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What Skills Do You Need for the Highest-Paying Computer Science Jobs?

April 17, 2024

Despite tech industry layoffs in 2023, demand for advanced computer science skills is growing, according to a recent Deloitte article, which reported that employers actively seek talent to drive “newer, more innovation-focused” activities. The article notes that executives particularly struggle to fill senior technical roles like system architects, cybersecurity specialists and those requiring artificial intelligence (AI) expertise.

Industry data supports these statements. Cybersecurity Ventures reported 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide in 2023, with 750,000 in the US alone. Meanwhile, 86 percent of organizations struggle to recruit IT talent with requisite expertise. 

The IT skills shortage creates opportunities for computer science professionals to advance their careers. However, you need specialized skills and knowledge to qualify for these jobs. A formal education program, like a master’s degree, is a proven way for professionals to gain the necessary expertise.

Master’s programs, like the online Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) from Stevens Institute of Technology, can help you develop industry-relevant skills and technical proficiency in the latest software and tools. With career opportunities in the offing, investing in this professional development can deliver a strong ROI.

Which Computer Science Jobs Pay Well? 

The highest-paying computer science jobs typically require advanced, in-demand skills. The Robert Half 2024 Salary Guide reports 62 percent of tech managers offer higher starting salaries to top talent who demonstrate specialized expertise. 

High-paying computer science jobs include: 

Technical Skills Needed for Computer Science Jobs

Top-paying computer science positions require advanced skills aligned with the latest industry trends. The following technical skills are currently in high demand. 

AI and Machine Learning

Computer scientists skilled in AI and machine learning can develop algorithms and models that enable computers to learn from data, recognize patterns, make predictions and autonomously improve performance over time. AI and machine learning empower organizations to extract meaningful insights, automate repetitive tasks and enhance decision-making processes.

Data Analytics 

Data analytics experts extract valuable insights from large datasets. By employing advanced analytical techniques—such as data mining, statistical analysis and predictive modeling—they uncover meaningful patterns and trends that drive business growth, optimize processes and enhance operational efficiency.

Database Management

Computer scientists skilled in database management know how to design and implement robust database systems, which ensure efficient data storage, retrieval and management. 


Cybersecurity experts specialize in safeguarding digital systems, networks and data from malicious attacks and unauthorized access. They employ a range of techniques, including encryption, intrusion detection and threat analysis, to identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risks to information security. 

Software Development

Software developers create and maintain computer programs to meet specific user requirements. They design software solutions, write code in various programming languages, conduct testing for functionality and security, and update software to address evolving needs. 

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Computer scientists skilled in virtual and augmented reality use their computer graphics, user interface design and spatial computing expertise to build immersive simulations, training programs, gaming experiences and visualization tools.

Mobile Application Development

Mobile application developers have expertise to design, build and maintain software applications tailored to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. 

Cloud Computing 

Cloud computing skill involves proficiency in leveraging remote servers, networks and services to store, manage and process data over the Internet. As businesses increasingly adopt cloud technologies to enhance scalability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness, demand for cloud computing professionals should grow.

Soft Skills Beneficial for Computer Science Careers

Technical skills alone aren’t always enough to land a high-paying computer science job. Most employers favor candidates who also exhibit soft skills, especially for management or leadership roles. Soft skills allow you to interact and work well with others, which are critical in a team-based environment. 

Soft skills that will serve you well in a computer science career (and in any career, for that matter) include: 

  • Communication: To succeed in your computer science career, you need the ability to share ideas and solutions with supervisors and team members. 
  • Creativity: Most computer science professionals use technology to improve business processes or solve problems. Creativity will help you come up with more innovative ideas. 
  • Curiosity and lifelong learning: The IT industry is constantly changing, making curiosity and a commitment to keeping up-to-date on the latest developments essential. 
  • Empathy and active listening: Identified by the World Economic Forum as one of the top ten core skills for workers in 2023, empathy and active listening will benefit you in almost any job role. In computer science, they enable professionals to understand client needs, gather requirements accurately and effectively collaborate with team members to develop innovative solutions.
  • Perseverance: If you don’t give up easily, you will likely do well in a computer science career. Top-tier IT experts are relentlessly committed to experimenting with specific technologies, striving to overcome obstacles. 
  • Organization and time management: Employers generally seek workers who can keep track of information, tasks and deadlines and manage their time well to finish everything on schedule. 
  • Resourcefulness: Resourcefulness allows you to overcome challenges in quick, creative ways. Employers appreciate workers who can solve problems independently, efficiently and with available resources.

Skill Up with a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Stevens

Advanced degree programs, like the online MSCS from Stevens, can help you qualify for the highest-paying computer science jobs. Stevens’ online MSCS curriculum, taught by expert faculty, is designed to build the skills employers are looking for. The proof is in the results: 97 percent of Stevens MSCS graduates accept job offers within three months of graduation. 

Coursework covers critical skills like database management, web programming, and algorithms. Stevens MSCS students also study mobile systems, applications, and cloud computing, including issues around trust and privacy. Furthermore, the Applied Machine Learning course provides students with the knowledge to understand critical elements of designing systems that automatically learn, improve and accumulate knowledge with experience.  

Next Steps: Getting Started at Stevens 

If you want to advance your computer science career, developing the in-demand technical skills discussed in this article can help you reach your goal and qualify for the highest-paying jobs. Enrolling in a master’s in computer science is an effective way to upskill in terms of technical proficiency and soft skills. Take the next step in advancing your education by requesting information about the Stevens online MSCS, or start the application process today.