Computing is part of our everyday lives – be it booking a holiday, transferring money to a friend, ordering home delivery, listening to music or watching your favourite show.
If you have a passion for technology or love to solve problems, then you could also make a career out of it as a computer scientist.
What does a computer scientist do?Computer scientists use technology to solve a range of different problems. They work on things like space exploration, hunt for weakness in the gene code of dangerous viruses and build the software that enables autonomous drones or robots to do their assigned tasks.
As a computer scientist, you could work on the utility grid and generation equipment of power companies, build the software that runs mobile phone towers, build (or improve) smart weapon guidance systems, or build websites.
You could be designing algorithms to convert into software to build mobile apps for smartphones, control complicated machinery or equipment, simulate complex processes to make forecasts, improve business processes, analyse vast amounts of data to detect patterns to exploit, automate manual tasks, build machine learning and AI systems that make more rapid, reliable and accurate disease diagnoses.
What careers can you pursue if you study computer science?
As a computer scientist, you could forge a career in a diverse range of roles, including:
- Data scientist
- Programmer or software developer
- Computer systems and network manager
- Software architect
- Systems analyst
- Database administrator
- Software engineer
What industries could you work in as a computer scientist?
A computer scientist can work in just about any industry. These days, many companies have some sort of computer-related requirement – think streaming services for the entertainment industry, mobile banking for the finance industry, online ordering for the supermarket industry, even mining companies have started using remote controlled trucks and trains. Governments need software to do modelling and prediction. The military needs battlefield simulations and scenario planning. Social Security and the Tax Office need to trawl through large amounts of data to conduct data matching. All of these industries require computer scientists to create, implement and maintain their tech-requirements.
What skills do you need as a computer scientist?
Depending on the kind of role you end up working in, the type of skills will vary. Typically, employers will want to hire people with skills to:
- Create and analyse algorithms, software design and programming in different programming languages, such as C, Java, C++, Python, C#.
- Collect, analyse and interpret data and information.
- Design, develop and use computer systems for solving problems.
But it’s not just about being good with computers. Employers also look for people who can work well with others. This may be within a team environment to deliver projects, or it could also be working with clients to identify their needs and solve problems.
How to prepare for your computer science career while you’re at uni
To help get a head start on your career, you might like to:
- Consider a study abroad experience or exchange to one of our partner universities.
- Make use of the Murdoch Careers and Employability portal to explore opportunities, book into career workshops and industry events.
- Get involved in professional mentoring programs such as the Murdoch Industry Mentoring (MIM) program.
- Find paid work opportunities to get experience during your studies or apply for summer or winter study break vacation work.
- Consider adding a second major or combined degree to specialise in two areas of study. This could include Games Technology to also obtain practical software engineering skills, Business Information Systems to get an understanding about how businesses operate, Cyber Security and Forensics to learns the tools of the trade, or Mathematics and Statistics to have a better understanding of numerical data used everywhere.
The future of computer science
As more companies move their products and services online, and the prospect of new technologies not even invented yet, we can expect to see higher demand for computer scientists to help create, implement and manage these systems.
Does computer science sound like a career for you? Check out our course in Computer Science for more information.