How to Become a Computer Scientist

Computer scientist takes a break at work

If you are looking to go into a career field with a lot of growth potential, you might want to consider earning a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree. Becoming a computer scientist means that you will use theories of technology to solve real problems in many different fields. Computer scientists do not necessarily perform the same type of work as computer engineers. Rather, they work together as a team to make advancements on technological issues.

Let's take a closer look at this field and which degrees can put you on the path towards your dream job in computer science.

What Is a Computer Scientist?

A computer scientist is somebody who works in various fields ranging from technology and science to business. They may specialize in a particular area like data, programming or business. Generally, computer scientists develop and simplify algorithms that make tech processes more efficient. They create or add onto new programming and computing languages.

One of the major goals of a computer scientist involves developing new ways for people to interact with and use computers. Their goal is to make computer systems user-friendly and aligned to the needs of businesses and industries. Computer scientists will test new designs and systems in order to ensure they meet the needs of the end user. They also ensure that programs and applications work across different devices with the same level of usability.

Computer scientists solve problems. They develop models and theories to tackle some of the field’s biggest tech issues. They experiment and work with teams to test their ideas. They take this information to the broader scientific community by presenting their findings in journals and at conferences.

A bachelor’s degree in computer science is a great place to start if you want to enter this field. A computer science degree program will equip you with the skills and knowledge to do this job well.

Why Become a Computer Scientist?

Some computer scientists work in electromedical and control instrument manufacturing, which are high-paying fields. As a whole, the career field for a computer scientist is growing faster than average. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that it will continue to grow by about 16% through 2028.1 This growth will continue to grow because of new technology advancements and the constantly changing need for new technologies.

In addition to the financial benefits of becoming a computer scientist, the field itself can be rewarding for people who like to solve difficult problems. Anyone who is a quick learner and is interested in technology could be suited for a career as a computer scientist. Because computer scientists are always looking to improve on existing technology, they need to stay on top of advancements in the field.

The combination of high pay and growing demand for computer scientists makes a degree in computer science worth considering.

Computer Science Degrees

Technology is often a forgiving field when it comes to earning a degree. Many people are self-taught and are able to find work as programmers and network engineers. Others take free online classes or bootcamps to work their way into technology roles. That is not always the path toward computer science, though.

Most jobs related to computer science do require a degree. Let's explore some of the most popular degree options.


If you are just starting out and still not sure if computer science is the right field for you, an associate degree may be a good first step. You can earn a computer science associate degree and find a career as a programmer, developer or IT professional. An associate degree in computer science takes about two years of study.

You will learn several key foundational computer science skills while obtaining an associates degree, including language programming, database theory and algorithms. You will also take math courses needed to further your education should you continue in the computer science field. 

If you obtain an associate degree in computer science and decide you want to move up in the field, consider going back to school for a bachelor's degree in computer science. While an associate degree is a great first step, many computer science jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in the field. An associate degree is a good place to start for those who aren’t sure if the field is right for them, but those who want to really pursue computer science should not stop there.

Bachelor of Science

A Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree is very attractive in the job market. Many IT and programming professionals must earn at least this basic degree to get into the computer science field. This course of study generally takes about four years to complete and will include a number of advanced math and science courses.

While earning this degree, you will learn the foundation of the computer science field. Topics include introductory programming language, algorithms and database theory. You will also study data structures and online network architecture. As you go through your program, you may begin to focus your studies in one specific area of interest.

Many students who earn a computer science degree also enroll in coding bootcamps to supplement their knowledge and qualifications. These extra certifications make you more desirable for employers because it shows commitment to your education.

Master of Science

There are some fields where a Master of Science in Computer Science degree is essential. These are emerging fields like machine learning, artificial intelligence and other research and development (R&D) initiatives. These specialized fields need workers who have both the theoretical and foundational knowledge that a basic computer science degree provides and are also able to focus on the intricacies of the industry.

If your career aspirations include these types of specialized fields, look into programs that allow you to study them specifically. You may even find certain bachelor's degree programs that begin with your desired emphasis of study and allow those classes to transfer to a master's program later on.


In the field of technology, certifications have become exceptionally important. In computer science, programming and IT, employers want to see that you have skills that are applicable to your job. Roles such as network administration, webmasters and security specialists all have certain certifications that directly apply to the job.

As you become familiar with the field of computer science, you can determine the specialization you are interested in pursuing. You can then speak with fellow students, academic advisors and read about that specialization in order to find out which certifications make the most sense for the future jobs you plan to go after.

Grand Canyon University offers several Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degrees with emphasis in business entrepreneurship, big data analytics and game and simulation development. If any of these specialties sound of interest to you, contact us today so we can help you take your next step toward a rewarding career path in computer science.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.