Jobs After PhD In Computer Science

Last Updated on August 27, 2022 by Smile Ese

Finding a job after graduating from a PhD program is a lot easier once you know the how and what of it. To help you out, we are giving you an easy to follow guide on jobs after PhD in Computer Science to land your dream job.

If you need information on what to do with a phd in computer science, then you’ve come to the right place. If you want to know more, don’t worry Collegelearners offers you an insight into what are the job opportunities after phd in computer science, the highest paying jobs in computer science field, what is the salary after phd in computer science in usa etc.

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Why pursue a PhD in computer science?

If you majored in computer science as an undergraduate, you probably spent a lot of time programming and writing code. You may imagine that a computer science PhD is a lot more of the same. You would be wrong: a PhD program primarily teaches you to be a scientist, not a super-programmer.

What you will learn as a PhD is: how to manage experiments, interpret results, and survive peer review; how to read and evaluate others’ research; how to develop expertise in a field; and how to focus on a very narrow (but hopefully significant) area of computer science. You will spend one to two years in PhD-level courses (with an additional two years earning a master’s, if you do not already have one). Coursework may include classes in algorithms, combinatorics, and optimization; human-computer interaction; software engineering; computational biology; language and information technologies; machine learning; robotics; forensic science; biochemistry; and nanotechnology.

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You will then dedicate a substantial amount of time (anywhere from two to six years, typically) to your doctoral dissertation, likely on an extremely specialized subject. What if your field of expertise becomes obsolete? Fortunately, your PhD also trains you to identify emerging fields of interest and to develop expertise through research and experimentation. You will be well-positioned to pivot.

By digging deep into your specialization, you will develop an awareness and understanding of the deepest problems confronting computer science today, not only in your field but in all impacted areas. You will enjoy the satisfaction of attacking and perhaps solving important problems that few, if any, have previously considered: you will be on the cutting edge of a very important field. And you will get to do all this in the company of like-minded peers and mentors who are among the few people in the world who will understand your work. If all this sounds appealing, a PhD could be the right choice for you.

Computer Science Career Options

Holding a PhD in Computer Science typically leads to a career in research. Many PhD holders work in academia, although public and private career paths are also available. The field of computer science involves a multitude of areas, including hardware and software systems, computer theory, and scientific computing. Additionally, sub-disciplines of computer science range from programming languages and computer architecture to bioinformatics and cryptography.

Computer Hardware Engineer

Computer hardware engineers apply their skills and knowledge to making and improving computer parts that maximize qualities like speed, efficiency, and capacity, as well as the interconnectedness that allows various computer parts to work together. Job duties can include design and testing roles. Entry-level jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering or a related field. Factors that can help computer hardware engineers get ahead include holding an advanced degree and earning a degree from an ABET-accredited program.

Computer hardware engineers earned a median salary of $114,600 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); those who worked in computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing earned $125,210, while those who worked in scientific research and development jobs earned a median salary of $130,800. Working more than 40 hours per week isn’t uncommon in this career. Average job growth of 6% is expected from 2018-2028, per the BLS.

Post-secondary Teacher

Postsecondary teachers perform a broad array of tasks that include preparing courses, delivering lecturers, and evaluating student work. Additional duties can include mentoring graduate students, committee work with other teachers, and conducting their own research for presentation and publication. Postsecondary teachers typically need to have a doctoral degree; previous teaching experience isn’t required, but some schools prefer it.

According to the BLS, the median pay for postsecondary teachers, in general, was $78,470 in 2018. Specific salaries vary based upon the subject area taught as well; computer science teachers earned a median salary of $82,220 at that same time. The job market for postsecondary teachers is competitive and is predicted to increase 11% from 2018-2028, per the BLS. The predicted job growth for computer science teachers specifically is 4% for that same period.

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Computer and Information Research Scientist

Computer and information research scientists explore how to use computing technology to solve problems through research, development, and experimentation. Areas of specialization can include robotics and computer programming. Employers typically require applicants to have a doctoral degree; in some cases, applicants are expected to have coursework in the area of specialization in which they wish to work.

The median pay for this career was $$118,370 in 2018, per the BLS, which is higher than the median salary of all computer occupations, which was $86,320. According to the BLS, jobs in this field are expected to increase 16% from 2018-2028, which is much faster than the national average.

Jobs After PhD In Computer Science

For those working toward earning their Doctorate in Computer Science, it isn’t uncommon to have questions regarding career paths. Some of these questions include, “Can I get the kind of job I want in computer science following graduation?” “What are my job options?” “What is a doctorate in computer science salary?” “Is a computer science PhD worth it?” Let’s look at five careers with a PhD in Computer Science to help answer some of these questions.


According to Northeastern University, the average salary of a computer scientist is between $81,000 and $154,000 with a median salary of $113,180. Their primary responsibilities include the development of an organization’s computer-based tools. Development, depending on the company where they find employment, could be anything from developing algorithms to improve efficiency or designing databases. Therefore, it’s critical for a computer scientist to know C++, Java, Python, SQL, XML, or other program languages.


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics states that the average median pay in 2017 was between $88,270 annually with an hourly rate of $44.20. A computer systems engineer, also known as a computer systems analyst or system architect, studies a company or organization’s procedures and computer systems. Then, it’s their responsibility to help the business operate more effectively and efficiently using their design solutions.


According to the crowd-sourced salary website Payscale, the average salary to become a computer science professor is $84,769. It depends, however, on which state the graduate would like to teach. Computer science professors place to focus on the understanding of the computational processes of computers, as well as their design. Professors also work with students of computer engineering, information technology, and other allied fields.


According to O*Net OnLine, a Computer Network Architect earns $50.31 hourly and $104,650 annually. Their primary employment responsibilities include the maintenance of computer networks to enhance user access and performance. They must also perform research to gain information about processes or products, as well as develop models or specifications for computer networks or communication systems.


According to, the average salary for those working in research and development is approximately $113,190. Every year, this salary continues to increase. This job is also referred to as a computer science researcher and translates a PhD to industry quite well. Just about every industry needs people working in computer research and development including security, software development, academia, the government, and more.


For those wondering if a computer science PhD worth it, after looking at the doctorate in computer science salary for each of the careers here, it’s possible to see that translating a PhD to the industry is a lucrative decision. The first step in any career decision, however, is for the graduate to conduct research regarding interests and long-term objectives. By doing this, the reality of obtaining a career in the computer science field following graduation doesn’t have to be a dream. Graduates can achieve their goals, and they can get the job in computer science they want.

phd computer science professor salary

Computer science professors make $89,803 per year on average, or $43.17 per hour, in the United States. Computer science professors on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $43,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $184,000.

Location impacts how much a computer science professor can expect to make. Computer science professors make the most in California, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

benefits of phd in computer science

You learn cutting edge research skills

The most commonly cited advantage of a computer science PhD is that you learn highly advanced research skills:

  • You learn the skill of choosing promising areas of research that are at the edges of a field: “Doing a PhD will force you to cast away from shore and explore the boundary of human knowledge. There’s a real trick to picking good problems, and developing a taste for it is a key skill if you want to become a technical leader.”2
  • You become fluent in both written and verbal technical communication: “I’ve noticed a big gap between the software engineers I’ve worked with who have PhDs and those who don’t in this regard. PhD-trained folks tend to give clear, well-organized talks and know how to write up their work and visualize the result of experiments. As a result they can be much more influential.”3 This is a skill that’s important for entering data science.
  • You learn to run experiments and interpret the results and get every aspect of your methodology closely critiqued.
  • You learn how to read and critique research papers.

Potential for large impact from research

  • During your PhD you get to work on the hardest problems at the edge of human knowledge, in a field with a strong track record of transformational research, in spite of its short history as an academic discipline. “PhD research is about opening up new avenues of enquiry, and working on problems that the rest of the world hasn’t even articulated yet. If you do it right, you can have tremendous impact.”4 A computer science PhD opens up the potential to carry on with this research in academia or in industry.
  • You have lots of freedom over what research topics to work on during your PhD (though if you want to continue to academia, you’ll need to initially focus on the topics that will most aid your career).5
  • Artificial Intelligence is one of the most important trends of the next century and is currently the most popular area of specialisation among computer science PhD’s.6 We think it’s especially important that more people work on making sure the development of AI is done safely, and there’s increasing funding available for researchers with this aim, making it a promising area to enter. A computer science PhD opens up jobs focused on AI safety in industry (for example at DeepMind), non-profits such as the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, and academia. If you want to work on this research, see our full review of the area.

Other benefits

  • You often become the leading world expert on the area of your dissertation.
  • You gain a much deeper understanding of complex computer science topics, which can help with reaching technical leadership positions in industry, which are in-demand and well-paid. People with PhD’s also frequently get more freedom in their subsequent jobs than those with bachelor’s or master’s degrees.
  • Highly intelligent peers, and close mentorship and feedback from some of the smartest people on earth.
  • PhD level research can be extremely satisfying. You can discover previously completely unknown knowledge, you gain deep understanding of your area and you get to prioritise accuracy and truth over functionality and speed much more than you do in industry.
  • It is generally easier to move from a computer science PhD into industry than it is to move from industry into a PhD.

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