As the demand for technically proficient people skilled in computer science grows, specificity on what someone knows becomes more relevant. While a computer science degree provides a reliable level of knowledge for employers to use as a prerequisite for some IT positions, this only goes so far. The generality in a broader degree is useful, but for students that wish to go into specific fields within technology, it can be seen as lacking in depth.
By contrast, a post-graduate IT-related qualification provides the opportunity to specialise in the areas of most interest. This is especially true when these overlap with skills in high demand, such as cybersecurity or as a database administrator in the cloud computing arena.
What are the career options for someone with a Master of Computer Science? Here are a few ideas.
Computer Network Architect
A computer network architect is a person who creates and maintains expansive data networks. Primarily, these are local area networks (LANs), intranets, and wide area networks (WANs) too. Because they’re a network architect, their role goes way beyond merely solving small network problems that periodically occur.
Instead, they are one of the people responsible for designing new networks from the ground up. They may also extend or reconfigure existing networks to manage company growth and the increasing technical requirements for an expanding workforce.
While some computer network architects may work in small IT departments where there is more of a network management oversight role with less design needed, that’s not typical. Increasingly, major corporations employ people in this role to create expansive, complex networks.
Also, the rapid growth in cloud computing has stimulated considerable demand and interest in recruiting additional people to these positions.
Job Growth Prospects
Job growth in network architecture is approximately five percent between 2020-2030. For new entrants, there isa considerable movement of IT personnel to other related specialisations. Also, as others age out of the job market and retire, this creates more vacancies. Therefore, there are opportunities for new entrants to the labor market offering skills in this area.
Salaries between $100,000-$110,000 are not uncommon for the most demanding positions.
Computer and Information Systems Managers
A Computer and Information Systems Manager (CIS) is a key decision-maker within the IT field. They also heavily coordinate between departments, suppliers, and outside consultants, where appropriate, to determine the exact requirements to meet all the current and future computing needs of the business.
When it comes to technology, the CIS has his or her finger on the pulse. They must maintain excellent planning toward what the complete computing needs are, including both hardware and software requirements to meet the objectives of the corporation.
They must liaise with all relevant departments to fully appreciate what IT capabilities are required both now, in the near term, and the years ahead. This way, they can make smart decisions about when to upgrade computing abilities, change the software platforms being used, or make other changes.
Disruption also must be necessarily minimised. Therefore, upgrades and major changes need to fit around large projects that cannot be disrupted due to technological adjustments.
From a hiring and management perspective, the CIS is involved in choosing the hires, arranging the training, and the supervision of IT workers, including programmers, analysts, and other IT employees under their remit. Performance reviews and ongoing oversight of their team(s) are their responsibility too. Beyond this, they manage different projects and will assign the relevant team members to them toward a better result and/or to maximise productivity.
Job Growth Prospects
Job growth as a Computer and Information Systems Managers is an agreeable 11 percent from 2020-2030. As teams expand and companies have ever-growing IT requirements, the need for qualified people to keep everything running smoothly will only increase.
As a senior manager within the corporation including a great deal of oversight, liaison, and management skills required, the salary offered is usually around the $140,000-150,000 range. Indeed, the larger the scope of the role, the higher up the salary range it’ll go. People entering this position for the first time will need at least five years of previous IT work experience to be seriously considered. Also, first-timers and/or those managing significantly smaller IT teams can expect lower remuneration.
Web Developers and Digital Designers
Some people who study and later work in the IT field are programmers and designers. Many were early adopters of programming and followed it as a hobby before they ever considered it as a career. For these folks, it is often the case that the more technical fields within IT never interested them. They would rather learn a new computing language or a digital design technology than delve into network management or other aspects.
While some web developers will specialise in certain languages, others try to cover a broad spectrum of different ones. Therefore, while there are those developers that program websites, sometimes including the backend with small databases too, others may be dedicated Java programmers and only work freelance or on projects requiring this. For example, finance and merchant banking businesses often employ Java programmers for custom, in-house projects.
A digital designer produces designs for websites, but also animation projects, media advertising, mobile app design frameworks, and more. Similar to what was stated earlier, a creative focus leads someone in this profession to not lean towards the more technical aspects of IT.
For an ambitious web developer or a digital designer, they may wish to move up within the organisation or take a management position elsewhere. To do so, a master is something that an employer will look upon favorably. This educational move expands their future career prospects to avoid either getting stuck in one position or being taken more seriously for advanced roles.
At a certain point, adding more programming certifications or taking another short course won’t do much for their career. Also, it’s a reality that age is a factor within web development especially. With programmers often starting in their teens, the average age of web developers is younger than in other IT professions. Therefore, it’s beneficial career-wise to aim to move into a management position by the early 30s at the latest and to advance to senior IT management positions into the 40s and beyond.
To have an increased chance of being promoted to the managerial ranks, an online masters in computer science course like the one from Worcester Polytechnic Institute significantly bolsters a resume. It includes a detailed curriculum covering systems programming, network security, database systems, and more. This type of post-graduate degree expands both the breadth and depth of understanding to manage different people within the computing team.
Job Growth Prospects
Job growth is 13 percent from 2020 to 2030 for web developers and digital designers. As more companies are formed and websites continue to grow and are redeveloped, there is no shortage of demand for experienced people in this field. Management of web teams has fewer vacancies to chase, but with a master’s, that’s a significant leg up over someone with a bachelor’s looking for their first promotion to a supervisory or managerial level.
For salary, the remuneration hovers around $75,000-$78,000 for the typical position that includes a management role. While it is not as high as for some other IT professionals, this reflects the less technical aspect of the work. However, plenty of web workers from programmersto creative designers choose to freelance instead. Alternatively, they can start a web agency where there’s more growth potential by employing a team.
Computer Systems Analyst
The Computer Systems Analyst position is an interesting one for people who are naturally inquisitive, detail-oriented and tend to be logical and systematic. They are responsible for examining the company’s computer system technology and operations around these. Efficiency in their functionality is a key responsibility to ensure the company gets the most out of its technology investment.
Tests are often run by someone in this position to model different outcomes. They look for new improvements, reconfigurations, or additions that will contribute to squeezing more juice out of the existing computer systems within an organisation.
Keeping a good eye on emerging technologies to see how they may best be implemented is an interesting part of this role. Some early adoption of new technologies leads to numerous headaches because it’s not ready for prime time yet. On the flip side, falling behind on adding new technologies allows competitors to steal a march on their employer. Therefore, a balance must be found between eagerly adopting the new and interesting versus keeping the business systems functioning optimally.
A new system configuration is also required to ensure it performs as expected. Manuals on how to use them correctly must also be produced, especially when the installation has been significantly customised.
Job Growth Prospects
Job growth is nine percent from 2020-2030. While a computer systems Analyst role may not be as glamorous as getting into cloud computing, it’s an in-demand role that’s not going away. As companies seek to get more out of their existing investment in computing systems, this role remains an important one.
For salary, approximately $90,000 is to be expected as a computer systems analyst. For smaller operations and the less experienced, a lower salary is likely. However, for the more expansive systems of the larger corporations, the salary may be higher.
Database Administrators and Architects
Database Administrators and Architects (DBAs) are heavily involved in the design, creation, and management of relational database systems. People in this position will need to consider what a database will be required for, and how best it can be designed to perform this function.
For example, databases are comprised of tables of information. Each table can join with another one to find the information contained within both. Therefore, one table might include the customer information whereas the second table records order information. When querying the results for a particular customer/user, all their orders can be successfully located. The DBA must consider these types of informational search requirements to ensure that their database structure allows for them.
The architecture aspect of the role relates to designing, redesigning, and updating existing relational database systems. The administrator aspect involves ongoing management of the database, including data cleansing, changes to the existing structure, preventing loss of data through data backups, and more.
The emphasis on Big Data, AI, and intelligent number-crunching efforts means that databases are more important now. Without both safe storage of a company’s data and good ways to search it for new insights, companies risk falling behind or missing emerging trends from customers. Good database architecture prevents this from occurring.
Job Growth Prospects
Job growth is eight percent from 2020-2030. Big corporations with a growing need to manage their customer and industry data will seek out high performers in this field.
For salary, between $95,000-$98,000 is realistic for people with a good amount of experience working with relational database systems and other types too.
Information Security Analysts
Information security analysts are presently in high demand. As the need for improved network security and other security aspects became more necessary, there has been a shortage of skilled personnel. Because of this, salaries after often appealing in this field reaching the six-figure mark quite easily.
Providing adequate protection from hacking attempts is a continuous need. Bad actors of all kinds seek to access company networks to steal their intellectual property. Security for websites, data centers, and the databases connected to websites also must be safeguarded from attack. Anyone who owns a website sees numerous daily attempts to either nefariously login or find a backdoor entry into the website to either steal information or take the site over completely.
The threat from viruses, malware, and other software nasties can intentionally corrupt files, or lock up PCs demanding crypto payment to unlock them, and worse. Confidential intellectual property has sometimes been released on the internet when companies failed to pay following a ransomware attack too. Security professionals are needed to keep businesses safe from internet threats.
Job Growth Prospects
Job growth is 32 percent for information security analysts. Due to the demand at present and the ongoing labor shortage, this will continue to be a much sought-after role.
For salary, $99,000 is approximately what is available to people who are qualified and are at the top of their game. It may be possible to exceed this by becoming further specialised within the IT security field.
As you can now appreciate, holding a master’s in computer science provides entry into several lucrative job opportunities. Depending on which areas of IT match your skillset and interests, there is a career choice that will suit you.