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7 In-Demand Jobs Popular Among Master’s in Computer Science Graduates

Industry Advice Computing and IT

The computer science industry is one of the fastest-growing fields in the United States—exceeding the average growth for all other occupations by nearly double, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). From 2016 to 2026, the BLS predicts that nearly 550,000 new jobs will be added.

“The computer science field is growing at a crazy pace,” says Ian Gorton, director of computer science programs at Northeastern University–Seattle.

One reason for the industry’s rapid growth, according to Gorton, is the ever-evolving technology landscape and its demand for skilled workers with new and changing expertise.

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But that growth isn’t all good news: While computer science jobs are plentiful, there’s a deficit of qualified individuals. A report from the White House predicts that, by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer science-related jobs available, and only about 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills necessary to fill them.

The reason: Many of today’s jobs in computer science demand niche skills, says Amit Shesh, associate teaching professor and director of Northeastern’s Master of Science in Computer Science Boston program, which can vary based on the business or industry you’re in. Shesh says that it’s not always possible to obtain the necessary knowledge of computer science solely with a related bachelor’s degree.

“The bachelor’s degree is more about breadth than depth; it makes you more of a Swiss army knife in computer science,” Shesh says. “Computer science is one of those fields where having a bachelor’s degree is enough to get some jobs, but certainly not all, particularly more senior roles. There are companies that are looking to fill positions with people who have a master’s degree—that’s motivation for a lot of people to pursue one.”

Computer science is also attracting a broader group of professionals—ones who perhaps didn’t study the field as an undergrad, says Ben Hescott, teaching professor in Northeastern’s Khoury College of Computer and Information Science. Many of these individuals have niche industry and business knowledge, but lack technical skills. Pursuing an advanced degree opens this group of people up to new and advanced career options.

There are more than 152,000 open graduate-level job listings in the computer science industry, and 24 percent of employers prefer or require candidates with a master’s degree, according to internal data from Burning Glass Labor Insight. Pursuing a graduate education could then provide you with the competitive edge needed to land one of the field’s fastest-growing jobs.

Popular Jobs for Master’s in Computer Science Graduates

Here’s a look at seven of those in-demand jobs, including the five-year growth and average salaries you can expect, both nationwide and in Boston, Seattle, Charlotte, and Silicon Valley—four innovation hot beds where you can find Northeastern regional campuses. National information was sourced from the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook and Glassdoor, while city figures were pulled from PayScale data on mid-career professionals.

1) Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Total U.S. Job Postings: 391,300
U.S. Median Pay: $79,700
U.S. Projected 10-Year Growth: 6%

These professionals are responsible for the everyday operations that keep businesses running. They set up networks and computer systems, install network hardware, collect data to optimize network or system performance, and assign security permissions. Network and computer system administrators work to ensure that email and data storage networks function properly and that employees maintain access to the central computer network.

City Salary 5-Year Job Growth
Boston $74,006 +14%
Seattle $70,945 +8%
Charlotte $67,559 +6%
Silicon Valley $80,207 +15% 

2) Computer Systems Analysts

Total U.S Job Postings: 600,500
U.S Median Pay: $87,220
U.S Projected 10-Year Growth: 9%

Computer systems analysts look at a business’s computer systems and procedures, then develop solutions to help them function more efficiently and effectively. These professionals must be proficient in data modeling, as they conduct tests to analyze data and trends to improve a system’s performance. Computer systems analysts think about the needs and limitations of both the business and IT.

City Salary 5-Year Job Growth
Boston $92,623 +19%
Seattle $94,324 +16%
Charlotte $90,205 +14%
Silicon Valley $88,377 +13 

3) Computer Network Architects

Total U.S Job Postings: 162,700
U.S. Median Pay: $101,210
U.S. Projected 10-Year Growth: 6%

Computer network architects build data communication networks, including local area networks, wide area networks, and intranets. Some computer network architects may work on small networks, such as between two offices, while others might work with next-gen capabilities, such as cloud infrastructure that serves a number of customers.

City Salary 5-Year Job Growth
Boston $132,126 +10%
Seattle $130,050 +12%
Charlotte $112,799 +7%
Silicon Valley $126,633 +4

4) Software Developers

Total U.S. Job Postings: 1,256,200
U.S. Median Pay: $102,280
U.S. Projected 10-Year Growth: 24%

Software developers are creative professionals who design, test, and develop applications that help people do their jobs. They also ensure that these programs function properly, recommend software upgrades, and collaborate with other computer specialists to create the most appropriate software for the job. These professionals typically work closely with computer programmers and, sometimes, write code themselves.

City Salary 5-Year Job Growth
Boston $105,779 +13%
Seattle $119,099 +15%
Charlotte $101,376 +4%
Silicon Valley $138,484 +13% 

5) Computer and Information Research Scientists

Total Job Postings: 27,900
U.S. Median Pay: $111,840
U.S. Projected 10-Year Growth: 19%

These professionals are tasked with generating and designing new approaches to computing technology and seek out innovative uses for existing technology. Computer and information research scientists solve and study complex problems, work with algorithms, and design new computer architecture—often in the fields of business, medicine, and science.

City Salary 5-Year Job Growth
Boston $113,886 +7%
Seattle $116,663 +9%
Charlotte $112,799 +7%
Silicon Valley $121,528 +13

6) Senior Database Administrators

Total U.S Job Postings: 119,500
U.S. Median Pay: $112,449
U.S. Projected 10-Year Growth: 11%

Senior database administrators use software to organize and store data, such as advertising and sales metrics. They are also responsible for securing this data and making it available to authorized users. Database administrators monitor the performance of databases and conduct performance-tuning support to ensure that data analysts and others can easily access and find the information they need.

City Salary 5-Year Job Growth
Boston $103,733 +22%
Seattle $109,946 +14%
Charlotte $97,979 +9%
Silicon Valley $103,325 +6%

7) Senior Web Developers

Total U.S. Job Postings: 162,900
U.S. Median Pay: $113,601
U.S. Projected 10-Year Growth: 13%

These professionals design and create websites, and ensure that the sites’ performance and capacity are optimized. Web developers write code, collaborate with team members to develop the look and feel of the content, and monitor the website’s traffic. Some developers handle all aspects of a website’s construction while others specialize in either back- or front-end development.

City Salary 5-Year Job Growth
Boston $75,995 +19%
Seattle $70,309 +4%
Charlotte $68,386 +9%
Silicon Valley $73,481 +17%

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