Computer Career Overview
The Computer profession encompasses an ever-growing number of specializations and career opportunities. The widespread proliferation of the information technology industry has spawned a huge variety of occupations spanning the areas of product development, design, support, testing, research, and more. Individuals with computer-related careers might find themselves in a variety of environments including academia, industry, government, manufacturing, business, and health care organizations. While there are many specialties and sub-specialties in the field, computer-related careers can be divided into a few major groupings:
Computer Career Education
Educational requirements vary widely in this field and depend on exactly what type of computer profession an individual wishes to pursue. Those wishing to become computer engineers will need a bachelor's degree in a related area. Software engineers should get their degree in computer science, software engineering, or applied mathematics. Ideally, hardware engineers should obtain an engineering degree, although a science or math degree may suffice for some jobs. Some of the more complex jobs in either area may require a graduate degree. While a degree is not mandatory for a support specialist job, it would make things easier when seeking employment. Many support specialists earn associate degrees, although some prepare for jobs by passing a certification test using knowledge derived from their experience working with computers.
Systems analyst jobs require at least a bachelor's degree, preferably in computer science, information science, or management information systems. Some analysts get their degree in other subjects and take computer classes to acquire computer experience. A very helpful asset for a systems analyst is a master's degree in business, which will help provide an understanding of the types of computers that businesses need. Website managers should plan on going to college for at least two years to earn an associate degree, although some jobs in this area require a four-year bachelor's degree, especially if the job is complicated, high paying, or includes supervising others. Website managers can enhance their marketability by supplementing their degree program with art and design courses.
Education requirements for database administrator jobs vary by employer. Some jobs require only a two-year associate degree in computer science or a related information technology field. Others require a bachelor's degree in computer science, information science, or management information systems (MIS). And for some jobs, employers seek workers with a master's degree in business administration (MBA) and a concentration in information systems.
Schools for Computer are listed in the column to the left.
This table shows summary data on occupations in the US. Clicking on any occupation name brings you to a page showing job prospects and salaries for that occupation in hundreds of metro areas across the country, with data updated through 2008.(Where data is denoted by an asterisk (*), summary info was not available.
The green bars in the table below indicate the relative salary levels and growth rates of each occupation, compared to the others. The levels are determined by sorting the occupations (by salary or growth rate, separately) and then dividing them into ten groups corresponding to the the ten possible green bar levels. So a single bar means the occupation is in the bottom 10% for that characteristic compared to others on this page.
Click each Occupation title for more details.
|Occupation||Jobs||Median Pay||% Growth
|Computer and Information Scientists||26,610|
|Computer Support Specialists||545,520|
|Computer Systems Managers||276,820|
|Network and Communications Analysts||230,410|
|Network and Systems Administrators||327,850|
|Operations Research Analysts||60,860|
|Software Engineers For Applications||494,160|
|Software Engineers For Systems||381,830|
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Computer.
Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.