Right now is a great time to be graduating with a computer science degree; but with myriad opportunities available, what kind of jobs should you be applying for? You can start by asking yourself these two questions:
- What do you like doing?
- Where do you see yourself in the future?
Here are five computer science-friendly fields that you may want to consider.
The computer science grad with a solid general skill set would do well to begin a career at a startup. “You’ll learn more about how a business is run and how to build technology quickly (to test ideas) than anywhere else,” said David Yang, placement coordinator and lead instructor at the Fullstack Academy of Code in New York.
“Fullstack,” or the ability to handle all aspects of the development process, is an area of growth, especially for startups: “Fullstack developer” is a term you now see in a lot of job descriptions. It doesn’t matter if the company is new or at a mid-level of expansion. John Vandersande, a Boston-based principal consultant in the Software Technology Search group for WinterWyman, concurred with Yang, adding: “Startups need people who can touch all areas. You don’t need to be an expert, you have to be flexible and move between backend, server side and front-end.”
These are the giants in the field. By working at one of these companies, you’ll see the industry at a really high scale, go deep rather than broad and understand what it takes to run a Web behemoth. “Most likely you’ll be put in charge of something extremely specific because at scale, everything needs a lot of attention,” Yang said, “but you’ll learn a lot about how to be a productive member of a high-functioning team and will probably do some of the best programming of your life.”
Front-end Web development is probably the hardest skill set to find among developers, a situation that could continue for quite some time. “This is an area that’s going to remain very hot,” Vandersande said. “It’s a key skill set moving forward—especially for computer science majors.” The recruiter noted that his clients are looking for candidates who ideally have a computer science major and can build really complex interfaces.
He also suggested data visualization as a sidebar to UI: “Visualizing data—charts, graphs, etc. is also really popular.” Grads need to remain current on their skills in that area, as the technology evolves rapidly.
Both Yang and Vandersande recommended Big Data careers. Being able to work with large data sets is an in-demand skill in both the consumer and enterprise realms. “People are starting to do more real time data processing,” Vandersande said. “That area of data analytics, data processing and data science are all very active now and will all remain strong.”
The mobile market is solid for the long run. “Mobile is guaranteed to become more and more pervasive in people’s lives,” noted Vandersande. He added that native mobile apps and mobile Web are extremely important and, as everyone knows, iOS and Android are likely to remain in demand for some time.
Tech consulting offers perks such as “travel, constant new clients and rapid career development,” Yang enthused. Grads who want to see a wide swath of how the tech economy works should consider consulting. You could spend three months in the insurance industry, then the airline industry and move to the retail sector. Per Yang, you won’t code as much, but it could set you up for engineering management if you keep your knowledge of tech trends sharp.
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