What Are the Best Computer Science Fields? - University of the People (2022)

Computer science is a popular topic of study these days, with so many options to choose from, here are the best computer science fields to get into!

If you’re thinking about getting into computer science, great choice! With job growth expected to be 13% over the next 10 years, and salaries ranging from $80,000-$115,000 (more here), computer science is a good way to go for job security, variety of work opportunities and a fascinating, ever-changing career. There are so many fields within computer science, we’ve rounded up the top computer science fields and careers for you.

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, or AI for short, is best described as programming computers to think and predict like humans can. It’s not just for robots — AI encompasses anything from speech recognition to solution planning to machine learning. AI allow computers to discover patterns, whether they are supervised by humans or unsupervised. The goal of this field in computer science is to create machines that are intelligent — ones that help us get what we need without extensive programming by human hands.

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Potential Careers in AI:

Research Scientists, Software Analysts, Developers, Algorithm Specialists, Surgical Technicians working with tools, Medical Health Professionals working with artificial limbs and prosthetics.

Why We Love AI:

Artificial Intelligence is changing the way we live, in a fascinating way! Self-driving cars, Netflix, and Spotify all use artificial intelligence and its use is expanding. Check out these very cool ways you will end up using AI in your daily life.

Where to Learn More:

ScienceDaily has an entire section of news in Artificial Intelligence. As a constantly changing field, you best be kept up to date on the latest research, applications, and news in AI.

2. Human Computer Interaction

Human Computer Interaction, or HCI, is exactly what is sounds like — it is the study of how humans and computers interact, and best practices for improving this interaction. This field of computer science combines with other fields such as Human Behavior, Psychology, and Design to create a fascinating look at humans’ use of computers.

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Potential Careers in HCI:

User Experience Design and Research (UX Design & Research), User Interface (UI) Design, Information Architect. A career in UX/UI can be quite lucrative and salaries range from $69,000 to $135,000 (Glassdoor).

Why We Love HCI:

Human computer interaction has the potential to change the world by offering the best solutions to what people need. User research is used to make informed decisions about a product or interface and has the potential to change or inspire entire product designs or business models.

Where to Learn More:

NN Group offers a collection of topics of Human Computer Interaction, from Information Architecture, to E-Commerce, and User Testing.

3. Information Security

Information Security (IS), also referred to as cybersecurity, deals with confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data, (abbreviated to CIA), and almost always deals with electronic data. Some use the Parkerian hexad which adds three new elements: possession, authenticity, and utility. It refers to the processes created and implemented to protect any form of private, confidential, and sensitive data from unauthorized use, access, modification or disruption.

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Potential Careers in IS:

Information Security Analyst, Software Security Engineer, Security Architect, IS Manager. These are well-paid positions, with salaries ranging from $80,000 to upwards of $200,000. More on cyber security salaries and positions here.

Why We Love IS:

Information Security is one of the most important fields in computer science, as it keeps our information secure and safe, therefore allowing us continue to live our daily lives. We use the cyber world for email and text communication, for travel, banking, and shopping. We are constantly sending private information through the internet. Keeping this information private and safe from attacks is vital to our personal and national security.

Where To Learn More:

More information here on why everyone should know about Cyber Security.

4. Software Engineering

Software engineering involves the building, designing, and engineering of computer applications and other systems. Those who choose careers in software engineering find themselves designing software, learning and working on computer code, managing computer systems, and implementation and oversight of various software applications. Topics of study may include software architecture, programming languages, and software testing.

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Potential Careers in Software Engineering:

Software Engineer, Applications and Systems Developer, Programmer/Analyst, Web Developer, Software Developer. Salaries in Software Engineering are $100,000, including entry-level salaries!

Why We Love Software Engineering:

This is another field of computer science that is extremely prevalent in our daily lives. We use software applications all the time in our personal lives, in business, and in every industry. It is imperative that these applications function properly, and that problems within the software are quickly fixed by experts.

Where to Learn More:

If you’re interested in a career in engineering, here’s more information on why you’ll love computer and software engineering jobs.

5. Database Administration

Database administration is all about, you guessed it, data! Data storage and organization are the two pillars of database administration, and it is also important for database administrators to keep internal data running smoothly and deal with data availability and security. This field may also involve backup and recovery, data reports, performance optimization, and even creation of databases. The most common industries where there is a need for database administration are in the financial, tech, and healthcare fields.

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Potential Careers in Database Administration (DBA):

Database Administrator (SQL, entry-level, and senior-level), Database Manager, Database Specialist. Salaries in this field vary greatly, but median pay is around $72,000 (PayScale).

Why We Love DBA:

Database administrators are highly trained techies, who provide a vital service to their companies by coordinating systems to be used by data analysts. Database Managers and Administrators also make sure the data is protected and organized, making things run smoothly for their entire organizations.

Where to Learn More:

If you are looking to become a Database Administrator, you will need to have excellent mastery of statistics and a knowledge of programming. The best way to get these skills is through a Bachelor’s or Associate degree in Computer Science. A great place to start is University of the People who offer accredited tuition-free Computer Science degrees.

6. Network Architecture

Network Architecture looks at the entire picture of the network as a whole, and tries to see how best to construct a network for a company. This field also involves analysis of data to determine network and technology requirements for a business, as well as network modeling, management, analysis, and budgeting. Network architects may design networks for local area networks or for wide area networks and intranets.

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Potential Careers in Network Architecture:

Computer Network Architect, Network and Computer Systems Administrator. Salaries in this field run high — median salaries for network architects are $113,500.

Why We Love Network Architecture:

Aside from the multitude of reasons that Computer Science degrees matter, network architecture is a great field to pursue due to high demand and high salary.

Where to Learn More:

Network Architecture is a mixture of IT (information technology) and soft skills. If you choose to pursue a career in network architecture, you will need to start in information technology. IT certification programs are a good place to start, but many companies looking for network architects will also be looking for candidates with Bachelor’s degrees in computer science as well as experience in IT.

7. Programming Languages

Computer Science is constantly growing and changing, and one thing remains clear: there is always a need to be updating one’s computer programming skills. Learning new languages is imperative to staying up to date in this ever-changing field. Common computer programming languages today are Python, Java, Ruby/Ruby on Rails, HTML, JavaScript, C Language, C++, C#, Objective C, PHP, SQL, and Swift. Depending on what type of computer science field you enter, you will need to master some of these languages more than others, but it is a good idea to have some knowledge in all of them.

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Potential Careers in Programming Languages:

If you are proficient in computer programming languages, you can become a Software Engineer, Back/Front End Developer, Data Science Engineer, Technical Editor, Web Developer, IT Administrator, Embedded Software Engineer, iOS/Android Mobile Developer, and Programmer of a specific language (JavaScript Programmer, C++ Software Engineer).

Why We Love Programming Languages:

Programming languages are the building blocks to computer science and are the first steps to opening up your career in the field. Learning these languages can also be exciting — there is always something new to learn, and you get the opportunity to become a creator!

Where to Learn More:

Start by teaching yourself some languages using free tutorials on Youtube, or other free online resources. Just search “learn (PHP, Ruby, HTML, etc) free,” and you’ll find plenty of options to get started. From there, you will be able to see which languages you have a knack for, and which programming systems interest you the most.

If you’re currently studying computer science, or looking to get into the industry, the above fields are the best computer science fields to enter. These CS fields are exciting, constantly changing, have an impact on the industry and usually offer a high payout. For more info on what to do and how much you can make in computer science, check out our full guide to computer science careers.

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