How to Start Your Career in Computer Science
Technological advances have leaped forward dramatically over the last couple of decades and the industry is ever-changing. There are more jobs than ever before within the large vast field of computer science – including infrastructure defense, software development, and data analysis. A career in computer science can be incredibly rewarding. If you are excited by computer science and yearn to learn more about the field and eventually break into a career in the field, then you have come to the right place. This article will look at all the things you need to do to get into a career in computer science.
Laying the Foundations
In the competitive world of job hunting, businesses need to ensure their chosen candidates have the knowledge they desire. You must have at least a degree within a relevant field of computer science. Due to the scope of the computer science field, you may want to take this even further and work towards a master’s degree – taking on a specialism within the field will help set yourself against the competition.
We don’t all know exactly what we want to do in life when we are new adults and getting ready to venture off to university. You may have gone for something completely different. You’ve done well in your chosen degree, taken some time to reflect, and decided that you want to steer your career towards computer science. Don’t worry, you can still get into the field, with plenty of offerings of online masters in computer science for non cs majors. It is important to note, however, that you will stand a better chance of gaining entry if your degree was in a technical field like math or physics. This does not mean that it is impossible to gain entry if your degree was completely irrelevant, as long as you can evidence quality knowledge and experience in computer science.
With the sheer scope and size of computer science and the fast rate of changes, you are never going to learn and know everything there is to know – and to claim otherwise won’t help your career. The best thing to do is to think about what you enjoy the most about the field and choose an area to specialize in. Being a master of one specific area will increase your chances of being picked up by potential future employers.
Even though it is important to choose a specialism, make sure that you don’t rush into it, then spend a lot of money studying it, only to find you don’t like it. You can always test the water by taking a couple of short courses first.
A Postgraduate Plan
We’re often asked where we see ourselves in ten years, and we mostly have a vague idea of where we want to be but not how to get there. Doing your research and setting your sights on a dream job will help you understand what it is you need to do to get where you want to be. There are countless jobs out there to consider, all with a specific set of requirements, but these are the ones that will earn you the most money:
- Senior Software Development Engineer – $82,000 – $157,000 annually
- Cyber Security Engineer – $73,000 – $130,000 annually
- Android Software Developer – $64,000 – $140,000 annually
- Information Security Manager – $32,000 – $78,000
- Software Quality Assurance Manager- $38,000 – $76,000
Regardless of if you are motivated by money or a certain passion, it is important to know where you are headed.
So, having a degree, and possibly a master’s in your chose area of expertise is only part of the battle. You have to be able to get onto your chosen career path, which is a highly competitive task. How are you going to show potential employers that you are the right choice over somebody else?
Let’s take a quick look at things you can do to strengthen your resume:
Volunteer – after you graduate, spending time searching for volunteer positions can be great if you’re willing to sacrifice an income. Volunteering is ideal for everyone involved because it gives you professional experience and it is risk-free for businesses.
Certification – learning doesn’t stop after you graduate. If you’re struggling to gain employment then consider doing a certificated course, which can go a long way with employers.
Internships – although mostly associated with college students – there are government internships that are available to recently graduated students. You can get great recognized experience if you are willing to sacrifice some pay figures.
Take a look at your resume and ask yourself if it shines through how brilliant you are. If it doesn’t, then do everything in your power to make sure that it does; the payoff will be worth it even if it doesn’t feel like that immediately.
With so much focus on the technical skills needed to jump onto your chosen career path, it’s easy to forget the importance of being human. You might have the brains of a computer but if your interpersonal skills aren’t on par, then someone else will probably beat you to the job – after all, a big part of an interview is having the gift of the gab and making a lasting impression. So, make sure that you can demonstrate effective teamwork and communication on your resume.
Finally, once you’ve made your way through this exciting journey you will be ready to apply for jobs and showcase your brilliance at interviews. Although this goes for any job, make sure that you are ready to answer questions about your dream job, show your passion, and know the company inside and out. Remember, if you don’t succeed at first, you can reflect and hit back even better next time.
Whatever your end destination, hopefully you feel more prepared to get your journey off to a flying start. As long as you are happy in life and enjoy the journey then all of the hardships will be worth it. So, all that is left is to say good luck on your adventure.