Top Computer Science Careers and Skills & 10 Programs to Match

Top Computer Science Careers and Skills & 10 Programs to Match


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Demand for computer science roles has been rising for years. Under the lens of the pandemic, opportunities sharpen focus specifically in areas that help reduce cost, enable remote work, and sustain operations. For example, in a recent Deloitte survey executives across a range of industries ranked cybersecurity solutions and cloud computing as the two most relevant technologies in the new normal.

Learn more about top computer science roles and skills and 10 edX programs to help you take the next step in your career.

Gain In-Demand Cloud Computing Skills or Kickstart a Career

Hiring managers in the 2020 Open Source Jobs report from edX and the Linux Foundation marked knowledge of open cloud technologies as having the most significant impact on hiring decisions, with 70% being more likely to hire a pro with these skills, up from 66% in 2018.

Program highlights:

  • Build your own cloud-based applications and learn about the technologies behind them, guided by experts from IBM in the Cloud Application Development Foundations Professional Certificate program.
  • Gain an understanding of cloud technologies such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, OpenStack, and vSphere and how to leverage them to increase business productivity and effectiveness in UMGC and USMx’s Cloud Computing MicroMasters® Program.

Meet the Need for Skilled Cybersecurity Professionals

From the sudden shift to remote work to increases in online banking and ecommerce, cybercrime is soaring and cybersecurity professionals are playing an even more vital role in securing digital infrastructures. One McKinsey report suggests that as companies reimagine their processes and redesign architecture amid the COVID-19 response, the role of cybersecurity professionals and teams will be perceived anew and grow into strategic partners in technology and business decision making.

Program highlights:

Spring into an Information Technology Career

According to the 2020 Open Source Jobs report from edX and the Linux Foundation, despite the pandemic and economic slowdown, 37% of hiring managers say they will be hiring more skilled information technology (IT) professionals in the next six months. A Burning Glass Technologies report conducted in partnership with JFF identifies information technology as an area where 84% of roles are “springboard jobs,” with around 16% of workers moving up within five years and at least 65% of IT workers remaining in their career area after five years.

Program highlights:

Build a Strong Foundation in Computer Science

Emsi data shows that the top computer science occupations today are software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers, which are projected to grow by 21% over the next 10 years—faster than the average growth for all jobs—with high salaries to match. While computer science professionals have the option to focus in any one subject area, there’s also value in a generalist approach.

“As with probably any subject, computing gives you the choice of breadth vs. depth. You can go deep and specialize very heavily in one in-demand field, such as data science, web development, or artificial intelligence, or you can go broad and seek to be more of a generalist, dabbling in a little bit of each. Personally, I think it’s prudent to go for the latter: do a little bit of everything. I say that because the beauty of computing is that the field is changing so fast that even if you specialize, you’re going to have to continue learning within that domain to stay current. By going broad, you lay a foundation to go deep wherever you need to whenever you need to, knowing that the materials will likely be available to do so. You want to set yourself up for future learning, and the best way to do that is to lay a broad foundation,” said David Joyner, PhD, executive director of online education and OMSCS for the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and instructor for several courses and programs on edX, such as Computing in Python I: Fundamentals and Procedural Programming.

Program highlights:

Learn One of the Top Programming Skills

According to Stack Overflow data, Python is the fastest-growing major programming language worldwide. Learning Python gives you access to a wide, general-purpose language that can be used in a variety of industry, research, and engineering contexts.

Program highlights:

  • Discover the design cycle of computer programming — writing code, executing it, interpreting the results, and revising the code syntax based on the outcomes in the GTx Introduction to Python Programming Professional Certificate program.

“I teach and highly suggest that new coders use Python and its associated packages. In my mind, there is no comparison in terms of online documentation, user community, ease-of-learning, and general capabilities of Python,” said Dr. Clayton Miller, assistant professor for the School of Design and Environment’s Department of Building at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and instructor for the NUS edX course Data Science for Construction, Architecture and Engineering.


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