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Computer science degree

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In the last few months I have started to learn some programming (start learning Java) and I am really enjoying learning it, to a point were I am thinking of changing my university course to computer science, with that being said I would like to know what are the most common job routes for a person with a computer science degree?

 

How can an individual with a computer science degree work in a job role more related to business? A lot of Ceo and executives from tech companies have computer science degree such as Marissa Mayer from Yahoo, Larry Page at Google and Donn Mattrick at Zynga.

Edited by Gambo

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While the idea is generally correct, your examples are somewhat unlucky. Also, you should note that computer science and programming do not necessarily have a lot in common.

 

One should note that Mattrick was appointed as CEO because he had been an executive at Microsoft before, and at EA before that. He became executive at EA not because of a computer science degree, but because EA acquired a company that Mattrick had founded. Being hired for a bigger, better executive position at a competitor is a typical thing in an executive career. Integrating the management stock during an acquisition is standard. So, apart from being fucking cool and founding a nationwide, successful company at the age of 17, Mattrick was lucky, too.

 

Similarly, Larry Page is not Google's CEO because of a university degree. He founded the company. Being a company founder means being the guy who took all risk and found out it didn't work as well as he had expected 99% of the time, and being the one cool guy who runs a company like Google (usually a bit smaller) in the remaining 1%. It takes a lot of investment (time and money), courage, and of course luck.

 

Now, Marissa Mayer... she is not just someone with a degree, but someone who ranked in the top ten (maybe top 3) within her field, which just happened to be the field that the then-small Google was urgently interested in. So, yeah, she got a high executive job right away, but not for no reason.

 

You should not expect to gain a M.S. and be hired as the vice president of IBM a year later. This is not going to happen. Doing some Java programming won't help either. CEOs don't do Java programming, but on the other hand there exist a couple of million of people who do Java programming better (and cheaper) than you.

 

However, it is realistic to enter a corporation at manager level and haul in a high-5 or low-6 digit annual salary. It's realistic to expect being contacted by headhunters and being offered a better position with more perks (assuming you're not a failure). It's realistic to haul in a mid-6 digit annual salary within a couple of years (if you deliver, and if you play the game right). It's possible to become managing director or such, but this doesn't just fall from the sky only because you have a degree.

Edited by samoth

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While the idea is generally correct, your examples are somewhat unlucky. Also, you should note that computer science and programming do not necessarily have a lot in common.

 

One should note that Mattrick was appointed as CEO because he had been an executive at Microsoft before, and at EA before that. He became executive at EA not because of a computer science degree, but because EA acquired a company that Mattrick had founded. Being hired for a bigger, better executive position at a competitor is a typical thing in an executive career. Integrating the management stock during an acquisition is standard. So, apart from being fucking cool and founding a nationwide, successful company at the age of 17, Mattrick was lucky, too.

 

Similarly, Larry Page is not Google's CEO because of a university degree. He founded the company. Being a company founder means being the guy who took all risk and found out it didn't work as well as he had expected 99% of the time, and being the one cool guy who runs a company like Google (usually a bit smaller) in the remaining 1%. It takes a lot of investment (time and money), courage, and of course luck.

 

Now, Marissa Mayer... she is not just someone with a degree, but someone who ranked in the top ten (maybe top 3) within her field, which just happened to be the field that the then-small Google was urgently interested in. So, yeah, she got a high executive job right away, but not for no reason.

 

You should not expect to gain a M.S. and be hired as the vice president of IBM a year later. This is not going to happen. Doing some Java programming won't help either. CEOs don't do Java programming, but on the other hand there exist a couple of million of people who do Java programming better (and cheaper) than you.

 

However, it is realistic to enter a corporation at manager level and haul in a high-5 or low-6 digit annual salary. It's realistic to expect being contacted by headhunters and being offered a better position with more perks (assuming you're not a failure). It's realistic to haul in a mid-6 digit annual salary within a couple of years (if you deliver, and if you play the game right). It's possible to become managing director or such, but this doesn't just fall from the sky only because you have a degree.

Sorry, I was not very clear, I am not asking if it is possible to get a CEO or executive job right after college graduation, but if it would be possible for a computer science graduate to build his way up until that position (entering in an entry level job and build his way up until CEO, executive positions or even a CIO position)

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Of course. As Samoth notes, founding a business is often the most direct route to an executive suite but there's certainly a management track as a programmer. You prove to be a competent technical person with people skills, they put you in charge of a small group of programmers, you demonstrate management chops there, you get put in charge of increasingly large groups.

You also asked more generally about working into a role more related to business: At smaller companies, or as you get a little higher up in an organization, you can spend a lot of time thinking and discussing business even as a programmer. As low man on the totem pole, you'll get lots of 'fix bug X. Add widget Y', but once you've got a little autonomy, figuring out what code best meets business needs, how to allocate resources, what to prioritize: it's all business. I spend a lot of time talking to sales guys to learn exactly where we're losing deal, rather than just building something because it's cool.

In some ways I think it's easier to get to management from a computer science background: there's a lot of individuals with poor social skills in the field. I was at best middling at social interaction in highschool, but within this particular niche I'm well above average. Had I gone into sales/law/business, I think it would have been harder to stick out.

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Sorry, I was not very clear, I am not asking if it is possible to get a CEO or executive job right after college graduation, but if it would be possible for a computer science graduate to build his way up until that position (entering in an entry level job and build his way up until CEO, executive positions or even a CIO position)

 

 
In theory, yes, but the closer you get to that point the less and less it matters that you had a CS degree when you started.

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would [it] be possible for a computer science graduate to build his way up until that position (entering in an entry level job and build his way up until CEO, executive positions or even a CIO position)


Of course it's possible! It should be self-evident that pretty much anything is "possible."*

But what is it you're really trying to figure out?
 
*Except time travel to the past, and the Star Trek holodeck.

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Thank you all for the answers.

 

 

would [it] be possible for a computer science graduate to build his way up until that position (entering in an entry level job and build his way up until CEO, executive positions or even a CIO position)


Of course it's possible! It should be self-evident that pretty much anything is "possible."*

But what is it you're really trying to figure out?
 
*Except time travel to the past, and the Star Trek holodeck.

 

I am confused about the jobs path for a Computer science graduate, it looks likes there are no "common" job paths in this area (there are a lot of options)

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I would like to know what are the most common job routes for a person with a computer science degree?

Basically the standard route is to graduate, hand your degree to almost anybody, and immediately score a highly paid comfortable job. Indeed you're right - there are SO MANY options that it's hard to actually comprehend what your options are.

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Thank you all for the answers.

 

 

would [it] be possible for a computer science graduate to build his way up until that position (entering in an entry level job and build his way up until CEO, executive positions or even a CIO position)


Of course it's possible! It should be self-evident that pretty much anything is "possible."*

But what is it you're really trying to figure out?
 
*Except time travel to the past, and the Star Trek holodeck.

 

I am confused about the jobs path for a Computer science graduate, it looks likes there are no "common" job paths in this area (there are a lot of options)

 

Generally you go into some sort of technical role: programmer, QA, systems administrator, whatever. If you're interested in some other aspect of business, you can usually find something that merges the two: sales engineer is a job; if you like law ediscovery is a field populated with lawyers and programmers.

 

Then there tend to be two tracks: you become a technical specialist (architect, senior engineer, ...) or you become a manager (project manager, vp of engineering, ...) Each will have a series of milestones (engineer, sr. engineer, lead engineer, ...) with bumps in responsibility and pay

 

Beside that, the business world is pretty fluid. Our marketing director was a chemistry major, then worked with routers, then become a marketing guy.

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I am confused about the jobs path for a Computer science graduate, it looks likes there are no "common" job paths in this area (there are a lot of options)


What's confusing about that? Would you prefer that there was just one path? Do you think you need to make a decision, is that it? Because usually what happens is that you start with a job, and then as you learn more about what you enjoy and what you're good at and what your options are, things just kinda happen and you make your own path.

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