Raisa Fatima

Author: Raisa Fatima

What Can I Do With a Computer Science Degree? (Part 2)

In Part 1 of our series “What Can I Do With a Computer Science Degree?”, we started looking at the kinds of jobs you can do with a Comp Sci degree and what are the main differences between these options. Because of how broad computer science’s applications are, there are many careers. Here are some more options for you to explore! 

5) Data Scientist:  

Data scientists create mathematical models to address real-world problems to help companies make decisions on anything ranging from how to reduce workplace accidents to how they should market their products.   

Programming languages many data scientists use include Python, R and Java as they’re good for analyzing and visualizing data and SQL which is used for database management. Other important tools they need to know how to use include Hadoop (an open-source software used to work with big data), SAS (suite of software products used to do data management and analysis for business insights), data mining and warehouse where data mining is the process of looking through big datasets and data warehouse is a system created for data analytics. And they need to be familiar with machine learning which examines models and algorithms to analyze large datasets.   

Soft skills include analytics and good problem-solving skills because data scientists need to understand and analyze their data well to see how they can use that information to solve problems. Clear writing and public speaking skills are also necessary because data scientists will need to explain their findings and interpretations to clients, employers and other team members. Being business-focused is also useful as many employers seek data scientists to help them improve their business strategies. 

6) Web Designer:  

Website designers plan and create engaging websites that look aesthetically pleasing and help site users find what they need. Once they finish their creations, designers pass their ideas to web developers who bring the plans to life. However, some designers double as developers and can create websites after designing them. 

Web designers typically need to know how to use JavaScript and HTML as a lot of design software relies on them. Knowing how to use software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Dreamweaver is also useful because they are the industry-standard programs for many web designers and allows them to work with other professionals, like developers and project managers, to complete their websites. User interface design is necessary as it allows designers to see their creations through the eyes of an end user with no design experience or helps them make the website accessible.  

Other necessary skills include using software like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign. CSS is a style sheet language that is used alongside HTML to change aspects like fonts, layers and colors. Excellent graphic design skills can help web designers stand out from everyone else so honing these skills in addition to technical ones is important.  

7) Security Analyst:  

Information security analysts focus on data and network protection to protect their companies’ or organizations’ digital assets. To do so, they need to stay informed about changes in such a fast-evolving field. Information security analysts work with executives, IT teams, and colleagues across their organizations and sometimes train employees about best practices. They establish company security protocols, conduct tests to search for system weaknesses and develop response plans in case security breaches happen. Aside from the challenge of staying up to date with current technology, information security analysts may sometimes deal with stressful situations if a cyberattack occurs. 

Top employers include computer systems design and related services, finance and insurance, and information. Information security analysts usually need a computer science-related bachelor’s degree. With some companies looking for an MBA in information systems. Industry-standard certifications can boost employment prospects for professionals in the field. A security analyst’s job revolves around data and network protection.  

Important hard skills an analyst would need to have include knowing about industry-standard programs like Blackboard, Apache Ant, Symantec, and Django. They also need to know about various databases and software for development, programming, network monitoring, and virus protection. They must also write code to prevent and respond to cyberattacks and need a strong knowledge of how networks function to solve security problems. Key soft skills include strong problem solving, analysis, being attentive to detail and communication skills since they need to analyze and solve security problems effectively then communicate that information clearly to team members, executives and clients throughout the organization. 

8) Software Engineer:   

Computer software engineers apply engineering principles and systematic methods to develop programs and operating data for computers. They work with system programmers, analysts, and other engineers to obtain and apply important information for designing systems, projecting capabilities, and determining performance interfaces. They also analyze user needs, offer advice about designing elements, and help with software installation. Designing software systems requires professionals to consider mathematical models and scientific analysis to project outcomes.  

Programming languages a software engineer might need to be familiar with include Java, SQL, Python, JavaScript, C++ and C#. Other options include Ruby, Rust, PHP and Swift. If you refer to Part 1 of this series, I mentioned in the Software Developer part that different jobs require different languages and will specify their requirements, so learning 3-4 languages very well instead of 6 languages badly would make it easier for you to perform well in the coding interviews and during the job.  

Important soft skills include good communication and organization skills. Software engineers will often need to split attention across different parts of the same project or switch between projects when working on a deadline or to meet the team’s needs. Being attentive to detail is necessary too as they must troubleshoot coding issues and bugs as they happen and track details of many ongoing projects. 

9) Computer and Information Systems Manager/Systems Manager:  

Computer and information systems managers generally oversee the information technology departments within businesses and organizations. A systems manager’s duties depend on organization size and how much technology they use daily. In smaller settings, systems managers may offer support on an as-needed basis, while larger organizations may need larger IT departments with more hands-on systems manager roles. 

Important hard skills systems managers would need to know include network and IT management, which involve overseeing wireless networks, cloud storage, and other systems of data storage and communication and managing daily IT operations or providing support when needed. Project management is a necessary skill because you would be overseeing many IT-based projects like implementing a new computer system, teaching employees how to use a new piece of software or creating new data storage or recordkeeping systems. Knowing how to use MS Office well is necessary as Microsoft creates and manufactures most of the software used by businesses and organizations.  

Soft skills to develop include strong analytical and organizational skills. Leadership skills are important because computer and information systems managers guide the collective efforts of systems analysts, information security professionals, and software developers. As team leaders, they need to delegate, accept responsibilities and always be trustworthy and reliable. System managers need to write reports, instruction manuals and relay information to people with varying technical backgrounds in clear and understandable ways.  

Generally, systems managers hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Graduate education can increase earning potential and may open doors to paths to more advanced careers, but they aren’t necessary. 

If you want to have a deeper look at more specific aspects like salaries and other education requirements, you can check the careers page on computerscience.org. To get help on getting started with a job or internship search, resumes, or interviews or anything else feel free to make an appointment at the Career Center! 

Career Highlight: Pharmaceutical Scientists

Adapted from northeastern.edu and hospitalcareers.com 

When looking for careers that connect both your interest in research and making an impact on others’ lives, a pharmaceutical scientist could be a potential career prospect. Although pharmaceutical scientists do not interact with patients directly, their work has an invaluable impact on their lives.  

Job Duties  

While pharmacists are trained to evaluate medication use and dispense medications to patients, pharmaceutical scientists are tasked with bringing new medications to the marketplace. Pharmaceutical scientists are trained to discover, develop, test, and manufacture new medications. They perform a variety of tasks such as  

  • Collecting and analyzing data 
  • Working in an interdisciplinary research team 
  • Testing safety of drugs and its side effects 
  • Doing experiments to see how the drug works 

Most of the the drugs will get discarded through the process of trail and error because it can take years to develop a new medicine before it can be widely available. Because of how complicated the drug development process is, each pharmaceutical scientist tends to specialize in one area.  

They can work on finding new uses for existing drugs, discover new meds, research how the body reacts to certain drugs to make them more effective and safer, study the causes and effects of diseases on the human body and find more efficient ways to create the medication. 

Other things necessary to being a pharmaceutical scientist include being patient and having perseverance, as developing drugs takes years of trial and error. They also need to know how to use computers and sophisticated testing equipment, and how to communicate their research and findings clearly. 

Working Conditions 

Pharmaceutical scientists often work for pharmaceutical or biotech companies, but also in academia, contract research organizations (CROs), and manufacturing facilities. They may also act as consultants to businesses and government agencies on anything related to pharmaceuticals. They may also teach at research universities and hospitals to supervise drug testing. 

Education and Training  

While it is possible to become a pharmaceutical scientist with just a bachelor’s degree, especially if you want to work in drug testing, getting a master’s degree in pharmaceutical science or other related fields like pharmacology, medicinal chemistry or biomedical science is more likely to make you a more competitive candidate. A PhD in pharmaceutical science could lead to greater responsibilities and further career progression. 

Pay and Job Outlook 

The median salary is around $80, 974. Since there is always demand for drug development and testing, the job outlook is very good for pharmaceutical scientists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical scientists (an occupation group which includes pharmaceutical scientists) has a projected job outlook of 17% from 2020 to 2030.  

Python: A Quick Intro

Adapted from futurelearn.com 

Python is an object-oriented (focused on data) that’s easier for people to understand because it’s also a high-level programming language. Because of how relatively intuitive it is to write and understand, it’s a widely used programming language and great for those who want rapid development. So what’s Python used for exactly? It’s used widely for a variety of things. Here’s a list of applications. 

AI and machine learning  

Python is quite flexible and simple to use and for a lot of machine learning and artificial intelligence projects. Python is widely used by data scientists and there are many Python machine learning and AI libraries and packages available.  

Data analytics  

Much like AI and machine learning, data analytics is another rapidly developing field that uses Python. We’re creating more data than ever before, which is why there’s a need for those who can collect, manipulate and organize the data and information. When working with large amounts of information, it’s useful for manipulating data and carrying out repetitive tasks because of its flexibility and of how easy it is to use. 

Data visualization  

Data visualization is another rapidly developing area of interest. Python provides a variety of graphing libraries with all kinds of features like Pandas Visualization and Plotly which allow us to create simple graphical representations or more interactive plots. The possibilities are vast, allowing you to transform data into meaningful insights.  

Programming applications  

A general-purpose language like Python can be used to read and create file directories, blockchain applications, audio and video apps, or machine learning applications.   

Web development  

There are many Python web development frameworks to choose from, such as Django, Pyramid, and Flask which have been used to create sites and services such as Spotify, Reddit and Mozilla. Extensive libraries and modules that come with such frameworks allow us to create functions like database access, manage content and authorize data.  

Game development  

While Python isn’t an industry-standard in game development, it is also still used. Because of its simplicity, it can be used to quickly develop a prototype.  

Language development 

Python has been used as a basis to create new languages such as Cobra, CoffeeScript, and Go. This makes Python a useful gateway language so understanding Python can help you branch out into other languages easily.  


As previously mentioned, Python is great for working with big data sets and there are many libraries that compile and process information. For this reason, it’s becoming one of the preferred languages in the finance industry as it’s a valuable tool in determining asset price trends and predictions, as well as in automating workflows across different data sources. 

Search Engine Optimization 

While it’s surprising, Python is also used in search engine optimization. This field benefits from automation which Python is good at doing. Whether it’s implementing changes across multiple pages or categorizing keywords Python is helpful. Additionally, new technologies like natural language processing are important to those working on search engine optimization. Python can help develop these skills and understand how people search for results and how search engines return them. 


Python can be used to develop graphic design applications. It’s used with 2D imaging software like Paint Shop Pro and Gimp. It’s even used in 3D animation software like Lightwave, Blender, and Cinema 4D.  

As shown above, Python can be used for a variety of applications because of its wide support network and a diverse range of libraries. If this is a language that interests you, Lawrence offers certain introductory courses to Python like “Introduction to Scientific Programming” or you can use online course website like Datacamp and Coursera to do so. 

Career Highlight: Food Scientists

Adapted from environmentalscience.org and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Want to work to ensure the nutritional value, safety, and quality of foods in the United States and elsewhere? Want to help develop the next vegetarian burger patty or ice cream flavor to hit the market? Interested in exploring careers where you can still spend parts of your day in a lab setting? If any of this sounds intriguing, read on! 

Job Duties: 

Food scientists and technologists use chemistry, biology, and other sciences to study food. They analyze the nutritional content of food and research ways to make processed foods safe and healthy. They may also work in product development and develop better ways of preserving and processing. 

Where They Work: 

Food scientists typically work full-time and spend most of their time in laboratories and offices. However, traveling is occasionally needed to conduct site visits at food processing plants.  

Food scientists work in a variety of different industries, which may shift the focus of the job. For example, a food scientist working for a government agency may focus on using their research to advise policymakers. Those working in the private industry may be looking at whether new processed foods are safe to consume or fit with federal nutrition guidelines or may be involved in developing new products. Those working for agricultural companies like Cargill, Monsanto or Tyson may research new ways to process foods more efficiently or improve the quality of crops and livestock. 

Education and Training: 

Food scientists or food technologists will often need at least a bachelor’s degree in Food Science or another related field (e.g., Chemistry or Biology). Participating in lab work during your undergraduate is necessary as it helps you gain experience before going into the workforce. Internships are highly recommended as well because many entry-level jobs value firsthand, practical experience. In fact, many companies in the food industry will use internships as a hiring pipeline for full-time roles. 

Those who go on to earn higher degrees have a more advanced knowledge of their field, and there are some master’s programs especially designed for individuals without an undergraduate degree in Food Science (For example: The one-year Master of Food Science program at Cornell University).  

Pay and Job Outlook: 

Overall, employment is projected to grow by 9% from 2020-2030 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary was $73,450 in May 2020.  

What Can I Do With a Computer Science Degree? (Part 1)

The Tech and Data industry is one of the fastest growing industries and with that, there is a growing demand from companies for people with skills in computer science. But because this industry is so big, there are many broad applications of computer science. What kinds of jobs can you do with a Comp Sci degree and what are the main differences between these options? 

Career paths in computer science require strong programming, analysis and problem-solving skills with most jobs preferring a bachelor’s degree. Here are some potential career paths and their respective requirements.  

1) Software Developer: 

Software developers write and debug software for client applications by using debuggers and visual development environments. They also create applications that can work on their own or boost access to other servers and services and test client software.  

Many employers require candidates to have some prior experience in the field and a bachelor’s degree in software development, computer programming, information technology, or computer science. They typically work in office settings and may also work in a company’s IT department to use their skills to help with any technical problems. 

Software developers need strong programming skills. Some widely used languages include Python, Java, JavaScript, C++ and C#. Different jobs require different languages and will specify in their requirements section what kind of experience they are looking for so you do not have to necessarily learn many languages badly or at a mediocre level, when you can learn a few languages well. Once specializing, you can apply to jobs and/or internships whose requirements match with your skillset. For example, if you are familiar with R, Python and Java and a job or internship requires those languages, then it would be easier for you to perform well in the coding interviews and during the job. But if you spread yourself too thin, then you will not be able to perform as well.  

Developers also need to have good communication skills because they need to communicate with people from non-technical backgrounds like managers and clients. They also need to work well as a team and be able to pay attention to small details to debug their code when it is not working.  

2) Computer Information Researcher: 

Computer information researchers work with human-computer interactions. They study and analyze problems in organizations, using computing technology to provide efficient solutions. They may evaluate the effectiveness of existing technologies and improve them by testing software systems and looking at user needs, analyzing results, and presenting them to stakeholders or at academic conferences. 

A Computer Information Researcher is one of the few careers where employers are likely to require or prefer at least master’s degrees in computer science or related fields. However, there are some federal government positions that only require a bachelor’s degree. This is because researcher roles typically need more advanced degrees. For this reason, information researchers may go so far as to get graduate degrees in computer science as they need to know more hard skills and languages when doing research.  

Computer information researchers need to know about software development to write and maintain source code, machine learning to improve how computers perform certain tasks and how to analyze data to evaluate how effectively a program or software is running. They may also need to know how to use the programming languages, Java and C, and UNIX, a portable operating system that helps programmers develop and run code so that they can share with their colleagues.  

3) Web Developer: 

Web developers deal with building technical front-end and/or back-end code that informs site function. They may work only on front-end code, back-end code, or both, and many jobs also require overlap into web design. They may work independently on a freelance basis or with marketing or IT departments.  

Programming languages that web developers may frequently use include PHP, CSS, HTML, JavaScript, ASP.NET and Angular.Js. Soft skills include multitasking, organizational skills and attention to detail. Web developers also need to consider accessibility and how easily the user can navigate the website to ensure a good user experience.  

4) Video Game Design: 

Video game designers develop video games for as computers, websites, and gaming consoles. Companies like Electronic Arts, Rockstar Games, Nintendo, Ubisoft etc. Hire software developers, graphic designers, web developers and many more with each concentrating on certain factors of game design, such as setting, character design, gameplay etc. They may also work with other gaming professionals to build or test games.  

Like most careers listed here developers need to pay careful attention to detail to spot glitches and ensure efficiency for all elements of a game and be great problem solvers because they need to ensure that all elements (such as story, gameplay, characters, player interactions etc.) come together. However, for video game developers, there may be a greater emphasis on creativity and candidates would need to create their own stories and characters, as well as create innovative ways to keep players engaged. There is also a high emphasis on time management skills as companies need to put out games by hard-set publishing deadlines.  

If you want to have a deeper look at more specific aspects like salaries, job outlooks, other education requirements etc. you can check the careers page on computerscience.org to do so! For help on getting started with a job or internship search, resumes, or interviews, feel free to make an appointment with us, at the Career Center! 

Career Highlight: Environmental Toxicologist

Adapted from environmentalscience.org 

Environmental toxicologists study the effects of toxic chemicals like pollutants (e.g., pesticides, industrial waste, etc.) and heavy metals on the environment and humans. They minimize these effects by investigating the sources of chemicals and examining how these chemicals move through ecosystems to predict where and how these chemicals may end up in our bodies. If this career interests you, read on! 

Job Duties: 

Environmental toxicologists conduct experiments on human cells and lab animals to investigate the effects of toxic chemicals. They forecast and analyze the impact of toxic chemicals using modeling technology. They also present their findings to stakeholders and administrators and may even consult with policymakers on the safety of chemicals.  

Where They Work: 

There are a variety of opportunities in academia, private industries and in federal and state regulatory agencies for environmental toxicologists. Those employed by federal , and state regulatory agencies often test new chemicals for safety or help develop regulatory policies. 

Toxicologists employed by private companies help with product development and safety testing. They may either work for product developers or research organizations that contract their expertise. Toxicologists are also being increasingly employed by consulting firms that advise public officials, industries and lawyers on toxic chemicals. 

Many environmental toxicologists are also employed as faculty or staff researchers at colleges and universities, with doctoral degrees being required for such positions. Some nonprofit organizations also hire toxicologists to conduct research on chemicals or issues of public concern.  

Education and Training: 

Toxicologists employed as faculty or staff researchers most often require doctoral degrees. Most professionals start with bachelor’s degrees in biology, chemistry, environmental chemistry, or ecology. Further graduate training then provides additional education in molecular and developmental biology, neuroscience and risk assessment.  

Pay and Job Outlook: 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the predicted job demand is an 8 percent increase between 2020 and 2030. Environmental toxicologists fall under the broader category of environmental scientists and specialists. According to the BLS, this category earned a median salary of $73,230 as of May 2020. The highest paying industry for these professionals is the federal government, which reported a median salary of $103,180 during this time.