Career options for Computer Science researchers
Find out about the different career options available if you're undertaking research in Computer Science.
Broadly speaking, your options are the same as those for researchers in other disciplines; see the career options for researchers page for more details. The aim of this page is to look at some career options that may be suitable for researchers in Computer Science. One important question to ask yourself is the extent to which you want to use your subject in any future career moves. It's entirely your choice - you will have acquired and developed many skills during your time as a Computer Science researcher which are complementary to the scientific and technical skills you might think define your career choice.
If you'd like to continue using your Computer Science and would like some ideas as to how, see details of what previous Bath Computer Science doctoral graduates have gone on to do.
This covers the most obvious choices (academic and commercial research, computing and engineering jobs) but there are many other options.
As research in computer science spans a broad range of areas from mathematics to psychology, a wide variety of career options and sectors and industries may be open to you, including cyber security, games design, robotics, telecommunications, AI, data science, health, education and finance. If you would like to use your specific research skills and knowledge as part of a job, ask yourself where they might be applied and which organisations may be able to use them. Sector briefings like the TargetJobs IT and Technology briefing can help you relate your skills and research interests to the labour market. To generate lists of potential employers you could work for, have a look at some of the organisations/professional bodies in the ‘Information sources’ section and use the ‘organisations’ function in the Careers Service’s MyFuture vacancy database. If you want to move away from your immediate research field and specialist research skills but stay close to Computer Science, there are many occupations in which your PhD would be valuable, including systems/business analyst, IT consultant, communications engineer, patent attorney or technical writing. The role of quantitative analyst, which usually requires a PhD in a quantitative subject, involves using research, programming and analytical skills to design financial models used in trading and assessing financial risk. Quantitative analysts are employed in financial institutions including banks, hedge funds and investment banks. For more information on this role, view the Finance Train website and the Banking Blog on The Guardian website.
As Computer Science overlaps with other disciplines, you may find it helpful to take a look at some of our other subject-specific pages, particularly Mathematics and Engineering. The overlap between these subjects opens up roles in intelligent cd adoptive systems and smart technology, both growth areas for the future.
Teaching (of ICT) can also be an attractive option. For more information about what these jobs involve, check out the 'Information sources' section below.
Options outside of your subject
If, having got to this stage, you're not sure that you want to use your Computer Science anymore, don't despair! You have many skills and experiences that are highly valuable to employers and you can choose from the huge range of graduate jobs on offer, from structured training with large financial services firms to analysing policy for governmental departments. The key is to think of the skills you have and enjoy using, and explore occupations that use them to suggest possible alternatives. Your numerical and problem-solving skills will be popular with many employers. For information on different types of jobs, explore the occupational profiles on the Prospects website.
Management consulting, which involves helping organisations to solve problems and improve business performance, values the high level research and problem-solving skills of PhD students, and some companies, such as Mckinsey and The Boston Consulting group, have specific entry routes for PhD students.
Some key resources to help you research career options for computer scientists:
- See the Options with Computer Science leaflet on the Prospects.ac.uk website.
- The occupational research section of the Careers Service website has further links and resources on computing-related employment. - Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators - provides vacancy site for members, and produces a careers guide on getting into the industry.
- British Interactive Media Association
- Institution of Analysts and Programmers
- LSE Careers Service has information and links on data science careers.
- Socitm – a Society of IT Professionals.
- Tech Partnerhsip
- The Chartered Institute for IT website has a careers section.
- Inside Careers Guide to IT.
- TargetJobs IT and Technology.
Where to look for jobs in Computer Science
See the vacancies page for academic, research and research-related jobs.
- Careers Service's MyFuture database. As Bath is highly targeted by the computing, engineering and finance sectors, this is likely to be an excellent source of opportunities. Check out the sections 'For PhD students' and 'For Postdocs' as well as subject and role-related categories. Use the 'organisations' function to identify potential employers that you may want to work for or could approach speculatively.
- Individual company websites (use our Find out about employers web page to help you find suitable organisations). Small and medium-size employers (SMEs) especially can be effectively targeted by speculative applications - opportunities are often created through networking.
- The following resources carry vacancies in a wide range of computer science and IT roles: Computer Weekly; Dice; ITJobsWatch.
- For vacancy sources in games development, multimedia programming and systems analysis, take a look at the relevant Prospects profiles.
- University of Kent Careers Service - has lists of IT and electronics employers and links to specialist recruitment agencies.
- For jobs in IT start-ups, try Work in Startups. If you are interested in commercialising an aspect of your own research or setting up your own company, seek advice from the Research Impact and Commercialisation team and Bath Innovation Centre.
- For jobs in the public sector, check out Civil Service Jobs. You may also be interested in the Science and Engineering Stream of the Civil Service Fast Stream.