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How to become a computer scientist.

As computers have become a requirement for so many devices, activities and professions the people who specialize in them have been broken into multiple categories.  Database administrators, information technologists, system designers, network analysts and data security experts are all important and fast growing job sectors.  Perhaps the original professional role from which these job titles grew is the computer scientist.

Computer science work is essentially research, theory development or product innovation and invention. The job requires a relatively high level of theoretical expertise coupled joined to the fascination with gadgetry that characterizes all inventors.  Computer science jobs involve solving problems through the adaptation of current tools or the creation of new technology.

Computer scientists in academic institutions work in areas ranging from complexity theory to hardware to programming-language design.  That’s the academic level, frequented by PhDs.  There are plenty of opportunities for people with bachelors’ or masters’ in computer science.  Some may work in developing specialized languages or new programs (such as with Java); some might design programming tools to be incorporated into software; some may work in computer forensics, in data security or in the development of knowledge-based systems.

Generally, a bachelors’ degree in computer science is a fork in the road for the recent graduate.  The degree can lead into a plethora of important business functions such as network design; information systems; database management; or information security.  A masters’ degree may elevate you to a systems design or management role in a large corporate structure.  According to the Labor Department, the median annual salary of computer scientists and ‘information scientists’ was $85,000 in May of 2004.

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Salaries with Computer Science Degrees

Average annual earnings with Computer Science Degrees in May 2004.

  • Lowest 10 % earned $48,930
  • Median $85,190
  • Highest 10% earned $132,700