Computer Science

Types of Entry-Level Jobs for Computer Science Majors

If you’re a computer science major who is interested in pursuing a tech-based career, you might be wondering about the best options for entry-level jobs. Depending on your interests and familiarity with the various industry verticals, there are many options to choose from and each one involves a combination of challenging and exciting projects.

Here are the various roles you can pursue to kickstart your career.

Front-End Engineer

Front-End engineers make the interfaces we all love and use daily. If you like to see immediate, “tangible” results from your code and have a flair for design, then being a front-end engineer may be the role for you. As a front-end engineer, you’ll typically be working on the very front of the page. In a nutshell, you’ll be taking mockups given to you by the designer and turning them into web pages; implementing designs, prototyping and writing code that translates directly into what users see on the screen. The code you’ll be writing for this job is almost exclusively HTML/CSS and JavaScript, and it requires a strong ability to write cleanly in order to ensure long-term maintainability and future fast iterating. Deep knowledge of CSS and other front-end frameworks such as jQuery are a must.

Back-End Engineer

If you enjoy learning how to optimize read times on large data sets, crafting large data structures like an architect would a building, or making sure that your app has the best search function around, you may have a calling in back-end development. Back-end engineers are most concerned with what goes on behind the scenes — the business logic, data storage and retrieval, and key features that happen on the server. Knowing your SQL commands and relationships, familiarity with appropriate back-end languages such as Java, C++, Ruby, Python or JavaScript, knowledge of systems architecture and understanding of the hurdles of building applications at scale are helpful for this role.

Full-Stack Engineer

Being a full-stack engineer involves working with a combination of both front-end and back-end technologies, and it’s the perfect role for someone who likes building complete products or features. In addition to being able to develop back-end processes to connect servers and databases, you’ll also be working on the user-facing application to ensure that the product delivers seamless experience from end to end. However, it’s important to note that given the scope of this position, many full-stack engineers are “jacks of all trades but masters of none,” so it’s worth considering whether you want to be an expert in a particular discipline or whether you’re more comfortable when you’re constantly learning new things.

Mobile Engineer

Due to the rising use of apps, mobile engineers are in great demand right now. And since pretty much everyone uses either an iPhone or Android device these days, being familiar with their respective development platforms is a great way to secure your spot for this role.
The best way to show that you have what it takes is by being able to show off some apps that you’ve built on your own. If you already know Java, Android may be the best place for you to start, but if you prefer the iOS ecosystem, you’ll need to start learning Swift and XCode.

DevOps Engineer

The role of a DevOps engineer often differs from company to company, but at its core, DevOps engineers are responsible for the system infrastructure and “keeping the lights on.” If you’re fascinated by networking, intrigued by how the various tools and languages your team uses work and love setting up new servers, DevOps may be for you. The DevOps movement expands on the traditional responsibilities of system administrators to bring as much automation to the job as possible, so DevOps engineers are actually a hybrid of programmers and sysadmins.

Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer

Building scalable software requires that many levels of quality be considered. The first component is that the software must work, but it also must be written according to best practices and in a fashion that will not break other components of the program being developed. As a QA Engineer, you’ll be writing tests and testing suites while also running tests. Familiarity with software best practices and writing comprehensive tests that cover all edge cases will help you land your first QA job.

Product Manager

An increasingly popular role for computer science majors, being a product manager involves identifying opportunities for new products and working with an engineering team to design and execute them. As a product manager, you’ll be responsible for creating a roadmap of the product as well as market testing the product and launching it. This is a great role for someone who is interested in working on the strategy side of product development and someone who is passionate about the user experience.

Being a computer science major opens up a lot of exciting doors and offers you the opportunity to continue building your skill set as a programmer and beyond. The best way to figure out which opportunity is best for you is by pursuing an internship and figuring out which career path most closely aligns with your interests.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What Is a Computer Science Major and Is It Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 5 Technology Trends You Need to Know to Work in Any Industry.

* This article was written in partnership with the team at Outco.