Would you like to take your online career to the next level? If you’re tech-savvy, creative, and analytical, consider a career in computer science.
Computer science careers offer many of the same perks as the online careers we talk about at NewBie Block, like flexibility and the option to work remotely.
Not only that, but computer science and information technology are among the highest-paying, fastest-growing industries out there.
So can you list your IT services on the nearest freelance marketplace and launch your computer science career? Not quite! While computer science is an easy field to enter, it does take some knowledge and experience to execute this career change.
Computer Science Degrees: Do You Need One?
Can I get a job in computer science with no degree? That’s a question I hear a lot, and the answer is kind of. Some entry-level tech jobs in user support, help desk, and tech blogging don’t require a computer science degree.
However, employers still want experience. If you don’t have a background in tech, a computer science degree is the best way to transition into the field.
Compared to coding boot camps, bachelor’s degrees in computer science provide a broad range of knowledge in architecture and systems, information security, project management, and other IT fundamentals.
What to look for in a computer science degree:
This is the first thing to look for when vetting any degree program. Accreditation by a recognized agency indicates a degree’s quality.
A high percentage of graduates working full-time shows that a program equips its students with real-world skills.
Whether it’s an accelerated curriculum or online degrees, flexibility is important to many adult learners.
Preparation for in-demand certifications like CompTIA, Cisco, and ITIL certification boosts your earning potential while pursuing a degree.
It’s no surprise that affordability is a high priority for most students. Consider return on investment when deciding how much to spend on a college degree.
Computer Science Career Paths
A degree provides the foundation for a computer science career, but if you want to differentiate yourself and compete on the job market, you need to specialize.
The tech market is increasingly hiring experts in niche areas such as human-computer interaction and cloud security over generalists.
Leading tech specializations include:
Jobs: Machine learning engineer, data scientist, business intelligence developer.
Jobs: Data scientist, data analyst, data architect, business intelligence analyst.
Jobs: Security analyst, security engineer, cryptographer, penetration tester.
Jobs: Network administrator, network solutions architect, computer systems analyst.
Jobs: Full-stack web developer, front-end web developer, mobile/web application developer.
Jobs: Software engineer, quality assurance engineer, DevOps engineer.
Jobs – Information systems manager, systems administrator, systems analyst.
If you’re specifically seeking a remote career, consider jobs in programming, cloud technology, DevOps, systems, and database administration.
What to Know About CS Freelancing
You know we’re all about freelancing at NewBie Block, and computer science is no different.
Freelancing is simply a smart strategy when changing careers. Instead of quitting your old job outright and risking it all, you can freelance to build your skills, portfolio, and network first.
Freelancing is also an opportunity to decide the types of projects you like to work on and clients you like to work for before committing to a company.
In fact, you might like the freelancing lifestyle so much that you decide to stick with it and build a freelance career in computer science.
While the lack of job security turns away some people, many others find they earn more money and enjoy greater flexibility working for themselves.
To get started as a freelancer:
● Pick your specialty.
● Decide what to charge for your time.
● Build a freelance portfolio to showcase your skills.
● Make profiles on the most popular freelance sites and learn how to bid effectively.
● Remember to pay taxes on your freelance income.
Growing Your CS Career
Whether you freelance, start your own business, or work 9-to-5 for a tech company, at some point, you’ll want to move from entry-level to a more advanced position. How can you pull it off?
Focus on your specialty
It’s hard to earn high wages as a generalist because many people can take your place. Continuing to specialize and hone in on your strengths adds value to your skillset.
Once established as an expert in your field, you can command top dollar for your time.
Build a professional website
Employers are guaranteed to vet new hires online. A portfolio website that showcases your best work and client testimonials ensures a positive first impression.
Blog to establish authority
Blogging is another way to show clients and employers what you have to offer.
Whether you publish on your website or guest post on industry blogs, content marketing is a powerful way to establish authority in your niche.
Use profitable keywords
Using keywords on websites, freelance profiles, and LinkedIn helps computer science professionals get found by the right clients. Focus on keywords for your most in-demand yet uncommon skills to find high-quality clients.
Pursue professional development
Seniority isn’t enough to get ahead in the competitive field of computer science. Professionals must stay on the cutting edge of computer science with professional development opportunities like training, mentorship (and mentoring), and conferences and associations.
Earn an advanced degree
Advanced degrees are helpful for computer science professionals seeking a senior management role or more in-depth specialization. Those interested in research may consider a Ph.D. in computer science.
Even if you’re building an online career, networking matters, building a strong working relationship with clients and colleagues now leads to referrals and promotions down the line.
Professional associations in computer science include the Association for Women in Computing, Network Professional Association, and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.
The role of technology in our lives is only growing, and computer science careers are booming right along with it.
From entry-level tech support jobs to senior management, the career possibilities in computer science today are seemingly endless. When you want a career with high demand, high pay, and the option to build your career online, look no further than computer science.
And if you need more valuable resources (like this article) to kickstart your freelancing journey, the NewBie Block blog has you covered.