Computer and information scientists are among the highest-paid professionals with master’s degrees, receiving a median salary of $131,500 by 2021, according to the US Department of Labor. So it is not surprising that more and more people are attracted to the field; 3,200 job openings for computer and information research scientists are created each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
THROUGH THE Meghan is lazyJuly 22, 2022, 1:54 PM
Look, looking east across State Street at the DePaul Center, \\\ store. (Photo by Interim Archives/Getty Images)
“The computer has made a huge impact on society and has become an essential—if not central—part of society,” said Ljubomir Perkovic, a professor and director of DePaul University’s School of Computing. DePaul ranked No. 4 in It’s fortune list of the best online master’s degree programs in computer science.
A master’s degree in computer science is a great way to enter the field, or upgrade your current skills. To learn more about who is best suited for a master’s degree in computer science degree program, and the resulting career opportunities that await graduates, luck spoke with Perkovic, and three alumni of master’s degree programs in computer science.
You don’t need a background in computer science to get a master’s degree in the field
You don’t need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, or even a tech background, to pursue a master’s degree in the field. Take it from Daniel Steilen, who spent seven years as an editor at an educational book publisher after receiving a bachelor’s degree in English in 2007.
While Steilen enjoyed his job, he wanted more opportunities—so he began considering a career pivot. He had been interested in programming for some time, so he decided to try it himself by working through an introductory book on the subject.
“The master’s degree helped me move into a new field with more opportunities and better pay,” Steilan said. “Even if I learned the skills through alternative means, I think it would be difficult to convince employers that I am serious without a degree.”
Steilan graduated from DePaul University’s master’s degree program in computer science in 2017. Shortly after graduation, he got a job as a software engineer at a company that makes devices for the telecommunications industry.
And Steilan’s indirect route to a career in computer science was not that unusual. “A number of universities have created pathways for students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-computing discipline to pursue a master’s in computing,” Perkovic said. “DePaul University, for example, offers a master’s in computer science that is accessible to college graduates who have never programmed before.”
In this version of the program, students take a set of introductory classes that prepare them for graduate work in computing. And more than half of the 2,500 students who have graduated from DePaul’s master’s degree program in the past five years have taken this path.
As such, it is also common for students to have experience in computing—and they return to school to update their knowledge and capabilities.
“The program complimented my work experience as an engineer, providing technical skills and concepts that I didn’t receive as a liberal arts undergrad,” said Jake Gerstein, who graduated from DePaul’s master’s degree program in computer science in 2019. “According to my professional work, the classes facilitated my learning of software development and IT functions,” he added.
Gerstein is currently a director of cloud strategy and enablement at a financial services company.
The skills learned in a master’s program provide opportunities for many career paths in computer science.
The steady demand for people with a computer science background also provides options for professionals. “Choosing computing as a career is currently the best way to achieve financial security and a comfortable lifestyle,” said Perkovic, adding that 11 of the top 15 jobs on the list Glassdoor of the best jobs in America for 2022 is available on the computer.
Among the most common jobs for people with a master’s degree in computer science are data scientist, full stack engineer, software engineer, and more specialized roles in machine learning engineering, cloud engineering, and enterprise architect—ranked No. 1 for job satisfaction on Glassdoor’s. list.
And the pay for these types of roles is very high. According to Glassdoor, the median base salary for an enterprise architect, a person who leads the maintenance of a company’s networks and IT services, is $144,997. For a full stack engineer, it’s $101,794, and for a data scientist, it’s $120,000.
“Most students entering a master’s in computer science program have the goal of becoming software developers,” Perkovic said. “Many graduates achieve that, with ‘software engineer’ often being their first job title.”
Technology is not the only industry where computer jobs are on the rise; employers in all industries are looking to expand their computing capacity. The huge increase in the amount of available data guarantees the need for more professionals to manage and create value from that data. In the end, so Good luck Reported in June, cybersecurity is a growing concern across all industries—and more than 700,000 positions still need to be filled in the U.S.
“Every sector of the economy today relies on computer and computer professionals,” Perkovic said. “A master’s in computer science is a pathway for students to make an impact on society, while also providing social mobility and financial stability.”