Computer: Schools and Careers Computer-related profession encompasses a growing number of specializations and career opportunities with each passing year. 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. Because of the overall growth in technology careers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that job openings for all computer-related occupations could increase by 18 percent from 2012 to 2022.
While there are many specialties and sub-specialties in the field, the following list includes many of the most popular computer-related careers:
Top Careers in Computer and Information Technology (BLS, 2013)
|Career||Number of Workers Nationally in 2013||Job Description||Degree Requirements|
|Software Developers and Programmers||1,442,500||Software engineers design all types of widely-used systems and applications. Based on the needs of their clients, they develop, construct, test, and maintain software for compilers, operating systems, control systems, data compression and transmission technology, artificial intelligence, networking, and many different types of applications.||A Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Computer Programming, or Software Development is a great start for this career, although a degree in another computer-related field may also help you gain employment.|
|Computer User Support Specialists||541,250||These professionals help people use computers. They troubleshoot problems and either fix them or assist clients in fixing them. They also install software and peripheral devices, such as printers and modems, and often perform preventative or routine maintenance on computer systems.||According to the BLS, a Bachelor's degree is required for some computer support specialist positions. However, an Associate degree or certificate may be enough to qualify in certain situations.|
|Computer Systems Analysts||507,100||Computer Systems Analysts plan and test systems or networks to ensure they can perform a required set of tasks for the client. They often advise businesses on which computers and software to buy and then get the components to work together. They plan how information will get into the system, how it will be processed, and how it will get to the parties who need it.||A Bachelor's degree in Computer Science is the most popular way to begin this career. However, candidates with Bachelor's degrees in other fields can also get hired if they have applicable job experience in computer science.|
|Database Administrators||114,910||These professionals set up large computer databases and then store, organize, and manage the information contained in them. In doing so, they need to actively address issues such as security, data integrity, and data backup as part of their job.||Database administrators usually have a Bachelor's degree in Information Systems or a computer-related field.|
|Web Developers||112,820||These people construct and maintain websites. In doing so, they often combine technical and artistic expertise to create Internet sites that are both functional and attractive. They also need to optimize the speed and size of the site so that it operates with maximum efficiency. In many cases, website managers will work closely with artists, writers, and designers to decide how the site will look.||The BLS reports that web developers typically need to earn an Associate's degree in Web Design or a computer-related field.|
Computer Career Education
A career in computers typically begins with proper preparation at one of many of the colleges and universities that offer computer science and technology-related degrees. The following table uses BLS data to outline the different degree and certificate options in this field and what kind of career they may help you qualify for:
|Degree Type||Timeline for Completion||Possible Careers|
|Certificate||Although timelines vary considerably depending on the program you choose, many certificate programs can be completed in one year or less.||Computer User Support Specialist, Web Developer|
|Associate||Associate degrees can typically be completed with two years of full-time study. However, programs completed on a part-time basis may take longer.||Computer Use Support Specialist, Web Developer|
|Bachelor's||Bachelor's degree programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete.||Computer and Research Information Scientist, Computer Programmer, Computer Systems Manager, Database Administrator, Network and Communications Analyst,
Network and Computer Systems Administrator, Software Engineer For Applications, Software Engineer For Systems, Computer Systems Analyst,
Computer Network Architect,
Information Security Analyst
|Graduate or Professional||Students can typically earn a graduate or professional degree in 1-2 years after earning a Bachelor's degree.||Computer and Research Information Scientist, Computer Programmer, Computer Systems Manager, Database Administrator, Network and Communications Analyst, Network and Computer Systems Administrator, Software Engineer For Applications,
Software Engineer For Systems,
Computer Systems Analyst,
Computer Network Architect,
Information Security Analyst
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Computer and Information Research Scientists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm#tab-1
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Computer Support Specialists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm#tab-1
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Database Administrators, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm#tab-1
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Computer Network Architects, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-network-architects.htm#tab-6
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Computer Systems Analysts, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm#tab-1
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Web Developers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm#tab-1
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," May 2013 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
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 2022.(Where data is denoted by an asterisk (*), summary info was not available.
Click each Occupation title for more details.
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||*|
|Computer Network Architects||146,600|
|Computer Support Specialists||*|
|Computer Systems Analysts||*|
|Computer Systems Managers||341,250|
|Information Security Analysts||88,880|
|Network and Communications Analysts||*|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||*|
|Software Engineers For Applications||*|
|Software Engineers For Systems||*|
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