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Best computer science job 2021: Top careers compared




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Computer science explores the potential of computers and computing systems. Thanks to breakthroughs in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and big data, the computer science field continue to thrive.

Computer and information technology jobs will grow much faster than the average between 2019-2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In addition to high demand, many computer science career paths offer strong earning potential.

Careers in computer science require strong technical, problem-solving, and collaboration skills. With career paths in the tech sector, business, finance, national security, healthcare, and more, computer science jobs offer a strong outlook.

Web development


Web development builds websites, from the components visible to visitors to the back-end databases and systems that run the site. Web developers use programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create new websites and modify current sites. They work closely with clients and web designers to create a finished product.

You might like this field if: You enjoy solving problems with creative solutions; you bring strong analytical and communication skills; you can move easily between the big picture and small details.

Career options:

  • Front-end web developer

  • Back-end web developer

  • Full-stack web developer

Hardware engineering


Hardware engineering focuses on creating computer components such as routers, memory and data storage, and processors. Hardware engineers research materials, components, and systems to create new hardware technologies. 

They also design and test hardware, including computers, smartphones, and components.

You might like this field if: You enjoy electrical engineering and build circuit boards in your spare time; you bring strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills; you can effectively communicate with other engineers.

Career options:

  • Computer hardware engineer

  • Firmware engineer

  • Network engineer

Software engineering


Software engineering applies engineering principles to computing problems. Software engineers design computer programs and applications, determining how the many parts of a software program fit together. They often work closely with software developers, quality assurance testers, and programmers.

You might like this field if: You enjoy computer science and computer engineering; you think logically and approach problems analytically; you work effectively in a team, and enjoy a fast-paced environment.

Career options:

  • Software development engineer

  • Software design engineer

  • Quality assurance engineer

Computer programming


Computer programming uses computing languages to run applications and software programs. Coders use programming languages like C++, Python, and Java to create computer programs. Programming represents the first step for many computing applications, and some professionals specialize in programming.

You might like this field if: You pick up new programming languages easily; you enjoy learning new skills throughout your career; you think logically and enjoy problem-solving.

Career options:

  • Database programmer

  • Python developer

  • Programming analyst

Data science


Data science analyzes large bodies of data, sometimes called big data. Using algorithms or statistical analysis, data scientists draw information from data sets. In diverse fields like business, healthcare, and finance, data scientists solve problems through data analytics.

You might like this field if: You have strong analytical and statistical skills; you enjoy solving problems with data; you’re a logical thinker with good interpersonal abilities.

Career options:

  • Data scientist

  • Data analyst

  • Data engineer

Artificial Intelligence


The field of artificial intelligence uses computing power to replicate the human mind. AI professionals specialize in areas like machine learning and deep learning where they train computer systems to problem-solve and think analytically. 

Computer programs like Siri and Alexa rely on artificial intelligence.

You might like this field if: You enjoy managing large data sets and designing algorithms; you bring a background in linguistics or learning; you thrive in complex environments.

Career options:

  • Machine learning researcher

  • AI research scientist

  • Machine learning engineer

Web design


Web design determines the look and feel of websites. Web designers select the layout, color scheme, and visual style for new websites while also updating current sites. The field requires strong technical skills and graphic design training.

You might like this field if: You have a graphic design background; you enjoy combining visual and technical elements; you enjoy working closely with a team that includes web developers and clients.

Career options:

  • Web designer

  • Mobile app designer

  • Graphic designer

Cybersecurity/Information security


The cybersecurity field focuses on protecting data from security breaches. Information security professionals implement security measures and investigate potential data breaches. They also conduct testing to identify weaknesses in networks and computing systems. 

With ever-changing threats, the field continues to evolve at a fast pace.

You might like this field if: You’re interested in national security; you love solving puzzles and unraveling complex problems; you thrive in a fast-paced environment.

Career options:

  • Information security analyst

  • Information security consultant

  • Cybersecurity administrator

Computer information systems


Organizations in every sector rely on computers and data management systems to function. Computer information systems focus on the most effective and efficient ways to manage information and computing systems. Database management, information security, and systems management all play a major role.

You might like this field if: You’re equally comfortable accessing a database and explaining technical procedures to business decision-makers; you enjoy analytical challenges; you can take a broad view of problems while also focusing on details.

Career options:

  • Computer systems analyst

  • Computer network architect

  • Information systems manager

Network architecture


Network architecture focuses on connecting data through local area networks, wide area networks, and cloud infrastructure. Network architects figure out how to design networks that achieve organizational goals. The field requires both business and technical abilities.

You might like this field if: You have a detail-oriented outlook; you bring a background in business; you can balance analytical abilities with interpersonal skills.

Career options:

  • Computer network architect

  • Network engineer

  • Cloud architect

Game design


Game designers work with a team of creative and technical professionals to create new mobile and video games. In the production stage, game designers create models to outline the game. After writing the code, they conduct tests and make changes.  

You might like this field if: You love video games; you want a job that blends creativity with technical skills; you enjoy working closely with a team of people.

Career options:

  • Game programmer

  • Game designer

  • Level designer

Computer science job guide and career timelines

Many career paths in computer science pay six-figure salaries and only require a bachelor’s degree. This section introduces common computer science jobs, minimum degree requirements, and the years of experience required for different roles. 

The list ranks jobs by the 2020 BLS median salary from highest to lowest.

Computer and information research scientists


Median Salary (2020): $126830

Minimum Degree Required: Master’s

Most Relevant Major(s): Computer science; computer engineering

Years of Experience Required: 0

Computer and information research scientists apply computing skills to solve problems in diverse industries. They design new algorithms and computing languages. Computer and information research scientists also conduct experiments on software systems. 

Depending on their specialization, they manage big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence projects.

Computer hardware engineers


Median Salary (2020): $119560

Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

Most Relevant Major(s): Computer engineering; computer science; electrical engineering

Years of Experience Required: 0

Computer hardware engineers design computer components, including circuit boards, memory devices, and processors. They research and develop new hardware, working closely with other engineers and developers. 

Computer hardware engineers then test the hardware and oversee the manufacturing of new computer systems.

Computer network architects


Median Salary (2020): $116780

Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

Most Relevant Major(s): Computer science; information systems

Years of Experience Required: 5

Computer network architects design communication networks that share data. Their networks range from local intranet systems to cloud computing infrastructure. Network architects assess an organization’s business plan to create a network that serves its needs. 

They also upgrade hardware and software.

Software developers


Median Salary (2020): $110140

Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

Most Relevant Major(s): Computer science; information technology

Years of Experience Required: 0

Software developers design and create software programs that run networks or perform tasks. They determine how parts of an application will work together, supervise programmers writing parts of the code, and conduct testing. 

Software developers also oversee maintenance and upgrades.  

Information security analysts


Median Salary (2020): $103590

Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

Most Relevant Major(s): Computer science; information assurance; information technology

Years of Experience Required: < 5 years

Information security analysts implement security measures to stop cyber attacks and protect private data. They monitor networks for security breaches, install firewalls and other security measures, and investigate data breaches. 

Information security analysts also recommend security improvements. 

Computer systems analysts


Median Salary (2020): $93730

Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

Most Relevant Major(s): Computer science; information technology; management information systems

Years of Experience Required: 0

Computer systems analysts blend business and information technology training to improve an organization’s computer systems. They determine an organization’s IT needs, design systems to meet those needs, and implement systems. 

Computer systems analysts also research new technologies and suggest improvements.

Computer programmers


Median Salary (2020): $89190

Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

Most Relevant Major(s): Computer science; information technology

Years of Experience Required: 0

Computer programmers write the code that tells computers how to run applications or software programs. Programmers specialize in a variety of computer languages, including Java, C++, Python, and JavaScript. 

They work with software developers to create and test code. 

Network and computer systems administrators


Median Salary (2020): $84810

Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

Most Relevant Major(s): Computer science; information technology; computer engineering

Years of Experience Required: 0

Network and computer systems administrators manage network operations for organizations. They determine the organization’s needs, install computer systems, and perform maintenance. 

Network and computer systems administrators also recommend upgrades and improvements designed to increase security and efficiency.

Web developers and digital designers


Median Salary (2020): $77200

Minimum Degree Required: Associate’s

Most Relevant Major(s): Computer science; programming; web design

Years of Experience Required: 0

Web developers and digital designers manage the functions and look of websites. Web developers write the code to run websites and shape their functionalities, while digital designers focus on user experience and layout. 

Programming skills, particularly in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript help web developers and digital designers.

Computer support specialists


Median Salary (2020): $55510

Minimum Degree Required: Associate’s or bachelor’s

Most Relevant Major(s): Information science; information technology

Years of Experience Required: 0

Computer support specialists advise users on troubleshooting computer problems, using computer network systems, and installing new software or hardware. 

They blend technical knowledge with customer service skills to help individuals and organizations effectively use their computer systems.

Computer science contractor jobs and assignments

Many computer science careers offer roles to contract and freelance tech professionals. For example, game designers, web developers, and software developers may work on a contract basis for a specific project rather than as full-time employees. 

Computer science professionals may prefer the flexibility of contract work. Rather than working for a single company, freelancers build a portfolio of clients and work on a variety of projects. That can mean designing custom websites for clients, contributing to a software testing project, or creating custom code.

However, consider the benefits and drawbacks of contract positions before going freelance. Computer science contractor jobs do not pay benefits, for example. While contractors often earn a higher rate, they pay additional taxes. And contractors may find themselves out of work between projects. 

In conclusion

Computer science jobs pay above-average wages with many opportunities for career advancement. Before enrolling in a computer science program or bootcamp, consider learning more about the field through computer science blogs and podcasts. People pursuing computer science career paths should also evaluate their strengths and professional goals to find the right role for their unique needs.

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Nomad Summer Sale kicks off: Get 30% off everything



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Nomad Goods produces some of the best high-end and high-quality accessories for Apple products, and for the next week, you can get 30% off of all full-priced items on the site.

One of my favorite Nomad accessories right now is the recently launched leather AirTag Loop. At $24.95 before the discount, the leather loop adds a stylish way to carry your AirTag. Plus, it’s a worthy alternative to Apple’s official AirTag cases. You can even change the battery, when that time comes, without removing the AirTag from the loop. 

Other Nomad products I recommend include charging cables, which have a braided Kevlar on the outside of them to ensure they don’t easily break. Nomad’s iPhone cases and Apple Watch bands are also popular and come in plenty of color options that include MagSafe compatibility.

I reviewed the Base Station Pro wireless charging system that allows you to place any Qi-compatible device anywhere on the pad, instead of worrying about precisely lining the charging coil. 

To take advantage of the 30% off promotion, you’ll need to use coupon code SUMMER30 at checkout on Nomad’s website.

If you pick up some new Nomad gear, let us know in the comments what you decided on.

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Verizon to bring RCS to all Android smartphones by 2022



Verizon will be working with Google to bring the Rich Communications Service (RCS) standard to Android users in the US starting next year, joining T-Mobile and AT&T which both announced the switch earlier this year. 

Verizon announced the collaboration with Google on Tuesday and said the RCS standard provides “a more interactive and modern messaging experience right from Messages by Google.”

According to a statement from Verizon, Messages by Google will be preloaded onto every Verizon Android device by next year. 

Google and Verizon said the switch will offer consumers “higher-quality photos and videos, chatting over Wi-Fi or data, knowing when your message is read, enjoying more dynamic and engaging group chats, and securely chatting with other Messages users in available one-on-one conversations with end-to-end encryption.”

Ronan Dunne, executive vice president and CEO of Verizon Consumer Group, said that by working with Google, Verizon would be able to offer Android users “a robust messaging experience that allows them to engage with loved ones, brands and businesses in new and innovative ways.”

“Our customers depend on us to provide a reliable, advanced and simple messaging platform to stay in touch with the people that matter the most in their lives,” Dunne said.

Google has spent years pushing the RCS standard as an update to SMS because it offers features similar to those seen in WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage and Facebook Messenger. Apple has refused to use RCS and messages sent between Android phones and iPhones will continue to be SMS, making them less secure than messages sent between users on either platform. 

Dirk Schrader, vice president of security research at New Net Technologies, noted that using RCS as the underlying standard is interesting because it can be seen as a message to services like Whatsapp by offering the same features without sharing the user’s contacts. 

In a statement, Verizon explained that Messages will “work with Verizon’s network and RCS messaging service” and “Google will work with Verizon to provide a robust business-to-consumer messaging ecosystem using RCS.”

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s senior vice president of Platforms & Ecosystems, said the two companies have been working together on Android for years. 

The GSMA reports that more than 473 million monthly active users in 60 countries are using the RCS standard and Verizon said Android users will have a “more advanced messaging experience as they interact with each other and businesses on networks that support the RCS standard.”

By the end of the year, those using Verizon’s Message+ app will also get full access to RCS capabilities including the ability to embed high-res pictures and videos, get real-time conversation notifications, and send animated GIFs.

The RCS standard will also allow businesses and Verizon Android users to communicate more easily for things like product purchases, reservations and more. 

Setu Kulkarni, vice president of strategy at NTT Application Security, said that by making their end users available to brands and businesses, Verizon has taken on a new level of responsibility to keep its customers’ personal and private data on their phones secure from data breaches. 

“Since the app is backed by Google, there is certainly a greater degree of confidence that security measures are taken but let’s not forget that the state of cyber security is dynamic — and that no app is guaranteed to be breach free forever,” Kulkarni said.

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Adversaries continue to abuse trust in the supply chain



We trust so much in our organizations — systems, partners, and vendors — for deploying software, monitoring network performancepatching (both systems and software), procuring software/hardware, and performing so many other tasks. A recent ransomware attack used one such system to successfully target thousands of victim companies.  

In this most recent example, attackers targeted Kaseya VSA IT Management Software, which was designed to allow IT admins to monitor systems, automate mundane tasks, deploy software, and patch systems. Attackers were able to exploit a zero day to access customer instances of the product and use its native functionality to deploy ransomware to those customers endpoints.

Further compounding the problem, managed service providers (MSPs) use Kaseya software to manage their customer environments. When the attackers compromised Kaseya, the MSPs inadvertently and unknowingly spread the ransomware to their customers.  

This is only one example of how attackers continue to abuse trust in unique ways that leaves many security and IT practitioners to wonder, “Why didn’t something like this happen sooner?” 

Attackers Are Getting Bolder  

Ransomware group REvil continues to get even bolder. Make no mistake, an attack like we saw against Kaseya was prescriptive and purposeful to inflict the maximum amount of damage to the most amount of targets. Immediately after the attack, they bragged about infecting more than a million devices and set a ransom demand of $70 million. If one organization paid, they promised that the decryptor would work across all organizations that were affected.  

This shines a light on a troubling trend we’re seeing, where attack targets are shifting from individual organizations to exploiting platforms, like Kaseya or SolarWinds, that allow for multiple organizations to be affected. Attackers continue to research the tools we all rely on to find ways to abuse the native functionality to effectively execute an attack. This latest attack abused an old copy of Microsoft Defender that allowed sideloading of other files.  

Software Is Vulnerable All The Way Down The Chain  

All the tools that organizations rely on — such as tax software, oil pipeline sensors, collaboration platforms, and even security agents — are built on top of the same vulnerable code, platforms, and software libraries that your vulnerability management team is screaming from the hills to patch or update immediately.  

Organizations need to both hold their supply chain partners, vendors, and others accountable for addressing the vulnerabilities in the software that they’ve built on top of this house of cards as well as understand the exposure they have by deploying said software within their environments. 

Run Faster Than The Next Guy; Take Defensive Steps Now  

Forrester blog, Ransomware: Survive By Outrunning The Guy Next To You, discusses protecting against ransomware by hardening systems to make your organization a hard target. Supply chain attacks bypass defenses by exploiting your trust in systems. To protect against them, you have to scrutinize the inherent trust you’ve placed on your supply chain.  

To start, organizations should take an inventory of the critical partners that have a large foothold within their environment, such as the vendors used for collaboration/email, MSPs that manage and monitor infrastructure, or security providers that may have an agent deployed to every system. After compiling your list, you should:  

  • Ask those partners what they’re doing to prevent you from being the next victim of a destructive attack. Ask about the gating process for pushing updates to your environment. How do they QA updates before they’re pushed? Ask solution providers how they secure their code and assess that code for vulnerabilities. 
  • Find out if they have the appropriate processes and architecture in place to prevent the type of lateral movement we saw with the latest attack. Ask how they secure their own environments, especially their update servers. Ask to see audit or assessment results from third-party assessors.  
  • Review your service agreements to find out what contractual responsibility those partners have to keep you safe from ransomware and malware. Understand what rights you have to demand compensation, if you are the victim of an attack due to a service provider’s systems being used as a delivery vehicle.  

Organizations should take aggressive steps to implement prescriptive ransomware advice as well as take a look at additional ransomware resources to limit the blast radius of an attack.  

This post was written by Analyst Steve Turner, and it originally appeared here

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Qualtrics Q2 surprise profit blows away expectations, forecast higher as well



In its second quarter as a public company, Qualtrics, the subsidiary of SAP AG that brands itself as the customer experience management platform, reported Q2 revenue that topped expectations by 3%, and a surprise profit where analysts had expected a loss. The company’s forecast for this quarter, and the full year, is higher as well.

The report sent Qualtrics stock up about 2% in late trading.

“It was an outstanding quarter for us,” said CEO Zig Serafin in an interview with ZDNet via telephone. “What you’re seeing is that the technology that we provide has never been more relevant, more impactful.”

Serafin pointed to evidence of that relevance in the company’s 38% rate of revenue growth, year over year, and the company’s 48% rate of subscription revenue growth. “This is building on strong growth in the first quarter,” he said. “You’re seeing an acceleration in demand.”

Qualtrics’s net dollar retention rate, how much it makes from customers, on average, versus the prior-year period, was 122%. That was up from 120% in the prior quarter. 

Qualtrics is known as a program for managing the interaction with customers, from first attracting customers to maintaining the relationship.

However, Serafin said the software is increasingly helping companies to attract new employees as well.

Customers are using Qualtrics’s program to “tune in better into the needs of their existing employees, but also attract new candidates and employees that could be coming into their company,” said Serafin.

“Our research is showing that about 50% of people will be out there looking for a new job in the next twelve months,” said Serafin. “How people leverage the employee experience management product portfolio on top of our platform, helping  companies to listen and take action on the changing nature of work.”

Also: Qualtrics Q1 report, forecast top Wall Street expectations: The C-suite is buying in, says CEO

That includes companies using the software to “design the physical work space and the digital space,” he said.

Revenue in the three months ended in June rose to $249.3 million, yielding a net profit of 4 cents a share, excluding some costs.

Analysts had been modeling $241.7 million and a 2-cent net loss per share.

Profit was helped in part by reduced expenses such as travel and entertainment, but “the majority of the outperformance is due to the outperformance on the revenue,” CFO Rob Bachman told ZDNet in the same phone call.

For the current quarter, the company sees revenue of $257 million to $259 million, and net loss in a range of 1  cents to 3 cents, again, excluding some costs. That compares to consensus for $246.6 million and a 5-cent loss per share.

For the full year, the company sees revenue in a range of $1.007 billion to $1.011 billion, and EPS in a range from breakeven to negative 2 cents per share. That compares to consensus of $984 million and an 11-cent net loss per share.

Regarding the forecast, Serafin told ZDNet that “what is most exciting to me is that our guidance is putting us on track to surpass one billion dollars in revenue in 2021, which puts us in a very different league of SaaS companies,” said Serafin.

The company plans to continue to invest in the business, said both Bachman and Serafin. Qualtrics hired 400 people in the quarter, and plans to keep spending.  

“We will continue invest deeply in the business,” said Bachman. “We have a unique opportunity to invest, we will  continue to do so.”

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