Computer Science Job Search: Landing the Perfect Job

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Software developers hold a top spot for job satisfaction. Each day, they meet rewarding challenges, applying their creativity and skills to the design of innovations that shape tech’s future. Employer demand is surging in the realm of computer science and related fields, with a host of computer information and research scientist roles attracting talented and knowledgeable computer science job searchers.

However, becoming a desirable candidate in a computer science job search involves more than talent and know-how. It means zeroing in on the right jobs and harnessing the power of resume building and interviewing best practices.

A software developer looks at code on a computer screen.

What Is Computer Science?

Computer science is the study of computer hardware and software, the algorithmic and theoretical foundations of computing, and how we use computers to process information. Computer scientists rely heavily on the foundations of engineering, mathematics, and hypothesis testing. All these competencies are applied to aspects of computer science, such as data structures and algorithms, computer and network design, artificial intelligence (AI), data modeling, and information processes.

The major subfields of computer science include the following:

  • Computer architecture: The rules and methods that pertain to a computer’s functionality and how it can be managed and implemented, including instruction set architecture, microarchitecture, and system design
  • Programming languages: Computer languages that programmers use to develop scripts, instructions, or software programs that a computer will execute
  • Software development: The processes used to conceptualize, design, and deploy software applications
  • Computational science: The use of computers to apply mathematical models to solve scientific problems
  • Graphics and visualization: The production of images used in computing
  • Human-computer interaction (HCI): A multidisciplinary field that focuses on the study of the interaction between computers and humans
  • Databases and information systems: The structured storage of information and data in a computer or server that a database management system (DBMS) controls
  • Networks (computer networking): The practice of connecting multiple independent computers so that they may share resources and information

Where Should I Start My Computer Science Job Search?

Those who are beginning their computer science job search naturally want to know which roles have the most stability. Job seekers will be pleased to know that plenty of positions are projected to grow over the next decade.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the role of computer and information research scientist to grow by 22% (7,200 new positions) by 2030. This is much faster than the 8% national average for all positions.

Additionally, the BLS projects the roles of software developer, quality assurance analyst, and tester to grow by 22% by 2030.

Finally, the BLS projects the roles of web developer and digital designer to grow by 13% by 2030.

The following are some of the most in-demand roles in the field of computer science and information technology (IT):

  • Cloud engineer: Builds and maintains the infrastructure for cloud computing
  • Data scientist: Collects, analyzes, and transforms large datasets into usable information with actionable insights for company leaders and key decision-makers
  • Mobile app developer: Conceptualizes, designs, tests, and deploys software applications for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets
  • Computer systems analyst: Studies the current computer systems of an organization, and then devises ways to optimize them
  • Software developer: Conceptualizes and creates computer software applications that execute specific tasks
  • Software engineer: Oversees the design, development, quality assurance (QA), and maintenance of computer software applications

Fortunately, the internet makes it easier to conduct a computer science job search for these roles. The following sites are some of the most widely used for searching computer science and IT-related positions:

How Do I Improve My Chances of Employment?

How can you improve your chances of employment?

First, you should expand your business network to include knowledgeable and influential individuals who can help you connect with an employer. Companies fill 85% of jobs as a direct result of networking.

Second, you should craft a resume in which you paint yourself in the best possible light. It should effectively sell your skills, education, and experience.

Last, you need to be prepared to stand out in an interview. This is especially important considering that you’ll be in direct competition with every other applicant.

The following section offers some resources on networking, creating a strong resume, and prepping for an interview:

Pre-Application Candidate Resources

Steps to Landing the Perfect Job in Computer Science

During a computer science job search, you’ll see sections on job postings relevant to required degree type, desired experience and skills, and relevant certifications. The best way for you to be competitive in your computer science job search is to check as many of the education and experience boxes as possible.

You should complete the following steps:

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a Relevant Field

When you review the “How to Become One” tab on the BLS website for web developers and digital designers; software developers, QA analysts, and testers; and computer and information research scientists, notice that they all include an educational requirement.

A bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, programming, computer and information technology, engineering, or mathematics are the most relevant choices. Some companies are more strict in their hiring practices and may only look at candidates with advanced degrees, such as a master’s or doctoral degree.

Step 2: Select a Specialty

Computer science and IT professionals are usually not jacks-of-all-trades, but rather masters of one. Although a computer science degree program is broad in what it teaches its students, broad job positions don’t tend to exist on the open job market.

Keeping that in mind, future computer science job searchers are encouraged to select one specialty in the field, and then master it. This may involve further engaging in independent or academic study, earning relevant certifications, and gaining on-the-job experience through entry-level roles.

Step 3: Earn an Applicable Certification

As previously mentioned, companies look for candidates with the skills and knowledge that align with the position they’re hiring for. Nothing certifies a candidate’s knowledge and skills like a certification. Certifications let hiring managers know that the candidate has certain skills and knowledge that are relevant to the field of computer science and IT. Tech certifications and certificates may be earned through technology companies, industry organizations, universities, and online learning platforms.

Some of the most in-demand certifications are in the areas of:

Importantly, not all companies require their candidates to earn certifications. However, they often note that they’re “strongly preferred.”

Step 4: Find an Entry-Level Position and Gain Experience

It’s highly likely that those just entering the computer science and IT field won’t get their ideal position right out of the gate. In most cases, they’ll need to start off in a junior role and work their way up the ladder.

For example, a software engineer generally starts off as a junior software engineer before being promoted. After that, it takes approximately six years to become a senior software engineer.

Step 5: Earn an Advanced Degree

In some cases, the knowledge and skills required for a position are extensive enough that you’ll need to invest in an advanced degree. For example, the BLS says some employers require their computer and information research scientist candidates to have a master’s or doctoral degree. Some companies accept several years of experience with applicable certifications in lieu of a degree.

What Fields Use Computer Science?

The massive job growth in the computer science and IT field is a result of the wide array of industries that need the expertise of these professionals, including the following:

  • Computer system design
  • Data processing/analytics
  • Hardware development
  • Software development
  • Telecommunications

However, a healthy demand exists for those with an education and background in computer science beyond the world of tech and IT. The most popular non-IT fields for computer science job searchers  include the following:

  • Advertising, public relations, and marketing
  • Colleges and universities
  • Government
  • Finance
  • Nonprofits
  • Research and development

Where Do I Find More Information About Computer Science?

Use the following authoritative sites and online resources to help with your computer science job search:

The Association for Computing Machinery recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. It’s the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society that provides resources on advanced computing.

The Computing Research Association seeks to unite the IT industry, government, and academia to advance computing research. It offers programs for underrepresented groups as well as resources for students and researchers.

The IEEE Computer Society is an online resource of inspiration, information, and collaboration opportunities in the fields of engineering and computer science.

NASA provides a wide array of computer science educational resources for those who are interested in coding and programming lessons and activities, robotics, and more.

Computing for All is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping underrepresented groups learn about the world of computing, so they may start a career in computer science or IT.

Advance Your Career in Computer Science

The fields of computer science and IT are booming. Anyone embarking on a computer science job search can expect to encounter a wealth of options spanning many industries.

The best way to take advantage of these opportunities is by developing the knowledge and in-demand skills for the selected career path. Once a degree is acquired, landing the perfect job becomes a matter of gaining experience, earning relevant certifications, and using best practices for networking, applying, and interviewing.