a job, but there aren’t too many places in the average city or town that are advertising for computer scientists. If there are, then lucky you, but if there aren’t you might have to get a little creative in terms of how to put your skills to best use. We’ve put a few ideas together for you – some of which may already have occurred to you, and some of which may not.
Let’s be honest. You now have an awful lot of information in your head that would be valuable to other people, and that knowledge is fresh. That already means you have a more recent and relevant grasp on what’s hot in the field of computer science than many people who’ve been teaching it for years. There are far worse things you could do with your career than show other people what you’ve learned, and inspire them on the way. There’s also a teacher shortage in critical areas at the moment, meaning your skills are likely to be in high demand. When there’s high demand, you can almost name your price! Are you the sort of person who can explain ideas clearly? Are you a good public speaker, and do you think you could handle a class of people very similar to the one you’ve just graduated from? If the answer to those questions is yes, then you might want to give the teaching profession some serious consideration. Think of all those paid vacation days!
IT Systems Manager
Until you’ve been in the world of work for a while, you’ll have no idea how bad IT support is at the majority of companies. In smaller businesses, the person in charge of the computer hardware is often just whoever has the greatest level of computer literacy – even if they don’t know the first thing about putting a network together and running it efficiently! The entire computer infrastructures of some businesses are held together with sticky tape and best wishes, and they’re crying out for someone like you to come and make a better job of it. With your knowledge, you could put together a more efficient system for them in a matter of days, and then claim a handsome salary just for keeping it running. Safeguarding systems against attack would also fall under your purview. It isn’t just a case of taking phone calls and asking people if they’ve tried restarting their machines – the IT staff who work for you can handle that.
Casino Game Designer
This is a job you probably won’t have thought of, but it can be a lucrative one. Despite their sometimes simple appearance, online and mobile slots are surprisingly sophisticated creations. Beneath every mobile slots game is a complicated set of mathematics, governing the probability of players winning anything on their next spin. It’s the maths that underpin the functionality of mobile slots, ensuring that the player always has a fair chance, but the game always makes more money than it gives away. The tiniest margin of error can make all the difference, and so mobile slots are a place that represents computer science at its sharpest. You may not have imagined yourself getting involved in the gambling industry while you were studying, but think about this:- Casino websites make millions of dollars. How much do you think they pay the people who make the best and most profitable games?
Video Games Developer
For at least half of you, we suspect this is why you put yourself through the ordeal of obtaining a computer science degree in the first place. You want to design video games because you think there couldn’t be anything better than being paid to play with games all day. In some ways you’re right, but just ensure you’re clear on what you’re getting yourself into before you get involved with designing video games 99%. 99% of your job is staring at broken pieces of code and functionality, trying to make them work. When you’ve got them working, the finished game will be taken away and sold before you’ve had the chance to enjoy playing it, and you’re on to something new. The wheel never stops turning, the hours are long, and vacancies are few and far between. Have we put you off yet? No, we didn’t think so. Make sure you’ve built up a portfolio before you go chasing a job at a major company – they’ll all expect you to have one. Designing and building an indie game would be a good way to get their attention, too.
Cyber Security Consultant
Although cybersecurity is part of what an IT systems manager does, if you specialize in cybersecurity it will be the only thing you do. Most cybersecurity consultants don’t work for a single company – they’ll freelance, and work on a part-time basis with several. You might form a company of your own, and work on a retainer for several businesses to call on your services when required. When they do, they’ll expect you to be able to look at their system and pick out any vulnerabilities, and any existing breaches. You need a sharp eye for detail and a flexible schedule. You might even be asked to attempt to hack the systems of a client to see if it’s possible to break in – which is a good test of your computer science abilities. Cybersecurity consultants are generally paid more than IT systems managers, but they’re expected to be almost flawless. That means you need to stay on top of every tiny little development in the world of cybercrime. Hackers don’t sleep, and never give up. That means you always have to be one step ahead of them to keep the data of your clients secure.
Other roles are, of course, available. You’re free to do whatever you wish! Just remember that you’re in charge of your destiny. Your skills are rare, and you’re in high demand. Don’t sell yourself cheaply, and don’t feel obliged to take the first job that’s presented to you. You’re going to be a huge asset to any company which takes you on – so make sure you’re paid accordingly!