What Recent Computer Science Graduates Need to Know

Are you a recent Computer Science graduate about to start your career as a technical professional? Congratulations! This is an exciting step towards the future you’ve always wanted. And, to help you make that first leap successfully, we’ve put together a handy guide of the most important things you need to know when applying for and finding your first post-graduate job.

1. The Learning Doesn’t Stop Here: Yes, you’ve graduated with a Computer Science degree but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop learning. Technical professionals who stay on top of the latest technologies and tools are primed for successful careers while those who fall behind can often get stuck in a rut or never get promoted. If you want to make sure you succeed as a technical professional, keep the learning process going!

2. How to Prepare for an Interview: While you may have interviewed for a job before, you may never have prepared for an interview. This is something you’re going to want to take the time to do before interviewing for a technical position because it will give you a higher chance of landing your first job and help shorten your job search overall. Use this guide to prepare for your interview ahead of time.

3. Start Side Projects Now: While having a Computer Science degree is a valuable thing, it’s not the end-all-be-all factor for a lot of companies. Instead, they want to hire technologists who are actively working on side projects or contributing to GitHub in their spare time. If you haven’t started some post graduate side projects yet, now is the perfect time to begin!

4. Average Initial Salary: According to PayScale’s College Salary Report, a lot of Computer Science graduates have salary expectations that don’t match current averages. While the current average salary for degree holders overall is $57,964, Computer Science degree holders are earning $68,800 on average in their first post-graduation job. It’s important to remember that this is a national average so it will fluctuate a bit depending on the cost of living in your area and the specific type of position you’re applying for, but having an average in mind is important when interviewing because you don’t yet have a previous position to help set your salary expectations.

5. Gain Experience, Then Be Picky: While it would be nice to have a job where you telecommute 100% of the time, have all of your medical, dental, and optical expenses paid for, and get stock options fresh out of school, most Computer Science graduates will find that they need to compromise on their wish list of perks and benefits for their first job. Then, once you’ve gained some professional experience, you can be pickier about your second, third, fourth, or fifth job because you have a proven track record of success as a technical professional. Does that mean you should take the first job that comes your way even though it’s got a long commute, no PTO, and little-to-no room to grow? Of course not! Just select a few essentials and try not to be too picky initially, but you don’t need to compromise completely and end up in a job that makes you miserable. Finding balance is key!

Graduating with a Computer Science degree is a major accomplishment! It’s also the first step in a hopefully long, successful, fruitful career as a technical professional. Keep this guide handy as you search for and find your first post-graduate job and good luck out there.