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The Bachelor of Computer Science encompasses the design and implementation of software, with a focus on developing new techniques and methodologies. The field includes many areas of study, including algorithmic problem solving, artificial intelligence, distributed and internet computing, computer graphics, bioinformatics and data security.
Graduates work in jobs of varying levels of complexity. Career duties will involve the development of software systems for business and engineering, advanced computational techniques for graphics, enhancing defence and security systems, and systems engineering. Complementing one’s studies with electives in biology, linguistics, psychology or economics can lead to work in specialist areas like bioinformatics, cryptography, artificial intelligence, and financial modelling.
Note: Mathematics is an essential element of this degree and it is highly recommended that students have an awareness of maths at either the Band 5 or HSC Extension 1 level.
There is a range of computing disciplines or degrees: Computer Science, Information Technology, Computer Engineering and Software Engineering. To learn about the differences click here.
For more information about Computer Science, visit the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science site.
Further Study Options
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following a degree in Computer Science include:
Some jobs require additional qualifications at Honours level. Honours is a one year stand-alone program, completed after successfully fulfilling the requirements of the undergraduate degree. For more information see Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours).
These options provide great contribution to both your career and to the field of Computer Science. Masters and PhD can be undertaken through the university’s own Centre for Bioinformatics, bio-marker discovery and information-based medicine. You can also see Directed Computing projects that PhD candidates are working on here. Alternatively there is the possibility of completing a PhD in the Newcastle Robotics Laboratory.
After completing a degree there are a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Post Graduate Handbook at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/program/postgraduate/
The sample job titles listed include a range of opportunities for graduates at degree, honours and postgraduate study levels.
Graduates are also able to use the transferable skills gained in their studies to work outside the computer science industries. In some instances, further study and/or work experience may be required.
As well as the jobs listed above, there are many positions outside the general field of Computer Science that graduates may pursue using the transferable skills gained in their studies. The list of job titles below shows examples of the type of jobs / careers graduates can diversify into; that might not necessarily be directly related to their degree.
- Associate Consultant
- Consultant Engineer
- Database Administrator
- Help Desk Analyst
- Maintenance Engineer
- Network Support Engineer
- Project Manager
- Research Scientist
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Computer Science employment opportunities exist in a wide variety of industries within small, medium and large organisations. Below is an example of some major organisations which formally target graduates with qualifications in computer science.
- AC Neilsen (Australia)
- Accenture Australia Ltd (International)
- Agilent Technologies Australia (Australia)
- Air Services Australia (Australia)
- Alphapharm (Australia)
- AMPcontrol (International)
- ANCA (International)
- Arup (International)
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (Australia)
- Australian Secret Intelligence Service (Australia)
- Australian Taxation Office (Australia)
- BAE Systems (Australia)
- Canon Information Systems Research Australia (Australia)
- Centre for Bioinformatics, Biomarker Discovery & Information-Based Medicine (Australia)
- Centrelink (Australia)
- CSC - Computer Sciences Corporation (International)
- CSIRO (Australia)
- Deloitte (Australia)
- Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Australia)
- Department of Defence (Australia)
- Department of Education and Training (Teach NSW) (Australia)
- Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (Australia)
- Downer EDI Works (Australia)
- DST Global Solutions (International)
- EDS (International)
- Ericsson Australia (Australia)
- Ernst & Young (International)
- Flinders Medical Centre (Australia)
- Fujitsu Australia (Australia)
- IBM (Australia)
- IP Australia (Australia)
- Kaz Technology Services (Australia)
- LogicaCMG (International)
- Matrikon (International)
- Microsoft Australia (International)
- Optiva (Australia)
- Orica (International)
- Qantas (International)
- Telstra (Australia)
- Tenix Pty. Limited (Australia)
- Westpac (Australia)
- WorleyParsons (International)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Computer Science are the skills, abilities and knowledge sets that are highly sought after in the software industry. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
- Knowledge of basic science and computer science fundamentals.
- In depth technical competence in the discipline of computer science.
- An ability to carry out problem analysis, requirements capture, problem formulation and integrated software development for the solution of a problem.
- Capacity to continue developing relevant knowledge, skills and expertise in computer science throughout their careers.
- An ability to communicate effectively with other Computer Scientists, Software Engineerings, other professional disciplines, managers and the community generally.
- Ability to undertake and co-ordinate large computer science projects and to identify problems, their formulation and solution.
- Ability to function effectively as an individual, a team member in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams and as leader/manager with capacity to assist and encourage those under their direction.
- Understanding of social, cultural, global and business opportunities of the professional computer scientist; understanding the need for and principles of sustainability and adaptability.
- Understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities and a commitment to them.
- Understanding of entrepreneurship; need of and process of innovation, as well as the need of and capacity for lifelong learning.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note, the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.