"Computer Science Overview"
Prepared as part of the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center (www.careercornerstone.org)
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Computer Science Overview
The Field - Preparation - Specialty Areas -
Day in the Life - Earnings - Employment -
Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations
The rapid and widespread use of computers and
information technology has generated a need for highly
trained workers proficient in various job functions. These
computer specialists include computer scientists, database
administrators, and network systems and data
communication analysts. Job tasks and occupational titles
used to describe these workers evolve rapidly and
continually, reflecting new areas of specialization or
changes in technology, as well as the preferences and
practices of employers.
Computer scientists work as theorists, researchers, or inventors. Their jobs are distinguished
by the higher level of theoretical expertise and innovation they apply to complex problems and
the creation or application of new technology. The areas of computer science research range
from complex theory to hardware design to programming-language design. Some researchers
work on multidisciplinary projects, such as developing and advancing uses of virtual reality,
extending human-computer interaction, or designing robots. They may work on design teams
with electrical engineers and other specialists.
Computer science researchers employed by academic
institutions have job functions that are similar in many ways
to those employed by other organizations. In general,
researchers in academic settings have more flexibility to
focus on pure theory, while those working in other
organizations usually focus on projects that have the
possibility of producing patents and profits. However, some
researchers in non-academic settings have considerable
latitude in determining the direction of their researc