Degrees Needed for Computer Careers

The early pioneers in computer science, such as Alan Turing and Seymour Cray, did not have Computer Science degrees. In fact, there wasn’t even a single Department of Computer Science in the U.S. until 1962. But that was then, and this is now. It is very difficult to be successful in any sector of IT without some sort of degree and/or certification.

Don’t be alarmed, however. You don’t necessarily need a doctorate and to spend six or eight years in school before you can become a computer professional. Often, a two-year associate’s degree is enough to get you started. Also, many companies will pay for continuing education, should you decide to further your education by obtaining a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. For some computer careers, however, especially in academia or research, a PhD may be required.

What degree you need, how long it will take, how much it will cost, and what you need to study all depend on what field of computer work you want to pursue. For example, if you are interested in computer networks, your choice of education and degree may differ from that of someone who wants to work with robotics and aviation. Both of these will differ from the education required to teach computer science.

Types of Computer Careers

There are many types of computer careers, each focusing on a different aspect of computer technology. For example, jobs can focus on telecommunications and networking, digital media, Web development, software application development, computer hardware, video games, and many other areas. In addition to this variety, computer careers are relevant to virtually every industry, ranging from healthcare to the military, from energy to education.

What computer career you choose to pursue depends on your specific interests, skills and abilities, and education. If you like to work on the “guts” of computers, maybe you want to be a repair specialist or a computer hardware engineer. If you are more attracted to analyzing a client’s needs and creating a tool that meets those needs, a computer career as a software designer could be just the thing. If it seems like your computer’s joystick is a natural extension of your body, then perhaps you should consider a career as a video game developer.

Here are some overviews of a variety of computer careers — what the job entails, average and projected salaries, education required, and so on. Whatever computer career you decide to pursue, rest assured you’ll be working in a fast-growing, fast-paced, exciting, and rewarding field.

Last Updated: 04/26/2014

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