Real-world applications of computer science are experienced by billions of people every day. Computer science professionals develop applications, networks, and systems that underpin the global economy. Completing an online master’s in computer science degree unlocks opportunities to shape the world.
Online master’s in computer science programs teach future industry leaders to improve lives on grand scales. The theoretical and practical lessons of a graduate education show how computer science impacts users in subtle ways. We get a sense of the global scale of the field’s influence by looking at hardware statistics from 2020 including:
- 275 million personal computers sold worldwide
- 3.8 billion global smartphone users
- 20.4 billion Internet of Things devices in use around the world
Computer, smartphone, and smart device users interact daily with programs that save time and expand horizons. Computer science professionals make these innovations possible. An online Master in Computer Science degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) builds the skills and experience necessary to solve tomorrow’s technology challenges.
Anticipating the Industries in Need of Computer Science Experts
Computer scientist Alan Kay once said, “In computer science, you give the computer the rules, and it creates the world.” Practitioners in this field program new views of the world and capabilities into existence. Online master’s in computer science graduates make the most out of their opportunities by building in-demand skills.
The best computer science programs are responsive to the needs of the marketplace. Developers, architects, and administrators who complete online computer science master’s degrees tick all of the boxes in LinkedIn’s top technical skills:
- Cloud computing
- Analytical reasoning
- Artificial intelligence
- User experience design
The reach of computer science has extended beyond universities and software companies. Businesses in every industry are considering how to best use technological advances to serve their customers.
TechRepublic lists eight industries with growing opportunities and high-paying salaries for computer science graduates including:
- Transportation: Average tech salary: $145,000
- Education: Average tech salary: $135,000
- Communications: Average tech salary: $133,000
- Retail: Average tech salary: $126,000
- Technology: Average tech salary: $126,000
- Entertainment: Average tech salary: $118,000
- Healthcare: Average tech salary: $115,000
- Financial services: Average tech salary: $111,000
Innovations in computer science will open new opportunities for lifelong tech experts as well as motivated newcomers. Online master’s in computer science programs train graduates for in-demand career paths through lessons in theory and practical experiences.
In-Demand Computer Science Careers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates an 11% growth in computer and information technology jobs by 2029. Computer science jobs are not one-size-fits-all with abundant opportunities for different competencies and interests. Newcomers to computer science can build long and fulfilling careers in the following paths.
1. Information Security Analysts
Computer science graduates can help governments and businesses thrive in the digital world as information security analysts. Poor security measures and outdated systems can be expensive propositions for victims. IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020 estimated an average cost of $3.86 million from a sample analysis of 524 major breaches.
Information security analysts stay on top of the best countermeasures to today’s cybersecurity threats. They protect sensitive data and proprietary information from prying eyes by:
- Conducting regular penetration tests to identify weak spots in their defenses
- Updating or replacing software based on analysis of sensitive areas
- Training staff members on how to do their part in avoiding threats
This career path represents one of the more promising over the next decade. The BLS estimates 31% growth in job opportunities by 2029 with 40,900 new jobs created. Information security analysts earned an average of $99,730 in 2019, a rewarding salary for working on the digital frontline.
2. Software Developers
Online master’s in computer science programs train software developers to contribute fully to the development lifecycle. From planning to maintenance, a successful developer knows how to meet client needs while creating elegant designs. Productivity software, dating apps, video games, and more run smoothly thanks to the hard work of developers.
Each software project is a unique puzzle solved by developers to make life easier for users. Software developers use diagrams, charts, and consultations to fit individual components into cohesive programs. A developer juggles a lot of tasks for each project including:
- Multiple rounds of testing for each version
- Thorough documentation of every version to inform future updates
- Consultations with programmers on software security and accessibility
Software development is a competitive industry with an estimated $507.2 billion in global revenues in 2021. Developers turn their in-demand skills into an average of $107,510 per year, according to the BLS. Graduates of online master’s in computer science programs can take advantage of an estimated 22% growth in developer jobs by 2029.
3. Computer Network Architects
A modern workplace is essentially a series of network components working in unison. Small businesses use routers, wireless adapters, and switches to ensure staff productivity. Major corporations seamlessly connect local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs) to stay competitive.
Computer network architects equipped with online master’s in computer science degrees can design efficient systems. They work with business leaders to identify desired outcomes, budgets, and future goals. A network architect considers the following factors as they create durable systems:
- Physical barriers to network performance including office layouts
- Present and future hardware use that requires increased capacity
- Security variables that may leave networks vulnerable to attacks
- Emerging technologies that could be incorporated into networks
Online master’s in computer science programs include group projects and capstone experiences that are good test runs for future architects. The average administrator earned $112,690 in 2019, according to the BLS. This career path will grow in the next decade with an estimated 8,000 new jobs on the market by 2029.
4. Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Architects take the macro-level view of networks and connected systems in their daily work. They rely on administrators to handle the day-to-day management of their designs. Network and systems administrators lead IT and support teams that help others get work done.
Online master’s in computer science degrees provide the technical knowledge to enter this career path. Administrators work with architects to monitor network interactions to hardware and respond to emerging issues. Their daily checklists may include tasks like:
- Coordinating with support staff on new employee access and training
- Overseeing system upgrades and patches that address security threats
- Conducting hardware replacements in coordination with departments
Aspiring administrators can use practical experiences in their online master’s in computer science programs to prepare for future jobs. The BLS estimates an additional 16,000 administrator positions will be available by 2029. The average administrator earned $83,510 per year in 2019.
5. Computer Systems Analysts
Organizations that stand still in their technology use fall behind the competition. Network architecture and management that worked in the recent past may not be sufficient for future challenges. Computer systems analysts are essential to making networks and systems perform to future expectations.
Systems analysts bridge the divides between business and IT considerations in their work. Analysts work with departmental leaders, support staff, and consultants to diagnose the right solutions for an organization’s goals. The following tasks are typical for a systems analysis project:
- Evaluate existing documentation to determine how systems are used
- Turn knowledge of current technology to redesign systems where necessary
- Customize new features based on the client’s performance expectations
- Produce revised documentation and train staff to maximize the system’s potential
Online master’s in computer science degrees provide the analytical skills critical for success in this field. The BLS found an average salary of $90,920 per year for computer systems analysts. This career path is set to grow by an estimated 7% – or 46,600 jobs – by 2029 with high demand in the healthcare and financial sectors.
6. Computer Information and Research Scientists
The career paths we’ve mentioned so far focus on the day-to-day concerns of computer productivity. Major innovations and small leaps forward in technology start with computer scientists. A computer scientist theorizes, experiments, and builds concepts for the future of technologies we use every day.
Scientists often work with engineers and specialists to solve problems of human-computer interaction. From health apps to robotics, computer scientists consider the current marketplace of innovations to develop new ideas. Their work may not immediately reach users but each experiment is critical to bringing the next innovation to the market.
Online master’s in computer science degrees meet the baseline expectations of corporate, academic, and government employers for this career. The typical computer scientist earned $122,840 per year in 2019. The BLS estimates that job opportunities in this career will grow 15% by 2029 thanks to the global demand for next-generation technology.
Train to Become a Computer Science Innovator at WPI
Growing demand for computer science professionals leads to growing expectations by employers. Twenty-five percent of computer science job openings in 2020 expressed a preference for master’s program graduates. This percentage will only rise in the future, making an online master’s in computer science an essential asset for tech innovators.
WPI’s Master of Computer Science program provides advanced education in an entirely virtual setting. Degree candidates start on the same level with foundational courses in programming concepts and systems programming. The program’s core design courses provide hands-on experience in:
- Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Database Management Systems
Master of Computer Science students can build specialized skills through Computer Systems and Cybersecurity specializations, or they can customize their degree through a variety of electives. Every candidate participates in a capstone experience that synthesizes previous lessons into solving a real-world problem. With the help of experienced and engaged faculty, WPI graduates are prepared for the biggest challenges facing their employers.
WPI stands apart from other online master’s in computer science programs in terms of its national reputation. U.S. News & World Report recognized WPI’s place on the forefront of modern higher education with rankings like:
- No. 42 in Most Innovative Schools
- No. 66 in National Universities
- No. 67 in Best Value Schools
Student success advisors assist Master of Computer Science candidates from admissions through graduation, and a global network of 38,000 alumni means networking opportunities and guidance based on real-world experiences.