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Top 10 Computer Science Careers for MSc Graduates

If you’re wondering what jobs you can do with a degree in computer science, the range of roles can be a little overwhelming. Analyst, engineer, developer, architect, scientist – the number of possible functions and titles isn’t small.

There are thousands of computer science job vacancies in the UK and internationally, waiting to be filled by qualified candidates. With the explosion of demand for technology experts, you could work in almost any industry, from manufacturing to healthcare, aeronautics to telecommunications. 

But first you need to understand what kinds of computer scientist roles exist and what they involve. To make things simpler, we’ve compiled the top computer science careers, how much they’re paid on average in the UK, and the core skills each calls for.

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Study Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence


Computer science jobs you can do with a Masters

1. Machine Learning Engineer

Using machine learning algorithms, you’ll programme computer systems to carry out tasks without the need for additional instruction from a human. Machine learning is an exciting area of artificial intelligence that feeds into a growing variety of applications from driverless cars to medical diagnosis tools. 

Key Skills: Mathematics, programming languages, data structures and data modelling, communication, problem solving

Average Salary: £52,000

2. Algorithm Developer

Unlike other web and computer programmer roles, algorithm developers always focus on functionality. Their job is one of the most technical and exacting in computer science, coming up with the best code solutions to make a product work. You’ll solve the equations and write the code that gives the application or product its instructions to function.

Key Skills: Coding and programming languages, complex calculations, attention to detail

Average Salary: £61,547

3. Solutions Architect

If you’re business-minded, this role could be a good fit for you. A Solutions Architect is responsible for advising on and setting up smooth-running IT infrastructure to meet an organisation’s business goals. Almost every business needs IT services, software, and hardware. In this role you’d make sure that the IT architecture of your company is fit for purpose.

Key Skills: Understanding of business needs, data analytics and management, leadership, communication

Average Salary: £59,871

4. Data Analyst

In this role you’d be responsible for managing, analysing, and reporting on an organisation’s data. Working with often very large datasets, you’ll need to know how to evaluate information, communicate its implications to other people, and set up automation processes for data collection and analysis. If you love working with data, this is a core computer science job. 

Key Skills: Mathematics, analysis, statistical methods, data modelling, data cleansing, data enrichment, communication

Average Salary: £35,000

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Read more about our online Data Analytics MSc pathway


5. Business Intelligence Analyst

A Data Analyst or Solutions Architect might progress to become a Business Intelligence (or BI) Analyst after some experience. There are further opportunities to consult or become a BI Architect or Manager later on too. BI Analysts, like the related roles above, specialise in interpreting and reporting on an organisation’s key data and how it impacts the business. 

Key Skills: Coding languages, data analysis, data visualisation, business and finance insight, communication

Average Salary: £41,303

6. Data Engineer/Big Data Engineer

As a Data Engineer you’ll have greater responsibility beyond analysing and reporting on data. You will also be expected to build and manage the pipeline architecture, algorithms and software required to collect and interpret large datasets. Data engineering means making big data useful to the organisations that collect it. 

Key Skills: Coding, database, big data tools, data storage

Average Salary: £64,808

7. Cloud Engineer

Cloud computing is changing the future of business. As organisations put so much data through the cloud, those who can design, deploy, and maintain efficient cloud infrastructures will be in high demand. Cloud Engineer is a broad term, but it can refer to anyone who programmes code for cloud structures, implements applications through the cloud, or supports those systems.

Key Skills: Programming languages (Java, Python, C++), databases, virtual networks, understanding of cloud providers

Average Salary: £60,258

8. Software Developer, Web Developer, Video Game Developer, Mobile App Developer

Developers in computer science are the people who design computer programmes. The type of work depends on the nature of the product being developed. A Video Game Developer will collaborate with design teams to write the source code to make the game run as it’s supposed to. Web Developers produce the layout and functionality of web pages. As a Mobile App developer or Software Developer, you’ll have to be knowledgeable about the type of programme you’re writing, and proficient in using code to deliver the desired result. 

In many of these roles, user experience is a key consideration. Games, websites, and software are mostly used by human beings directly, most of whom won’t have advanced coding or computer science know-how. So, unlike designing machine learning or coding for back-end data systems, these developers focus on a lot of usability and functionality. 

Key Skills: Web programming languages, ability to solve coding issues, UX, SEO, graphic design

Average Salary: £31,000

9. Computer Hardware Engineer

Software needs to run on something – whether that’s a smartphone, a computer, or another piece of information technology. Software functions on computer hardware – so this role and Software Engineers often work closely together. As a Computer Hardware Engineer, you’ll design, build, test, and maintain physical computer machinery – including non-IT equipment that has computerised elements. You’ll also play a key role in ensuring the continuing advance of computing by developing better systems, processors, circuit boards and suchlike. 

Key Skills: Hardware development and testing, cloud management, network configuration, problem solving, communication

Average Salary: £40,185

10. IT Project Manager

As an IT Project Manager or Digital Project Manager, you could be overseeing systems and teams from a wide variety of specialisms. Project Managers prepare, schedule, budget, and keep track of complex activities, often coordinating different groups and individuals to complete their parts of the project. 

IT Project Managers must have a good understanding of computer science to be able to plan how a project will be mapped out. Any specialised knowledge you’ll need will depend on the organisation you work for and the types of projects. You could be managing a cloud project, hardware installations, software development, or anything related to the IT requirements of the business.

Key Skills: Organisation, communication, general IT knowledge

Average Salary: £58,627

Most of these roles allow for career development and offer promotion opportunities. For instance, if you start as a data analyst you might go on to freelance and become a data consultant, with the ability to command a higher salary. A firm grounding in the fundamentals of computer science can make you very employable in many careers in the tech sector, as well as your areas of specialism.

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Get the skills you need to kickstart your computer science career

Our top 10 list contains just a few of the roles available in the computer science field. If you have another topic of interest there’s likely to be a fairly good demand for it when you come to graduate with the appropriate skills. 

Most jobs for computer science professionals share some commonalities. They all tend to involve:

  • Technical IT skills
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Analysis
  • Communication

You might spend your days writing code, troubleshooting hardware issues, or designing the look and feel of software or hardware. Whatever you end up doing, a Masters degree in computer science is a good way to ensure you have the fundamental digital skills you need to succeed in your career.

Northumbria is trying to close the digital skills gap, as a priority of our partnership with the Institute of Coding. Find out more about the key skills you’ll learn on one of our online Computer Science MSc pathways, with Artificial Intelligence or Data Analytics.

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