7 Careers in Computer Science Fields

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover how to start your career in various computer science fields.

[Featured Image] A young person and their professor walk down a hallway and discuss potential computer science fields he can explore.

The study of computer science and computer science jobs are on the rise due to the increase in technology use. When you choose to study computer science, you may explore different fields as potential career routes. Many jobs in computer science fields focus on designing and improving software to create a better overall user experience.

Read on to explore seven different computer science fields and corresponding careers in each field. Discover the salaries, job outlooks, and educational requirements for each role and how to start a career in computer science.

Careers in computer science fields

Below are popular computer science fields and careers to explore:

1. Artificial intelligence

With the rise of machine learning, artificial intelligence careers are increasingly in demand. When you work with artificial intelligence, you create and improve machine learning models to ensure they can run efficiently and provide users with accurate information.

Machine learning engineer

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $127,695 [1]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 23 percent [2]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree

As a machine learning engineer, you must know programming languages to create and interact with machine learning models and applications. You test how machine learning models work and research how to improve them.

To become a machine learning engineer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field. To expand your career options and enhance your knowledge, you may consider getting a master’s degree in machine learning.

2. Data structures and algorithms

When you work with data structures and algorithms, you analyze data and research methods to improve the functionality of computer systems. You must possess strong analytical and problem-solving skills to work with data structures and algorithms.

Data scientist

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $120,496 [3]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 35 percent [4]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree

Data scientists research and collect data for building software programs, creating algorithms, and troubleshooting problems. You also present your data findings to other individuals at your organization and work together to create new methods to avoid problems in the future.

When you work as a data scientist, you must have strong problem-solving and analytical skills. You typically need at least a bachelor’s degree to start your career as a data scientist. However, some employers may prefer more work experience or a graduate degree before they hire you.

3. Computer networks

Computer networking is the process by which computer systems connect, communicate, and work with one another. To work with computer networks, you need a background in mathematics and strong communication and technical computer skills.

Network architect

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $133,377 [5]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 4 percent [6]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree

As a network architect, you create, test, and implement a business or organization’s computer networks. You develop networks to meet a business’s needs and continuously adjust and change them to ensure their functionality and efficiency.

Network architects typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, though employers’ exact qualifications may vary. As a network architect, you need to be proficient in the programs you use daily, such as Cisco or CompTIA, and may need to complete certifications in these programs to verify your proficiency. 

4. Computer architecture and organization

A career in computer architecture and organization involves creating databases and websites for computer systems. When you work with computer architecture, you ensure that the software you work on is designed and engineered to function properly.

Application architect

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $139,152 [7]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 25 percent [8]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree

Application architects design and uphold software applications for businesses and organizations. As an application architect, you use your technical knowledge and coding skills to create functional applications for other computer science roles, such as data analysts and web managers.

Application architects need strong leadership skills and the ability to work well with a team of others to reach a common goal. To become an application architect, you typically need a bachelor’s degree and some years of experience working with software.

5. Computer security

Computer security involves managing the safety of organizations' computer networks. When you work in computer security, you must have strong problem-solving and communication skills so you and your team can mitigate any issues that arise quickly and easily.

Cybersecurity analyst

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $103,717 [9]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 32 percent [10]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree and certifications

As a cybersecurity analyst, you work with a business or organization to prevent compromising data and recover lost data. You protect computer networks using security tools and constantly monitor computer software to ensure safety and avoid attacks and breaches of information.

Job requirements for cybersecurity analysts vary depending on the position or your employer; however, most prefer that you have completed some higher education in the form of a bachelor’s degree. Pursuing relevant certifications may boost your resume and increase your chances of getting hired. Popular certifications for cybersecurity analysts include the Certified Information Systems Security Professional or the Certified SOC Analyst.

6. Databases

When you study databases, you learn where and how data is located and put to use. Databases collect, store, and distribute information, specifically data. When you work with databases, you typically manage data and create functional databases.

Database administrator

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $100,729 [11]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 8 percent [12]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree

Database administrators ensure systems and applications work properly for an organization. As a database administrator, you create databases and confirm their functionality so users and other members of your team have the ability to access them with ease.

To become a database administrator, you typically need a background and strong knowledge of programming languages such as SQL and NoSQL, and a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related major. 

7. Human-computer interaction

Human-computer interaction is the study of how people interact with computers and other forms of technology. If you establish a career dealing with human-computer interaction, you’ll work to develop and improve software and databases that technology users interact with daily.

UX designer

Average annual US salary (Glassdoor): $98,529 [13]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2022 to 2032): 16 percent [14]

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree

As a UX designer, you'll create and maintain websites and databases. Your responsibilities include designing wireframes, researching user experience, implementing feedback, and creating functional digital architecture in the form of websites or applications.

To become a UX designer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree and a computer science or software engineering background. While some employers may hire you with only completed certifications or boot camps, most prefer at least a bachelor’s degree from an interested candidate.

Learn more with Coursera.

To pursue your interest in starting a career in the computer science field, consider taking courses and certifications that will help you develop your skills and enhance your knowledge. Explore Computer Science: Programming with a Purpose offered by Princeton University or the Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate on Coursera.

Article sources


Glassdoor, “Salary: Machine Learning Engineer, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/machine-learning-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,25.htm.” Accessed March 19, 2024.

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