Top 5 Entry-Level Computer Science Jobs + How to Get One

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Learn how to enter the computer science industry with or without prior experience.

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Technology is constantly evolving to improve our quality of life. As its capabilities grow, so do the responsibilities that surround it. Recent emphasis on cloud computing and big data management has generated high demand for computer science professionals. Whether you’re a recent graduate or an established professional looking to shift focus, you can seize this opportunity to enter the industry. The article below explores the top five entry-level computer science jobs and recommendations to help land one.  

What are entry-level computer science jobs?

Entry-level jobs exist in every industry. They require the least amount of expertise, education, or training to perform. These roles are ideal for recent graduates or anyone new to a career field. Entry-level computer science jobs typically require one or more of the following credentials:

If you don’t yet possess any of the skills mentioned above, don’t worry. Many entry-level positions involve on-the-job training and there are several ways for aspiring computer science professionals to prepare themselves for an entry-level role. 

The top 5 entry-level computer science jobs

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the computer science industry are projected to grow 13 percent between 2020 and 2030 [1], a significantly higher growth rate than the 8 percent average for all occupations. Although the broader industry is in demand, there is a wide range of specializations to consider before pursuing your career. The list below groups top entry-level computer science jobs from least to most education required.

1. Computer support specialists

A computer support specialist has two primary responsibilities: providing users with technical help and maintaining computer networks. A few of the role’s duties include troubleshooting and maintaining networks, testing and analyzing systems, and assisting users in person or remotely. Sometimes, computer support specialists are referred to as help-desk technicians or IT support.

Relevant skills: Technical proficiency, communication, conflict resolution, problem-solving, reporting, multitasking, administration. 

Median pay: $55,510 annual salary or $26.69 hourly [2]

Education requirements: Varied. Computer support specialist roles that focus on network support may need an associate degree. However, candidates may qualify for this position with a high school diploma and the appropriate information technology certifications like the Google IT Support Professional Certificate

Expected job growth 2020-2030: 9% [2]

2. Web developers and designers

Web developers and designers create and maintain websites. Web developers typically focus on technical elements like performance but may also contribute to a website's content. Designers develop, test, and maintain the interface. They're responsible for both functionality and appearance. Desirable credentials for this role include knowledge of programming languages and HTML and design software proficiency.

Relevant skills: Technical proficiency, creativity, graphic design, photo editing, content management, communication, problem-solving, business strategy, search engine optimization (SEO)

Median pay: $77,200 annual salary or $37.12 hourly [3]

Education requirements: Varied. Some employers may only require a high school diploma and relevant work experience, while others require a bachelor's degree in web design or graphic arts. Professional certificates like the Google UX Design Professional Certificate are excellent tools for strengthening your resume and preparing for this role. 

Expected job growth 2020-2030: 13% [3]

3. Software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers

Software developers design computer programs and applications. Quality assurance (QA) analysts and testers are then responsible for identifying and reporting defects in the software. They often work closely with one another in a collaborative setting. Due to the constantly evolving nature of technology, people in these roles must stay current on new developments and industry trends.

Relevant skills: Technical proficiency, problem-solving, collaboration, adaptability, communication

Median pay: $110,140 annual salary or $52.95 hourly [4]

Education requirements: A degree in computer science or a related field is generally required for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers. Some employers may require developers to have a master’s degree

Expected job growth 2020-2030: 22% [4]

4. Information security analysts

Information security analysts protect an organization’s computer networks, systems, and data. They plan and execute security measures to minimize vulnerabilities and monitor the system for breaches. Additionally, their job duties may include helping users understand procedures and install products related to security.

Relevant skills: Technical proficiency, problem-solving, attention to detail, communication, conflict resolution, adaptability, investigative

Median pay: $103,590 annual salary or $49.80 hourly [5]

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in computer science is typically required. Previous work experience in IT or administration is highly favorable. Many employers prefer candidates with relevant professional certificates, like the IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate.

Expected job growth 2020-2030: 33% [5]

5. Computer and information research scientists

Computer and information research scientists identify computing problems and develop models and theories to solve them. They may create computing languages and other tools that help people work with computers more efficiently. A computer and information research scientist conducts experiments, analyzes the results, and publishes their research findings. They may also present their research at conferences or other public speaking events. 

Relevant skills: Technical proficiency, logic, attention to detail, analytical, writing, public speaking, problem-solving, collaboration 

Median pay: $126,830 annual salary or $60.97 hourly [6]

Education requirements: Although a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for some employers, a master’s degree in computer science or a related field of study is generally required. 

Expected job growth 2020-2030: 22% [6]

How to find entry-level computer science jobs

The first step job seekers often take is a Google search—for example, “entry-level computer science jobs near me.” Of course, Google will do its best to return helpful and accurate results, but the field of computer science is broad and diverse. Consistently encountering jobs outside the scope of your credentials can be discouraging. Here are a few strategies you can apply to your search that will generate more of the jobs you want to see and less of the ones you don’t.  

Familiarize yourself with the field.

Once you’ve identified a desired area of expertise, get to know the industry. Suppose you’re interested in obtaining a software developer position. In that case, you might research the space by perusing popular blogs or following YouTube channels in the software development niche. 

Another thing to keep in mind while searching for entry-level computer science jobs is that many are remote. Studies suggest that by 2028, 73 percent of all teams will have remote workers [7]. Consider increasing the scope of your search by including remote positions and in-office roles. Popular job searching sites like Indeed and Glassdoor allow users to toggle filters like “entry-level” and “remote” that can eliminate irrelevant search results. 

Research the desired qualifications.

At this point, you’ve completed the foundational research and discovered a few potential positions. The next step is to build your resume by highlighting your unique and valuable skills. Even if you’re not quite ready to apply, browsing job postings is an excellent way to determine which qualifications are in demand for the position you seek. 

Enhance your skills.

Although entry-level computer science jobs require the least formal training, it’s essential to establish yourself as a strong candidate. There are many pathways to success, especially in the digital age where you can get a computer science degree online. You may already have a degree or prior work experience that employers will accept in lieu of a specialization. Nonetheless, professional certificates from accredited institutions or industry names like IBM and Google can be extremely valuable. 

Get ahead with Coursera

When you’re ready to take the next step in your career, consider enrolling in a computer science course. The Introduction to Computer Science and Programming specialization is an excellent option for those who are new to the field. If you’re looking to supplement your degree, consider professional specializations like the AI and Machine Learning Master Track Certificate.

Related articles

Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer and Information Technology Occupations, www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm.” Accessed April 8, 2022. 

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer Support Specialists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm#tab-1.” Accessed April 8, 2022. 

3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Web Developers and Digital Designers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm.” Accessed April 8, 2022.

4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm.” Accessed April 8, 2022.

5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Information Security Analysts, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm.” Accessed April 8, 2022.

6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Computer and Information Research Scientists, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm.” Accessed April 8, 2022.

7. Upwork. “Third Annual Future Workforce Report, https://www.upwork.com/press/releases/third-annual-future-workforce-report.” Accessed April 8, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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