Although money is unlikely to be the only factor directing your college course choice, the prospective size of your salary still matters. Information technology (IT) jobs are abundantly available, but just how much can you earn, and more importantly, will a computer science degree prepare you for a lucrative career? As the saying goes, many roads lead to Rome. The same is true for an IT career, with degree courses and apprenticeships offering different pathways to prepare you for work in the computer industry.
This article examines whether a computer science degree can help you secure a highly paid IT job. It also provides an overview of alternative routes. Lastly, we look at the requirements for the most lucrative IT careers, including IT education, soft skills and work experience.
What kind of jobs are available to computer science graduates?
According to a recent report, there are many versatile positions that computer science graduates can pursue, making them highly sought after and preparing them for highly paid positions. Computer science graduates often have their pick of vacancies in industries as diverse as you can imagine. Most companies need computer science graduates to handle IT needs, including system setup, maintenance and innovation.
A computer science degree allows graduates to access a wide range of IT jobs. Graduates can work in application development, gaming, cybersecurity, computer forensics, user experience and web design, and as machine learning engineers, to name just some of the options. These positions may be open to IT specialists without a degree too, whereas jobs in business analysis, nanotechnology and network engineering are some of the careers that are exclusive to IT graduates.
The knowledge and skills you acquire during your computer science program also provide a path to non-traditional IT roles, including education, journalism, entrepreneurship and management. With IT underpinning most business operations, computer science graduates have seemingly endless options, meaning they can combine their IT expertise with other passions for an opportunity to secure a job in their desired field.
Pathways to an illustrious IT career
Most highly-paid IT jobs typically require a computer science degree, which you can earn at a reputable university such as Baylor University through their CS degree online program. This degree program offers professionals the opportunity to develop their coding skills and opens doors to positions such as computer specialist upon graduation. After this, they can climb the career ladder by earning various IT-related certifications and become an Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Google Cloud Professional, Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) or Certified Scrum Master (CSM).
While gaining IT work experience, professionals can build winning portfolios that help them secure lucrative IT jobs. Excellent soft skills, including problem-solving, communication and creativity, propel them further up the IT career ladder.
Recruitment experts are likely to favor a candidate with a degree over one with very little industry experience. Above all, employers choose candidates with ample work experience who demonstrate their willingness to continually broaden their IT skillset. Extracurricular projects illustrating your eagerness to learn and grow your IT skills outside the degree program can also make the difference between landing a job and being passed over.
The three best-paid IT positions and their requirements
Let’s examine the three most illustrious IT jobs and how to secure them.
IT management positions rank at the top, as can be expected. IT managers drive the computer technology systems for entire corporations, meaning their role is crucial. Heading up IT departments, they are responsible for managing IT resources, operations and strategies. They also lead and liaise between IT teams to ensure smooth running processes. To secure an IT management position, candidates require a degree or certifications alongside IT work experience as team leaders, in data center management, network administration and personnel management.
Solutions architects evaluate an organization’s IT needs, identify problem areas and formulate solutions. They develop, build and implement the system architecture required to meet the business’ operational needs while continually monitoring performance and implementing any required changes.
A computer science degree, specialized certifications and broad work experience in project development and management are among the job requirements.
Principal software engineer
Principal software engineers head up teams of engineers to build and implement top-quality, scalable software. The role requires exceptional technical skills and exemplary soft skills, including communication and leadership, and the ability to manage teams. Day-to-day, principal software engineers review code and conceptualize software systems in line with business needs while keeping abreast of the latest IT trends.
A computer science degree or similar and a minimum of eight years of work experience are among the basic requirements. Exceptional soft skills are also a must, as are analytical and people management skills.
Systems architect, cybersecurity expert, cloud engineer, program analyst, product manager, DevOps engineer and management information systems (MIS) manager follow closely on the list of the top ten most illustrious IT jobs.
The future for computer science graduates
While the IT industry has experienced significant job cuts worldwide over the last year, the job prospects for highly qualified IT professionals remain excellent. A computer degree opens many doors, but candidates require much more to secure one of the best-paid positions. Only candidates with the most extensive work experience, outstanding soft skills and a growing skillset will secure high-salary IT jobs.
Even while studying, those dreaming of a lucrative IT career must put their nose to the grindstone to start building a portfolio and gaining work experience. Further education, such as a doctorate or master’s in IT or another related area, will also make candidates more attractive.