Career Pathway: Computer Science and Engineering

Pathway Overview

Why Computer Science?

  • Growing Need for Information Security
  • Greater Emphasis on Cloud Computing
  • Desirable Payscale
  • Job Security
  • Booming field

Computer science is a continually evolving field and professionals are in demand with the increased usage of mobile devices and apps. Development cannot be completed using basic templates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029” (source). The pay-scale and lifestyle are also desirable. Computer scientists generally have flexible schedules and no “required” prerequisites. Specializations in the field include software development or engineering, web development, cyber-security, network administration or engineering, and computer science research.

Certifications and Licenses

CertificationDefinition/PurposeAssociated Roles
CSMCertified Scrum Master – Gives Scrum practitioners an understanding of the project management methodology.Scrum Lead/Master
Project Manager
Product Owner
Technical Project Lead
ACEAdobe Certified Expert – Offers a wide range of certifications to sharpen Adobe skills in different areas.Database Administrator
Computer Systems Analyst
Cloud Engineer
Chief Information Officer
AEM Developer/Senior Developer
Adobe Architect
AWSAmazon Web Services – Designed for developers, administrators, and architects using Amazon Web Services.Cloud Developer
AWS Cloud Architect
Cloud DevOps Engineer
Cloud Solution Engineer
AWS Network Specialist
Cloud Network Engineer
SysOps Administrator
Machine-learning Engineer
IT Director Principal Architect
MCEMicrosoft Certified Expert – Microsoft offers certification paths for many technical areas.Software Developer/Engineer
Web Developer/Engineer
Software Test Engineer
System Administrator
Azure Cloud Architect
Solutions Architect
.NET Developer
Principal Engineer/Architect
Technical Project Manager
PMI-ACPPMI Agile Certified Practitioner – This certification formally recognizes knowledge of agile principles and skill with agile techniques.Agile Program Manager
Project Manager
Principal Agile Practitioner
Product Director
IT Project Manager
PMPProject Management Professional – Designed for those with a bachelor’s degree, experience leading projects, and project management education or training.Associate Project Manager
Assistant Project Manager
Contract Project Manager
Business Project Manager
Information Technology (IT) Project Manager Construction Project Manager
Project Coordinator
Product Manager
Software Project Manager
OCPOracle Certified Professional – Candidates gain a competitive advantage developing in-demand programming skills.User Assistance Developer
Applications Developer
Technical Analyst
QA Analyst
Java Developer
Full Stack Developer
Technical Curriculum Developer
ZCEZend Certified Engineer – Industry-wide standard that recognizes PHP expertise.PHP Developer
MySQL Developer
PHP Backend Engineer
Website Designer

In-Demand Skills

Ultimately, your ability to land a specific role rests on your experience and educational background as well as your proficiency in the skills below.

Transferable Skills and Qualities

  • Meeting minimum requirements.
  • Adaptable/Flexible
  • Collaborative
  • Data-Oriented
  • Independent 
  • Motivated
  • Organized
  • Passionate
  • Solution-Oriented
  • Project-Management
  • Focused
  • Quality-Assurance Minded
  • Communicative

Computer Science Specific Skills

  • AWS (Amazon Web Services)
  • Browser-Based Technologies
  • MVC Framework: Java/Python/PHP/C#
  • Databases: SQL/NoSQL/MongoDBServer-side
  • Development: Express.js, Node.js
  • Deployment: Heroku, GitHub
  • Object-Oriented Principles
  • Debugging Algorithms and Data Structures
  • DevOps Agile Methodologies and Processes
  • Cloud Technologies (i.e. AWS)
  • ScrumMasterMobile Development

Job Titles

Note: This is a basic guide to kick-start exploration, not a complete list of all paths. See specific job descriptions for more details.

Entry-Level

Software Engineer 

Manages software operations by analyzing, problem solving, coding, testing, and creating solution-oriented debugging development for optimal success. Software engineers focus on scalable production services and design to implement user-facing products. They apply their deep understanding of technologies about engineering and design while also building and deploying applications. Tags: Software Engineer, Software Development Engineer, Software Test Engineer

Relevant Certifications: AWS, ACE, and Others Based on Job Descriptions

Previous Roles: N/A or Jr. Software Engineer

Future Roles: Senior Software Developer/Engineer, Information Technology Manager, Systems Engineer

Web Developer

Front-end, full-stack, and back-end developers are responsible for elements or all, of the development lifecycle. This may include analysis, design, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance. Developers have a strong faculty in programming languages, writing, and professional code. They are also well versed in responsive frameworks and version control, and have to be detail-oriented to optimize user interfaces and delve into the architecture of software. Tags: Web Engineer, Front End, Full Stack, Back End, Web Programmer

Relevant Certifications: AWS, ACE, PHP, and Others Based on Job Descriptions

Previous Roles: N/A or Jr. Developer

Future Roles: Senior/Lead Developer, Web Design, Consultant, and others specific to a language or app

Multimedia Programmer

Multimedia programmers design, code, and modify multimedia using client specifications and best practices. These programmers possess strong interpersonal and problem solving skills. Their passion lies in creating interactive content with a clear understanding of multi-platform and web development. Tags: Multimedia Artist and Programmer, Multimedia Specialist

Relevant Certifications: ACE or Others Related to Specific Microsoft/Adobe Applications/Software

Previous Roles: Developer or Computer Programmer

Future Roles: Web Design, Senior Programmer, or Digital Consultant

Mid-Level

Senior Developer

Senior developers have expertise in one or more computer languages, and spearhead architectural discussions, practices, and implementation. They collaborate with the design, product, and engineering teams to yield the highest quality of design, development, maintenance and deploy practices and outcomes. They train junior developers in application framework and technical challenges. Tags: Sr. Developer, Sr. Platform Engineer, Senior Application Software Developer, Sr. Associate Software Engineer

Relevant Certifications: AWS, PHP and/or Certifications Specific to a Language or Application.

Previous Roles: Software Developer

Future Roles: Senior/Technical Product Manager, or Other Role Specific to a Language or Application

Technical Project Manager

This role requires strong project management skills to plan, coordinate, monitor, and scope. They work with requirements, schedules, budgets, resources, tasks, risks, staff, and deliverables to track progress, resolve dependencies, evaluate risks, and communicate status to the leadership team and project stakeholders. Technical project managers oversee projects from start to finish while applying advanced business processes and analysis, and organizational objectives. They work collaboratively on cross-functional teams to optimize success. Tags: usually associated with level of role; Senior, I, II, etc.

Relevant Certifications: AWS, CSM, PHP, PMI-ACP, PMP, CompTIA Project+

Previous Roles: Software Developer, Test Manager, Lead

Future Roles: Senior/Technical Product Manager, Consultant, COO, Director

Systems Analyst 

Systems Analysts study an organization’s computer systems, procedures, and design information systems solutions to help with efficiency and efficacy. They bring business and information technology together by understanding the needs and limitations of both. Systems analysts must understand the business field they are working in. Having knowledge of the industry helps them communicate with managers to determine the role of the information technology systems in an organization. Tags: Applications Analyst, Computer Systems Consultant, Information Systems Analyst, Systems Developer

Relevant Certifications: N/A 

Previous Roles: Computer Support Specialist, Web Developer

Future Roles: Computer and Information Systems Manager, Computer Network Architect

Application Development Manager

Applications development managers oversee the implementation of a company’s information systems and software. They lead all projects related to web-based application and software design, programming, and maintenance. Additionally, they supervise the complete development life-cycle of applications and web development, as well as database integrity and changes. Candidates must possess management, problem solving, and analytical skills. Proficiency in different programming languages is also necessary. Tags: Manager, Technical Project Manager

Relevant Certifications:  AWS, CSM, PHP, PMI-ACP, PMP

Previous Roles: Programmer Analyst, Senior Software Engineer, Project Manager

Future Roles: Senior Project Manager, Technical Delivery Manager, Senior Application Development Manager

Senior-Level

Principal Developer 

Principal developers use their extensive experience to collaborate with designers, product managers, and stakeholders. They work with technical teams to define roadmaps from discovery/mock-up to full architectural aspects of building and operating an engaging and accessible web/mobile application. The principal title indicates that they work on several projects simultaneously, and have strong project-management and mentoring skills.  Tags: Principal Software Analyst, Principal Engineer

Relevant Certifications: N/A, AWS, PHP and/or Other Certifications Specific to a System, Language, or Application

Previous Roles: Jr. Developer, Principal Engineer, Software Developer

Future Roles: Lead Developer, Development Manager, Technical Architect, Consultant

Software Architect

Software architects guide teams in all aspects of decision making related to application and design of architecture from libraries, cache management strategies, selecting and implementing front-end technologies, and overall performance optimization. Architects believe in the value of mentorship, collaboration, teaching, and learning using Agile and Lean methodologies. They analyze new software frameworks, advanced theories, or technology enhancements, and may develop a system of documentation for cases. Tags: Software System Architect, Senior Software Architect, Application/Enterprise/Solutions Architect, Chief Architect

Relevant Certifications: AWS, MCSE, OCJP, PHP, Project Management Certification (in some cases)

Previous Roles: Front-End Architect, Full-Stack Developer, Junior Architect, Lead Engineer

Future Roles: Chief/Senior/VP/Higher Title, Project Manager, or Director of Business Intelligence

Product Director

Product directors deliver a product roadmap of services and applications with the collaboration of development partners and resource management. Their responsibilities include meeting deadlines, overseeing fiscal matters, and adhering to quality standards. Directors also own and develop strategic initiatives related to software and conduct managerial tasks such as staffing, mentoring, and reviewing to meet company and team objectives and goals. Tags: Director of Expert Lifecycle, Software Engineering, Systems Engineering Director, VP Engineering

Relevant Certifications: AWS, MCSE (Microsoft) or VCP (VMware), PHP, SMC, or PMI-ACP

Previous Roles: Jr. Engineer, Sr. Systems Engineer

Future Roles: Chief Engineer, Principal Systems Engineer

Additional Resources

Articles and Websites

Certification Information

Book and Reading List

Employer-Ready

We encourage everyone to become employer-ready, which means having an industry-backed resume and strong online presence (ex: LinkedIn).

Employer-Ready Means…

  • Meeting industry requirements.
  • Creating industry-backed materials.
  • Successfully networking.
  • Demonstrating a commitment to on-going learning.
  • Being proactive with outreach and follow-up strategies.

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