What can I do with a degree in Computer Science?

Computer Science_workers on Blue Fern

There is overwhelming demand for people with computer, communication and teamwork abilities to support the rapid growth in areas such as computer games, artificial intelligence, mobile applications, the internet, educational systems and embedded systems. The industry is seriously concerned about the ongoing supply of suitable employees.

As well as programming, the field includes communications and networks, software engineering, computer security and forensics, information systems, graphics, operating systems, performance evaluation, computer languages and artificial intelligence.

Computer Scienctists help people work efficiently and effectively by analysing needs and constructing appropriate solutions.

There is an overlap between software engineering and computer science, particularly in skills like programming. Software engineers tend to work in teams to produce very large products, whereas
computer scientists work in more technical areas such as algorithms, graphics and networks.

Through their Computer Science degree graduates develop valuable transferable skills such as:

  • Technical skills and systems knowledge
  • Analytical and problem solving skills
  • Logical and quantitative thinking
  • Programming and design
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Commercial awareness
  • Coping with rapid technological changes.

Applied learning is an integral part of your degree through lab work, course projects, and project courses. These experiences can deepen your skillset, awareness of others, and employability.

There is demand for Computer Science graduates, particularly those who combine technical skills with communication skills and teamwork ability.

Some students even start up their own software company and become an employer.

Recent UC graduates have found roles in:

  • Internet and technology giants eg, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla Corporation
  • Software companies eg, SLI systems, Aderant, Concept Engineering Ltd, Orion Health, Wynyard Group, SunGard, Tourplan, Land Technologies, Vault GRC, Telogis, Intergen, Cortexo, Databasics, Digital Fusion, Trineo Ltd
  • Telecommunications and networking eg, Tait Communications, Allied Telesis
  • Electronics manufacturers eg, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Harvest Electronics, Dynamic Controls
  • Energy companies eg, Meridian Energy, Powershop NZ, Solid Energy NZ
  • App developers eg, Smudge Apps, Carnival Labs
  • E-commerce eg, eStar, Trade Me Ltd, Amazon
  • Financial services eg, ANZ, Kiwibank, Westpac
  • Agri-tech eg, CropLogic, Indigo Systems
  • Web design/development eg, Activate Design, Iceberg Web Development
  • Digital marketing eg, E2 Digital
  • Game developers eg, Grinding Gear Games, CerebralFix
  • Grocery sector eg, Foodstuffs
  • Media and Entertainment eg, Weta Digital
  • IT services eg, Link Technologies
  • Consultancies eg, Assurity
  • Automation companies eg, Street Automation
  • Government or state-owned enterprises eg, Inland Revenue, Metservice
  • Global Positioning Systems eg, Trimble Navigation
  • Cyber security eg, Cisco
  • Education eg, University of Canterbury, Unitec Institute of Technology, Navitas.

Computer Science graduates are employed in a wide variety of jobs — see some examples below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

Programmer, software developer

  • Determines specifications and writes code
  • Builds prototypes of software programs
  • Tests and fixes computer programs and systems
  • Maintains and upgrades programs and systems
  • May develop and integrate technical aspects of websites/mobile apps along with other workers

Web developer

  • Develops website functionality and security
  • Designs back-end web structure such as servers
  • Maintains and updates the website as required

Game developer / programmer

  • Researches the user market, to meet their needs
  • Writes computer code, sources graphics/sounds
  • Tests games and fixes any issues
  • Creates new and improved version releases

Computer / systems consultant

  • Maintains and monitors an organisation’s computer functions and ICT systems
  • Recommends the programs and systems that an organisation should use
  • Designs computer networks

Software engineer

  • Analyses customer needs, evaluates computer software and researches new technologies
  • Develops software programs for new products
  • Manages software development projects

Software tester, test analyst, quality assurance

  • Designs and creates testing tools
  • Carries out software compatibility testing with hardware and operating systems
  • Sets quality standards for release-ready products

Mobile developer, application developer

  • Researches a client’s brief, an organisational need, or a gap in the market
  • Codes, designs, produces and tests prototypes
  • Creates new and improved version releases

Data analyst / engineer, intelligence analyst

  • Understands industry domains and processes
  • Analyses large datasets
  • Solves complex data problems

Telecommunications / infrastructure engineer

  • Designs and maintains telecommunications equipment and systems
  • Monitors the installation and use of equipment
  • Provides training to staff after installation

Business analyst / developer

  • Utilises data and analytical models for organisational information purposes
  • Provides insight to assist with decision making
  • Liaises with different business functions

Communications / computer / support technician

  • Identifies and solves computer software, hardware and website issues
  • Installs and tests software, networks, servers
  • Updates and repairs equipment

Entrepreneur, Director, CEO

  • Leads and manages an organisation
  • Sets values, objectives and policies
  • Ensures plans are in place, laws complied with and risks managed
  • Monitors financial performance and profitability
  • Communicates with staff and external groups

Get started with Entrepreneurship here.

As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies relevant to their area of interest. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep up-to-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the Computer Science subject page