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Computer science jobs: How to get started

Looking for a job that’s in-demand? It’s time you cracked the code… 

By 2022, more than 500,000 people will be needed to fill positions in the three highest skilled groups in the digital arena*. This means jobs in computer science are only expected to rise over the next few years – making it a future-proof industry to get qualified in. 

We spoke to the University of Bath, who heads up the Institute of Coding – an initiative of universities and corporations committed to plugging the digital skills gap – to find out their top tips on landing a job in tech: 

 

Define your expertise and find the job that suits you 

Computer science is a broad field comprising a number of jobs, each requiring similar skill sets but with fairly different responsibilities. Here are a few of the most common jobs, and what they involve:

  • Software developer. They create, develop and maintain software programmes, enabling people to carry out tasks on multiple devices. 
  • Computer systems analyst. They assess an organisation’s computer systems, and make informed suggestions that help improve their efficiency.  
  • Computer hardware engineer. They focus on the physical components of a computer, and design, develop, and test things like circuit boards and routers. 
  • Information security analyst. They create and maintain systems that protect an organisation’s data from cyber attacks and security breaches. 
  • IT project manager. They manage, organise, and coordinate a team of tech professionals working towards a shared goal. 
  • Web developer. They build the technical structure of a website, making sure they’re easily accessible and optimised for search engines.

But this is by no means a comprehensive list. There are countless opportunities in computer science; you just need to do your research to figure out which one suits you best. 

Are you interested in building websites? Or would you rather protect the data that’s on them? Or, is the physical structure of a computer what piques your interest? 

Whatever it is, it’s important to find your direction before you get started. Not only to make sure the job is right for you, but also to ensure you’re learning the relevant skills and gaining the right experience to get you there. 

 

Shout about your relevant experience and hobbies

A good portfolio of work is extremely vital in proving your aptitude and proficiency in many jobs – and tech is one of them. 

Because of this, gaining experience in the field of computer science – whether it’s through work, study, or both – is essential. You can then compile your most impressive achievements to show to prospective employers. 

Don’t have much work experience? Don’t panic. Since tech is a hobby for most people looking to pursue this kind of career, building websites, coding, and general IT wizardry is likely to be something you do for fun. You just knew those MySpace HTML skills would come in handy one day. 

From your hobbies, freelance work, or volunteering, to participating in a programming club or attending a hackathon; there are a number of ways to both practice your expertise and put your knowledge on paper. 

In an ever-evolving industry like this, recruiters will also be looking for someone who keeps up-to-date with recent news and developments. 

So in addition, even something as simple as attending conferences or seminars related to the field, or becoming part of an online community could be all you need to demonstrate your passion. 

 

Gain the skills computer science employers are looking for 

OK, so you know you want a job in computer science – but what skills are employers actually looking for? Luckily, everybody has transferable skills (AKA soft skills). You just need to figure out which ones to draw attention to. 

Here are a few of the key soft skills that all computer science candidates should have: 

  • Problem solving
  • Communication 
  • Organisation 
  • Project management 
  • Analytical abilities
  • Resourcefulness
  • Patience
  • Curiosity

Other essential skills are more job-specific, and may refer to technical ability. They’re often a prerequisite for certain roles (especially in fields like computer science), and you can gain them through study or on-the-job training. 

For example, an aspiring programmer will need to have knowledge of the most popular programming languages, someone focused on analysis will need to learn about databases and cloud, and a career in artificial intelligence calls for an understanding of intelligent control and cognitive systems. 

You might also be required to gain skills in a particular specialism, such as cyber security. 

Hard skills vs. soft skills

 

Study for a relevant degree that has longevity 

The world’s reliance on technology is only going to rise with time, meaning people who are capable of building and maintaining it are increasingly in-demand. 

That step tracker you have on your phone, the candy based game you’re unashamedly addicted to, or the multitudes of online shopping options; they’re all built by someone. Someone who most likely has a degree in tech. 

And it’s never too late to become one of them. 

This Computer Science MSc from the University of Bath, offers postgraduate study entirely online. In addition to enabling you to gain core computer science skills and understand the fundamentals of the field, it also teaches you how to think critically, contributing towards industry knowledge and pushing the boundaries with code. 

So whether you want to be a software developer or a technical analyst, a course like this is the perfect way to progress your career in computer science. In fact, many graduates have secured positions with huge companies such as Electronic Arts, Nokia and KPMG.

Not only will a degree teach you the core skills needed to thrive in this industry, as well as help you stand out to employers in a competitive area – it will also always be valuable. Think of it as future-proofing your career. 

Still not convinced? Just ask the likes of Facebook’s creator Mark Zuckerberg or Google’s CEO Larry Page, who both studied computer science before going on to work on their tech giants. Honestly, Google it. 

 

Why study online with the University of Bath?

The University of Bath is the 6th best university in the UK (according to The Guardian University Guide 2020), with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research.

Offering course content connected to the real world the University equips their students with the knowledge they need to thrive in the workplace. Computer Science is just one of the online Masters they offer, each allowing you to learn from international experts in the field.

Not only are their courses developed with the job market in mind, they give you the support you need to achieve your career goals.

Here are a few reasons to study 100% online with the University of Bath:

  • Ongoing support from personal tutors, faculty members, student experience officers, and student services – not to mention tech support 24/7
  • Excellent career prospects
  • Gold in the TEF in 2017
  • 4th for student experience in THE Student Experience Survey 2018
  • 87% of research is world-leading or internationally excellent The Research Excellence Framework – REF 2014
  • Ranked 3rd in the top 15 of British universities for research quality Complete University Guide 2020

 

Find out more

  

 

Want to learn more about how an online MSc degree in computer science could change your career? Enquire now.

 

The University of Bath is a leading UK university, offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses taught by experts in the field.

 

 

* Source: University of Bath, 2020

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