Even though the microcomputer revolution has been underway for 30 years or more, new and exciting developments are still taking place all over the world. The revolution has been felt at all levels of the job market, also, not just in STEM careers — there's almost no such thing anymore as a occupational field that doesn't contain opportunity for a well-trained techie, and graduates with degrees in computer science, information systems, software engineering or a related discipline tend to be best prepared to take advantage of the widespread demand for high-tech skills.
If you go into your education with an eye toward training for a specific range of tech careers, your prospects can be even better. Here's some info on a few of the top computer science and IT careers on the market today, including salary data, job growth numbers and typical educational requirements.
Top technology careers
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average annual salary of $83,840 for computer and mathematical occupations in 2014 — quite a bit higher than the national mean of $47,290 calculated across all occupations. Many of the computer science and information technology careers covered in the BLS report are also projected to see dramatic employment increases between 2012 and 2022, and certain positions averaged more than $100,000 annually.
Here's a look at a few tech and computer science careers with particularly impressive numbers:
- Organizations need secure networks to operate with confidence, and computer security specialists are in high demand as a result. BLS data indicates massive job growth of 37 percent for information security professionals by 2022, which should lead to more than 27,000 new positions nationwide, and the national mean annual wage for the position was $91,600 in 2014. This is one of the many tech careers where a bachelor's degree is often enough formal training to get you started, although positions of greater responsibility typically require additional education.
- Well-built and attractive user experiences on the Web can add a lot of value to a company's public presence. Web developers often enjoy a multifaceted career experience, assembling the nuts and bolts of interactive, browser-accessible sites and applications while also having a hand in the look and feel of their external design. Employment growth of approximately 20 percent is expected in the field by 2022, and the mean annual Web developer salary was $63,500 in 2014, according to the BLS.
- Although they're often employed in an academic or public-sector environment, the work of computer and information research scientists provides a foundation for innovators in the private sector and helps to push the boundaries of computer science as a discipline. Many jobs for computer research scientists require a master's degree or Ph.D., although federal government positions may require just a bachelor's. Projected job growth in the field is faster than the national average, with 15 percent expected growth between 2012 and 2022, and the national mean salary in 2014 was $102,190.
The list of other fast-growing tech and IT careers includes software developers (27 percent growth), computer systems analysts (25 percent growth), computer support specialists (18 percent growth) and many more. Looking into degree plans available from traditional or online schools in tech and IT can help you better understand how best to prepare for the field of your choice.