science is a great field for people who love variety and conquering new challenges. Someone with a computer science background can work in virtually any industry and in so many different roles. This is why it’s so easy to diversify yourself in this field and get advancement. You still have to take the first step, however, and know how to reach those higher positions. Let’s take a look at a few tips for people who want to advance their careers in computer science.
One of the simplest things that you can do to advance your computer science career, is specialize. Starting with a general bachelors and then moving into a specialized masters after getting a few years of experience under your belt is the best way to go. This will allow you to get a solid foundation and move into a field that speaks to your interests and aptitudes.
Here, you have many choices. You have concentrations like data science that will allow you to get jobs in big data. You could work as a data analyst, data engineer, or director of data science. And, if you’re worried about how you’re going to get the degree, there are tons of online masters in data science that will allow you to get your credentials while you keep your current job. This will not only allow you to reach higher positions, but internalize new skills that you’ll be able to apply in your current line of work.
Directors of data science can make as much as $167,000 per year on average, which is way above the average pay rate for most computer science majors. So, this is definitely something you should consider looking at. Other great specializations include machine learning, AI, and cloud computing just to name a few.
Assess Your Current Skill Set
Sometimes, you don’t necessarily need to get higher credentials to get better positions. Maybe you have a skill that is in high demand in the field, but you simply don’t realize it. For instance, the IT field is in great need of good communicators to explain technology to decision makers and end users. Some companies may need someone to work on training or documentation, and they might use someone like you if you have communication skills. This is the kind of skill that could land you a job as project manager and the sky’s the limit from there. So, look at the skills you already have and their value in the marketplace.
Improve Your Soft Skills
Speaking of which, now would be a great time to start working on your soft skills if they haven’t been a priority for you. This could be the single thing that is blocking your advancement where you are. Companies love dependable employees who can finish work on time and without errors, but they also appreciate someone who can give a lecture to a group of clients or help train new employees. These are the types of small things that will get you noticed in a company and increase your chances of being brought up when positions open.
You also want to make your presence felt wherever you are. All companies are trying to increase their bottom line and every single person in the management ladder is incentivized to do so. So, if you as an employee can find a way to increase the company’s profitability, it’s only a matter of time before you get noticed.
Get online and read whitepapers. Set up Google alerts so you catch all the most recent developments in the field. Also, dig deep into your company’s finances. Read the quarterly and annual reports and get familiar with the company’s vision and mission. These are all things that will impress management. They will see you as more than just another techie and someone who understands the end goal of IT: profitability.
Don’t be afraid to be a stickler either. Some of your colleagues may hate you for it, but management will take note. Respect the company’s dress code and not the loose IT dress code that you see in so many organizations. This alone could help you stand out. We would also suggest that you volunteer to do extra work whenever possible and go above and beyond on any task that you do. Don’t hesitate to ask managers if they need help on a project that has been stalling or put to the side either.
Look for a Mentor
There are so many highly skilled professionals in IT that would love nothing better than to pass on their expertise. Being an understudy can be a great way to gain some very valuable expertise and learn tricks you won’t anywhere else. If you ever get the opportunity to work as one, jump on it as it will accelerate your progression and give you a very specific skill set that very few people have.
You also need to learn how to network if you aren’t already. Get over your fear of other people and get out there. This is the best way to get noticed. You never know who could open the door for you, even if it’s just for a conversation. Do not underestimate the power of connections in this career as many companies will prefer a reference from someone that they know over hiring someone from the public.
Computer science is a fast-evolving field and it’s important that you stay on top of trends and new methodologies. There are many resources you can take advantage of. You could join trade groups, for instance. Or you could look at additional courses and periodicals. This will allow you to become more well-rounded even if you’re somewhat limited in your current role.
If you feel stuck where you are and you’re ready for something greater, make sure that you follow our advice. You’ll gain some valuable skills that could make you a prime candidate for a variety of positions, so go out there and make it happen.