Highest-paying jobs in the Field of Computing Science?

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Strelzo
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As this is hopefully my final year at high school, I was wondering; what are the highest-paying jobs in the field of computing science? I'm anticipating University a lot, but with only 1 year to go, as long as I continue to work very hard, I don't have much time to decide upon the exact course that I want to do. Now, I've had conflicting decisions between cyber security, to devops engineering to video game programming, but I want to do something which pays a lot more. I must point out that I am entirely money-driven, and don't bother about fringe benefits. I'm up for a challenge, and am very willing to devote loads of my spare time to studying, even if that means only having half an hour each night; which is what I plan to do when sitting Highers this year. It would be great if anyone knew of jobs that meet the requirements of this category, preferably jobs that pay £100,000 or more (most likely when you adopt a senior position from working a number of years in a company).

Any suggestions are much appreciated .
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winterscoming
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If you're undecided, then perhaps a general computer science degree would be more appropriate to keep your options open? You can defer specialising until later on, and if the university offers an industrial placement year then that'll be a great chance to gain some experience in one of those fields without needing to commit to it for the rest of your career as well.

The IT industry moves at an extremely fast-pace; whatever particular skills the highest-paid jobs are asking for now, things may be different in 5 years time when you're working in your first graduate job, letalone 10-15 years time when you might be moving into a more senior position.

What's important is being able to cope with an industry which constantly disrupts itself, being able to continually adapt to the rate of evolution in technology, and the always-changing demand from employers. DevOps is pretty "hot" at the moment since it involves using Cloud platforms like AWS and Azure and generally automating a lot of expensive/repetitive/error-prone/time-consuming IT tasks, so those are in high-demand yet lacking enough people with the skills and experience to be able to build good solutions around those technologies.

If you were in that kind of work right now, there's huge demand for it, so consequently the salaries are higher, but you won't find any crystal balls which could tell you what that means in 5-10-15 years time, or how the technologies around DevOps might change, or how that'll affect salaries or demand for people with those skills. It's probably a safe bet to think that AWS and Azure aren't going anywhere any time soon. Just as older and well-established technologies like Linux and SQL are going to be around for a long time yet too -- but as more people gain those skills, there'll be less reason for companies to offer inflated salaries.

However, technical skills on their own tend not to attract the top salaries; the people who tend to succeed are those who are both highly experienced in the technical side, but who also have strong leadership skills. IT is as much about being able to work well with people as it is about technology, so those who tend to succeed are the ones who can take technical responsibility and find themselves in leadership positions for technical teams, being responsible for taking technical decisions and being responsible/accountable for the success of an IT project.

It's also worth mentioning that the location you choose to work in will make a huge difference - i.e. London salaries are around 50% higher than the rest of the UK. Also, some companies and sectors are likely to pay more than others too; for example, the finance industry naturally tends to offer the best salaries. People who become self-employed and work as contractors on a daily-rate usually earn more as well, although there's a trade-off in terms of job stability -- i.e. you will probably end up switching jobs every 3 months, more travelling/commuting, etc. .

If you're going to study Computer Science at university then you have several years before you need to worry too about choosing a particular career path. For now, the best thing you could do is giving yourself the best chance to succeed at your degree because that'll help you reach the best opportunities. For now, maybe use the summer to get some practice in at programming, or learning about Linux and O/S scripting, or think of a personal project that you could use to build on your technical skills, or use EdX/Coursera/Udacity and get stuck into some free courses on some general computer science topics.
Last edited by winterscoming; 1 year ago
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Strelzo
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(Original post by winterscoming)
If you're undecided, then perhaps a general computer science degree would be more appropriate to keep your options open? You can defer specialising until later on, and if the university offers an industrial placement year then that'll be a great chance to gain some experience in one of those fields without needing to commit to it for the rest of your career as well.

The IT industry moves at an extremely fast-pace; whatever particular skills the highest-paid jobs are asking for now, things may be different in 5 years time when you're working in your first graduate job, letalone 10-15 years time when you might be moving into a more senior position.

What's important is being able to cope with an industry which constantly disrupts itself, being able to continually adapt to the rate of evolution in technology, and the always-changing demand from employers. DevOps is pretty "hot" at the moment since it involves using Cloud platforms like AWS and Azure and generally automating a lot of expensive/repetitive/error-prone/time-consuming IT tasks, so those are in high-demand yet lacking enough people with the skills and experience to be able to build good solutions around those technologies.

If you were in that kind of work right now, there's huge demand for it, so consequently the salaries are higher, but you won't find any crystal balls which could tell you what that means in 5-10-15 years time, or how the technologies around DevOps might change, or how that'll affect salaries or demand for people with those skills. It's probably a safe bet to think that AWS and Azure aren't going anywhere any time soon. Just as older and well-established technologies like Linux and SQL are going to be around for a long time yet too -- but as more people gain those skills, there'll be less reason for companies to offer inflated salaries.

However, technical skills on their own tend not to attract the top salaries; the people who tend to succeed are those who are both highly experienced in the technical side, but who also have strong leadership skills. IT is as much about being able to work well with people as it is about technology, so those who tend to succeed are the ones who can take technical responsibility and find themselves in leadership positions for technical teams, being responsible for taking technical decisions and being responsible/accountable for the success of an IT project.

It's also worth mentioning that the location you choose to work in will make a huge difference - i.e. London salaries are around 50% higher than the rest of the UK. Also, some companies and sectors are likely to pay more than others too; for example, the finance industry naturally tends to offer the best salaries. People who become self-employed and work as contractors on a daily-rate usually earn more as well, although there's a trade-off in terms of job stability -- i.e. you will probably end up switching jobs every 3 months, more travelling/commuting, etc. .

If you're going to study Computer Science at university then you have several years before you need to worry too about choosing a particular career path. For now, the best thing you could do is giving yourself the best chance to succeed at your degree because that'll help you reach the best opportunities. For now, maybe use the summer to get some practice in at programming, or learning about Linux and O/S scripting, or think of a personal project that you could use to build on your technical skills, or use EdX/Coursera/Udacity and get stuck into some free courses on some general computer science topics.
Wow, that is a very detailed response, I appreciate that a lot.

And yeah, computing science is the job for the future, so I can see how salary's can differ overtime. It would be good reassurance to get a job that, even if the salary dropped by a considerable amount, it's still a very high rate of pay like say £70,000 a year; but I'm unsure what. At least at the moment, you see so many advertisements on recruitment websites offering £500-£700 per day of work, which is crazy when you add it all up. It would be awesome to know the field I was hired in would pay based on that.

Leadership is also something that I excel in, I'm always up for a challenge and like to monitor operations very closely. It's good to ensure your team are on-track, so I would love to possibly gain a managerial position (obviously after spending many years in one company), which should boost my salary up even more.

When you mentioned the place at which you work, London is exactly where I was planning to move to once I had finished University; exactly the reason you gave about the salaries being higher.

With close regard to the first sentence of your last paragraph, does that derive from one of your first points about not indulging specifically into one career path? I've heard that with most University courses, after you have traversed through the first 2-3 years, then for the last few years you begin to focus more on very specific career paths.
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winterscoming
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(Original post by Strelzo)
Wow, that is a very detailed response, I appreciate that a lot.

And yeah, computing science is the job for the future, so I can see how salary's can differ overtime. It would be good reassurance to get a job that, even if the salary dropped by a considerable amount, it's still a very high rate of pay like say £70,000 a year; but I'm unsure what. At least at the moment, you see so many advertisements on recruitment websites offering £500-£700 per day of work, which is crazy when you add it all up. It would be awesome to know the field I was hired in would pay based on that.

Leadership is also something that I excel in, I'm always up for a challenge and like to monitor operations very closely. It's good to ensure your team are on-track, so I would love to possibly gain a managerial position (obviously after spending many years in one company), which should boost my salary up even more.

When you mentioned the place at which you work, London is exactly where I was planning to move to once I had finished University; exactly the reason you gave about the salaries being higher.

With close regard to the first sentence of your last paragraph, does that derive from one of your first points about not indulging specifically into one career path? I've heard that with most University courses, after you have traversed through the first 2-3 years, then for the last few years you begin to focus more on very specific career paths.
Yes, the last paragraph is based alot on the first. Most degrees last for 3 years (4 if you include an industrial placement), so the time to start making decisions will be when you're in the final year getting close to completing your degree -- at that point most people are thinking about which graduate schemes to apply for, or maybe deciding whether to move into postgrad study for a Masters, so you really do have a lot of time between now and then to keep an eye on technology and the kinds of skills which are in-demand in 3-4 years time, and also to decide what you really would want to do as well, since there's a big difference between something like DevOps vs maybe a Cybersecurity analyst.

Also, remember that the jobs you see which advertise a daily rate like £500 per day are for self-employed contractors. There are implications for being a contractor which means that you can't compare those to permanent jobs with an annual salary. For example, contracting is highly unstable irregular work, and it's common for people to finish a contract (sometimes with minimal pre-warning) after a few months then find themselves needing to spend a few weeks without being paid before finding the next contract, so once you use the £500/day rate to cover those days when you're not working at all, it actually turns out to be a lot less over the course of a whole year. Also, you might do a £500/day contract for a few months, but then find that your next contract is much lower for a few months, but it could be a choice between earning a lower daily rate or maybe spending another few weeks earning nothing.

Also, contractors need to set up their own business with a business bank account. They need to hire an accountant to make sure they're calculating tax properly, they need to buy insurance to cover themselves against legal liability (because they won't have an employer to cover those kinds of legal risks), and obviously you get no sick pay for taking a day off, and you don't get paid for bank holidays either. Also, you have nobody to pay your expenses, so if you end up on a contract which requires you to stay in a hotel or do long-distance travel, then that's out of your own pocket. There's also the fact that you have to do your own employer pension contributions to yourself, and that it's hard to get a mortgate when working as a contractor too.

So overall, while there are definite financial benefits to contract work and you'd usually expect to get paid more, there are risks and it's not as much as it might appear on the surface.
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Paolo3100
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machine learning engineer but quantitative analyst pays A LOT MORE
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