Computer technologies are integral to modern life, so you’re likely to find your computer science skills in high demand across many different industries. These include financial organizations, management consultancy firms, software houses, communications companies, data warehouses, multinational companies, governmental agencies, universities and hospitals.
As always, it’s extremely beneficial to have completed relevant work experience. You should also consider compiling a portfolio of your own independent projects outside of your degree, which could be in the form of programming, moderating online or even building an app.
Working in partnership with clients, an IT consultant advises clients on the planning, design, installation and usage of information technology systems to meet their business objectives, overcome problems or improve the structure and efficiency of their IT systems.
As you represent a broad role in IT, your job will be similar to that of systems analysts, systems designers and applications programmers, whose roles are more specialized but nonetheless work on a consultancy basis.
You may also become involved in sales and business development, identifying potential clients and maintaining good business contacts. There is fierce competition in this role, so gaining work experience in a commercial environment would help increase your prospects.
Depending on what computer science specializations you studied during your degree, you may wish to specialize as a cybersecurity consultant or an information security specialist. Maintaining cyber security has become increasingly important, so in this role you will focus on understanding the risks to the security of information or data.
You’ll analyze where security breaches may occur or have occurred, and restore or reinforce systems against such breaches, to ensure that confidential data is protected. This role could include ‘ethical hacking’, meaning deliberately attempting to hack into your employer’s network to expose any weaknesses. Alternatively, you could work as a computer forensics analyst or investigator to combat the increasing phenomenon of cyber-crime.
Information systems manager
A similar role to an IT consultant, an information systems manager is usually a full-time member of staff, responsible for the secure and effective operation of computer systems within their company. You’ll be responsible (perhaps with the help of a team of IT staff) for the entire upkeep of the ICT infrastructure within your organization, with typical tasks involving the overseeing of system installation; ensuring systems are backed-up and that the back-up systems are operating effectively; purchasing hardware and software; setting up secure access for all users; ensuring security of data from internal and external attack; and providing IT support and advice for users.
You’ll need to make sure the ICT facilities meet the needs of your company and are current, while remaining within a set budget, and within all relevant software licensing laws. You may also need an understanding of business and management principles in order to contribute to organizational policy regarding quality standards and strategic planning in relation to IT.
A database administrator (DBA) is responsible for accurately and securely using, developing and maintaining the performance, integrity and security of a computerized database. The specific role is always determined by the organization in question but is likely to mean being involved purely in database maintenance or specialized in database development.
The role is also dependent on the type of database and processes and capabilities of the database management systems (DBMS) in use in your particular organization.
Typically, this role includes ensuring data remains consistent, is clearly defined, easily accessible, is secure and can be recovered in an emergency. You’ll also be required to troubleshoot should any problems arise; liaise with programmers, operational staff, IT project managers and technical staff; provide user training, support and feedback; and write reports, documentation and operating manuals.
A multimedia programmer is responsible for designing and creating multimedia computer products, making sure they’re functional and maintaining fidelity to a designer’s specification. You’ll use creative as well as technical skills to develop multimedia features including text, sound, graphics, digital photography, 2D/3D modelling, animation and video.
You’ll need to work with the designer to understand the design concept, discuss how it can be technically implemented, identify the operational rules necessary, write efficient computer code or script to make the features work, run tests of the product to test for bugs and rewrite or add new code if necessary.
You’ll also be available for technical support after the product is completed and need to keep abreast of industry news and developments in order to suggest and implement improvements.