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job opportunities after phd in computer science

15 Highest Paying Computer Science Jobs & Salaries 2024

The field of computer science offers a wide range of lucrative career opportunities. With the rapid advancements in technology, the demand for skilled professionals in this domain is on the rise.

In this article, we will explore the top 10 highest paying computer science jobs and salaries, based on recent data and industry trends.

Top 15 Highest Paying Computer Science Jobs & Salaries 2024

1. machine learning engineer.

Machine learning engineers develop algorithms and models that enable computers to learn from data and make predictions or decisions. They are in high demand due to the increasing use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in various industries [3] .

The average salary for a machine learning engineer is $151,922 .

2. Data Scientist

Data scientists analyze large datasets to extract valuable insights and help organizations make data-driven decisions. They use statistical techniques, machine learning algorithms, and data visualization tools to identify patterns and trends in data [2] .

The average salary for a data scientist is $152,220 .

3. Software Architect

Software architects design and develop software systems, ensuring that they are scalable, reliable, and secure. They are responsible for making high-level decisions about the overall structure and organization of software projects [5] .

The average salary for a software architect is $214,932 , making it one of the highest paying computer science jobs on the list.

4. Principal Software Engineer

A Principal Software Engineer is responsible for leading the design and development of complex software systems. They analyze project requirements, perform code and system reviews, and provide technical guidance to the development team. They collaborate with other stakeholders to ensure the smooth execution of projects.

The median annual salary for a Principal Software Engineer is $164,150 , but can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and industry. 

5. Cybersecurity Engineer

Cybersecurity engineers protect computer systems and networks from cyber threats, such as hacking, malware, and data breaches. They develop and implement security measures to safeguard sensitive information and maintain the integrity of IT infrastructure.

The average salary of a cybersecurity engineer is $131,654 .

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6. Software Engineer

A software engineer is responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining software systems. They collaborate with a team of programmers, analysts, and designers to create innovative software solutions. Software engineers are proficient in programming languages and are skilled in problem-solving and critical thinking. They test and debug software to ensure its functionality and make necessary updates or modifications.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for software engineers is $124,200 . 

7. Information Security Engineer

A Information Security Engineer, otherwise know as an Information Security Analyst, is responsible for protecting an organization's computer systems and networks from potential security breaches. They develop and implement security measures, such as firewalls and encryption protocols, to safeguard sensitive data. These professionals also conduct regular security assessments and audits to identify vulnerabilities and recommend improvements.

The median annual salary for an Information Security Engineer is around $112,000 , but can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and industry. 

8. Big Data Engineer

Big data engineers design, build, and maintain large-scale data processing systems. They work with big data technologies, such as Hadoop and Spark, to process and analyze massive amounts of data.

The average salary of a big data engineer is $117,914 .

9. Cloud Architect

Cloud architects design and manage cloud computing infrastructure, ensuring that it meets the needs of organizations in terms of scalability, security, and performance. They are responsible for selecting the appropriate cloud services and optimizing their use.

The average salary of a cloud architect is $218,609 , meaning it's the highest paying computer science job on the list.

10. Computer Systems Analyst

 A computer systems analyst is responsible for analyzing, designing, and implementing computer systems to meet the needs of an organization. They evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of existing systems, research emerging technologies, and make recommendations for improvements. Additionally, they collaborate with users to identify system requirements and develop specifications for system enhancements.

The median annual salary for computer systems analysts is $102,240 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics .

11. Full-Stack Developer

Full-stack developers are proficient in both front-end and back-end development, allowing them to build complete web applications from scratch. They work with various programming languages, frameworks, and databases to create user-friendly and functional websites.

The average salary of a full-stack developer is $97,152 .

12. Web Developer

A web developer is responsible for designing and coding websites. They work closely with clients to understand their needs and ensure the website meets their requirements. Web developers also optimize websites for search engines and ensure their functionality on different devices.

The median annual salary for a web developer is around $80,730 , but it can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and employer. 

13. DevOps Engineer

DevOps engineers work at the intersection of software development and IT operations, focusing on automating and streamlining processes to improve the efficiency of software delivery. They collaborate with developers and IT professionals to ensure that software is built, tested, and deployed efficiently [8] .

The average salary of a devops engineer is $123,464 .

14. Mobile Application Developer

Mobile application developers create apps for smartphones and tablets, using programming languages such as Java, Swift, and Kotlin. They are responsible for designing, coding, and testing mobile applications to ensure they are user-friendly and meet the requirements of clients.

The average salary of a mobile application developer is $116,852 .

15. Network Architect

Network architects design and implement computer networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. They are responsible for ensuring that networks are secure, reliable, and scalable to meet the needs of organizations.

The average salary of a network architect is $164,694 .

Looking to Pursue A Career in Computer Science?

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best paying computer science jobs and careers

FAQs - Highest Paying Jobs in Computer Science

What are the highest paying computer science jobs.

Some of the highest paying computer science jobs include the jobs roles discussed above, which are Software Architect, Cloud Architect, Data Scientist, ML engineer Cybersecurity Engineering and others

What are the benefits of choosing a career in computer science?

Choosing a career in computer science has many benefits. Here are some of the benefits mentioned in the search results:

Diverse career opportunities : Computer science offers a wide range of career opportunities in various fields such as software development, cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence, and more.

Job stability : Computer science professionals tend to have good job stability due to the high demand for their skills in various industries.

Lucrative financial rewards : Computer science jobs often come with high salaries and other financial benefits.

Opportunity for creativity : Computer science professionals have the opportunity to be creative and innovative in their work, as they are often tasked with finding new solutions to complex problems.

Transferable skills : A career in computer science can help develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and data management, which are valuable in other fields as well.

Making a difference : Computer science professionals have the opportunity to make a positive impact on society by developing new technologies that can improve people's lives.

Accelerating healthcare progress : Computer science can benefit society by accelerating healthcare progress through the development of new technologies and software.

Providing opportunities : Computer science can provide opportunities for people who may not have access to traditional education or job opportunities.

Be ready to compete : The computer science field is one of the fastest-growing academic disciplines today, and it offers an excellent career pathway.

Count on a solid career : Computer science programs prepare students with the skillsets that are in high demand in various industries, providing a solid career path.

In summary, a career in computer science can offer diverse career opportunities, job stability, financial rewards, creativity, transferable skills, and the opportunity to make a positive impact on society.

What's the average salary of someone working in computer science in USA?

According to multiple sources, the average annual salary of someone working in computer science in the USA varies depending on the source and the specific job title. Here are some of the average salaries reported by different sources:

- Glassdoor : $63,028 - $115,341 per year for a Computer Science role; $94,359 per year for a Computer Scientist role - Indeed : $108,145 per year for a Computer Scientist role - Salary.com : $126,126 per year for a Computer Science role

It's important to note that salaries can vary depending on factors such as location, years of experience, education, and specific job title.

What do you need to get a job in computer science?

To get a job in computer science, there are several requirements that one must meet. Here are some of the common requirements based on the search results:

1. Education: Most of the highest-paying computer science jobs require at least a bachelor's degree in computer science (computer science degree) or a related field of study. Some jobs may require a master's degree or higher. It is also possible to get certified in specific areas of computer science to demonstrate proficiency.

2. Skills: Strong mathematical skills are important for high-paying computer science jobs in 2023. Other important skills include programming, software development, data analysis, and knowledge of programming languages.

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Discover how you can acquire the most in-demand skills with our free report, and open the doors to a successful career. 

3. Specialization: It is important to decide on a specialization within computer science, such as web development, software engineering, or data analysis.

4. Experience: Entry-level jobs in computer science may require prior work experience or internships.

5. Continuing education: Pursuing continuing education credits or obtaining certifications can help demonstrate expertise and keep up with the latest developments in the field.

6. Personality traits: Creativity, problem-solving skills, and attention to detail are important traits for success in computer science.

Overall, the requirements for a career in computer science can vary depending on the specific job and industry. However, obtaining a degree in computer science or a related field, developing strong skills in programming and mathematics, and gaining experience through internships or entry-level jobs are important steps to take.

How many years does it take to gain a good computer science job?

The time it takes to gain a good computer science job can vary depending on several factors, such as the level of education, work experience, and skills. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , a master's degree in a computer-related field, such as computer science, usually requires 2 to 3 years of study after earning a bachelor's degree. A doctoral degree in computer science can take an additional 3-6 years, while a bachelor's degree in computer science can be completed in 4 years. 

However, having a degree is not the only requirement for getting a good computer science job. Work experience and skills are also important factors. Entry-level positions, such as software developer, can help develop skills specific to advanced roles over time and secure a promotion to roles associated with a computer scientist. 

In summary, the time it takes to gain a good computer science job can vary depending on the level of education, work experience, and skills. A bachelor's degree in computer science can be completed in 4 years, while a master's degree can take 2 to 3 years of study after earning a bachelor's degree. Work experience and skills are also important factors in getting a good computer science job.

All of these highest paying jobs in computer science offer rewarding career paths for those with the right skills and qualifications, whether you're looking for roles in information technology, computer applications or computer engineering.

As technology continues to evolve, the demand for skilled professionals in these fields is expected to grow, making them attractive options for those looking to pursue a career in computer science.

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144 PhD jobs in Computer Science

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Search results (144)

...

PhD Position (m/f/div) – Fully Funded

PhD Position (m/f/div)– Fully FundedProf. Dr. Simone Reber – Professor at the Berliner Hochschule für Technik (BHT) and Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology – is looking to recruit one out­standing PhD stu­dent to work...

...

Doctoral candidate in Computer Science on Institutional Applications of Decentralized Finance

SnT is a leading international research and innovation centre in secure, reliable and trustworthy ICT systems and services. We play an instrumental role in Luxembourg by fueling innovation through research partnerships with industry, boosting R&D ...

PhD Candidate in Automated Testing in Continuous Integration Environments

Phd position in developing machine learned force fields to predict the stability of molecular crystals.

The Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM) contributes multidisciplinary expertise in the fields of Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, Life Sciences and Medicine. Through its dual mission of teaching and research, the...

...

PhD student on computational modelling of “Green Sparks”

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) has a vacancy in the research group on Multiscale Dynamics fora PhD studentfor computational modelling of “Green Sparks”.Job descriptionElectric gas discharges occur in nature, most prominently in air in the fo...

...

PhD Positions in Cancer Research

Are you looking for excellent research opportunities for your PhD studies at the forefront of cancer research? The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg invites international students holding a Master’s degree in (molecular) biology, ...

...

Upcoming fully funded PhD Positions in Neurosciences and Translational Psychiatry research, including a residency/PhD track option for medical doctors

There are no tuition fees for this PhD program.We welcome applications through our online application portal starting on August 15, 2023 for a start in fall 2024. The application deadline will be on October 31, 2023. The International Max Planck R...

...

Upcoming PhD Positions at the International Max Planck Research School for Molecules of Life in Autumn 2023

More information for the new call-out will come up during Autumn 2023. Stay tuned!The International Max Planck Research School for Molecules of Life (IMPRS-ML) will have an open call for fully-funded PhD student positions in the areas of biochemis...

Doctoral researcher (PhD candidate) in Computer Science

The University of Luxembourg is an international research university with a distinctly multilingual and interdisciplinary character. The University was founded in 2003 and counts more than 6,700 students and more than 2,000 employees from around t...

PhD candidate in Semantic and Task-Oriented Communication Design for 6G Cyber-Physical Systems

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) invites applications from highly motivated PhD candidates in the general area of machine learning and radio resource allocation for emerging wireless networks within its Signal...

3 PhD students on the subject of “Machine Learning for Combatting Cybercrime”

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) has vacancies in the Stochastics research group forthree talented PhD students,on the subject of “Machine Learning for Combatting Cybercrime”.Job descriptionOver the past few years, cybercrime has increased dra...

...

PhD position (Junior Scientist) - THz Communication and Sensing Research (f/m/d)

YOUR FUTURE RESPONSIBILITIESYou will be working in a team of international colleagues at the forefront of next generation wireless communication research. The PhD topic focuses on developing and investigating joint communication and sensing tasks ...

PhD Candidate in Automated Software Testing

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PhD position in Matchmaking for Circular Construction

PhD position in Matchmaking for Circular ConstructionThe Chair of Circular Engineering for Architecture (CEA) is seeking a highly motivated and qualified PhD candidate in the field of digital techn...

PhD Position in Digital Identities for Regenerative Materials

PhD Position in Digital Identities for Regenerative MaterialsThe Chair of Circular Engineering for Architecture (CEA) at ETH Zurich is seeking a highly motivated and qualified individual to fill a ...

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PHD THESIS “ADVANCED BATTERY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM COMMUNICATION“

As Austria's largest research and technology organisation for applied research, we are dedicated to make substantial contributions to solving the major challenges of our time, climate change and digitisation. To achieve our goals, we rely on our s...

PhD candidates - Spontaneous Applications for Next Generation Radar Sensing Networks

(Valid from 22/01/2024 to 31/12/2024)   Language: English (UK) Country: Luxembourg   Organisation data: Interdisciplinary Centre of Security, Reliability and Trust Job Number: UOL05451 Contract Type: Fixed Term Contract Duration 36 Month Schedule ...

PHD THESIS “MODEL-BASED THERMAL MANAGEMENT, CONTROL & OPTIMISATION FOR DIE-CASTING MACHINES”

As Austria's largest research and technology organisation for applied research, we have set ourselves the goal of making substantial contributions to solving the major challenges of our time, climate change and digitisation. To achieve our goals, ...

PHD THESIS “QUALITY CONTROL FOR REPETITIVE PRODUCTION SYSTEMS”

...

The Cornell, Maryland, Max Planck Pre-doctoral Research School 2024

Emerging Research Trends in Computer ScienceJuly 29 to August 4, 2024, Saarbrücken, Germany.Outstanding undergraduate and Masters students are invited to learn about cutting-edge research in computer science. Leading researchers will engage with a...

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job opportunities after phd in computer science

Doctorate in Computer Science Overview

portrait of Genevieve Carlton

Genevieve Carlton

Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process .

Updated January 4, 2024

Doctorate in Computer Science Overview

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Doctoral programs offer focused, advanced training in computer science subfields, opening the door to employment in academia and research.

A Ph.D. in computer science provides graduate-level training for leadership roles in tech, business, and academia. Computer scientists with doctorates can also work in software engineering , artificial intelligence, and data analytics.

A doctoral degree in computer science may not be the right path for everyone, but some high-level roles require a doctorate in the field. This guide provides an introduction to the expectations of computer science Ph.D. program, common doctoral concentrations, and the job outlook for individuals with doctorates in computer science.

What Is a Doctorate in Computer Science?

A Ph.D. is the highest degree in computer science . Doctoral students focus their training in particular specialty areas, conduct research with faculty advisors, and defend dissertations. Earning a doctorate in computer science takes 4-5 years. After completing their degrees, graduates commonly work in tech, biomedicine, business, and academia.

Computer science doctoral students strengthen their problem-solving, analytical, and research abilities. The degree requires exceptional computing and technology skills. Related programs with slightly different focus areas include computer engineering and computer information systems .

Who Should Pursue a Computer Science Ph.D.?

Doctoral programs require a significant commitment of time and effort. Most Ph.D. computer science programs take around five years, and some career paths, including academia, offer lower salaries than private sector jobs. Before applying to doctoral degrees, candidates should make sure their professional goals and personal attributes fit their prospective programs.

A Ph.D. in computer science trains graduate students for research-heavy and academic positions. Doctoral graduates can work as computer science professors, computer and information research scientists, and senior computer scientists.

Many tech careers do not require a Ph.D. in computer science. Consider other professional paths like computer engineering , web development , and software engineering .

What Are the Job Opportunities After a Ph.D. in Computer Science?

Computer and information technology jobs report faster-than-average projected job growth rates and significantly above-average median annual wages, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics . In May 2020, tech jobs paid more than double the national median annual wage.

As a result, computer science careers offer a strong job outlook, and an advanced degree in computer science often yields greater responsibilities and higher earning potential. Professionals with Ph.D. degrees in computer science can move into academic, research, and leadership positions.

How Much Does a Ph.D. in Computer Science Make?

Computer science professionals earn a range of salaries depending on their career paths and industries. Doctoral degree-holders commonly work as computer and information research scientists, senior software engineers, computer science managers, chief technology officers, and computer science professors.

Professionals with Ph.D. degrees in computer science can earn median salaries between $85,000-$127,000 per year. The table below introduces common career paths, median salary data, and projected job growth.

Computer and Information Research Scientists

$126,830 Median Salary

15% Job Growth (2019-2029)

Source: BLS

Postsecondary Computer Science Teachers

$85,540 Median Salary

3% Job Growth (2019-2029)

— Is It Worth Getting a Ph.D. in Computer Science?

Computer science professionals with Ph.D. degrees earn high salaries and qualify for academic and research roles that either require or prefer a doctorate. When weighing whether a computer science Ph.D. makes sense, prospective students should consider whether their career goals require a doctorate.

Other factors to consider include opportunity cost, actual cost, and potential outcomes after completing a Ph.D. Is a Ph.D. in computer science worth it? The answer depends on each person's unique circumstances.

Financial Considerations of a Ph.D. in Computer Science

Earning a doctorate often means spending several years out of the workforce. Does it make financial sense for tech professionals to pursue Ph.D. degrees? A doctorate opens doors for high-paying careers as computer scientists, computer science professors, and chief technology officers.

Prospective students can lower the cost of their degree by applying for scholarships and researching fellowship and assistantship opportunities. An online Ph.D. program may offer greater flexibility for professionals who want to continue working while earning their degrees.

Admission Requirements for a Computer Science Ph.D.

Prospective Ph.D. computer science students must meet several admission requirements. At most universities, each candidate needs a minimum of a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. The most competitive programs may recommend a master's degree in computer science .

Each applicant typically submits their GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose. International applicants generally need Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or other English language proficiency exam scores. Because admission requirements vary by university, applicants should carefully review the process at each prospective school.

What Is Required for a Ph.D. in Computer Science?

  • A bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field
  • GRE test scores, though test scores are optional for some programs
  • Letters of recommendation from former professors or supervisors
  • TOEFL scores for international applicants
  • A statement of purpose demonstrating drive and a clear career path
  • The dedication to complete several years of doctoral-level computer science coursework
  • A computer science concentration
  • Passing scores on comprehensive exams
  • The focus to complete dissertation research and write a dissertation
  • Faculty committee approval at the dissertation defens

Which Country Is Best for Pursuing a Ph.D. in Computer Science?

Universities around the world offer Ph.D. in computer science programs. Where should prospective doctoral students earn their degrees? The answer depends on several factors, including location, career goals, and specialization.

Computer scientists interested in working internationally may benefit from earning degrees in the country where they plan to work, while American computer science programs may offer stronger domestic networking and career possibilities.

What to Expect in a Doctoral Program in Computer Science

Computer science Ph.D. programs prepare graduates for advanced roles. During their first year, Ph.D. students often complete required courses that provide in-depth knowledge of advanced computer science theories and applications.

Common graduate-level computer science courses cover computer systems, machine learning, databases, artificial intelligence, and data visualization. Some programs allow students to test out of core course requirements if they demonstrate graduate-level experience.

In addition to coursework, doctoral students must pass comprehensive examinations to demonstrate their mastery of computer science and move into the candidacy phase of their degrees. As doctoral candidates, they conduct dissertation research under faculty advisor supervision. A doctoral candidate completes their Ph.D. after defending their dissertation before a faculty committee.

Some programs also incorporate teaching experience or an internship. Graduate teaching assistants help professors with grading or leading discussion sections. A computer science internship builds real-world skills and helps doctoral candidates expand their professional networks.

How Long Is a Ph.D. in Computer Science?

A graduate student typically spends 4-5 years earning a Ph.D. in computer science. During that time, they complete coursework, pass comprehensive examinations, and conduct dissertation research. At the conclusion of the program, doctoral candidates defend their dissertations.

Most computer science programs operate full time, but many also offer part-time enrollment options. In a part-time program, students take a lower course load and may spend several additional years earning their degrees.

Computer Science Concentrations

During a computer science Ph.D., doctoral students choose concentrations to focus their studies. This specialization shapes their coursework requirements, choice of faculty advisor, and the material covered on comprehensive exams. In addition to the common computer science concentrations listed below, doctoral students can design custom concentrations based on their interests and career goals.

  • Collapse All

Algorithmic Fairness and Data Privacy

Algorithms aggregate data about people's lives. In this concentration, doctoral candidates examine the intersection between algorithms as tools and the role of fairness and data privacy.

Artificial Intelligence

Enrollees in this focus explore deep learning, natural language processing, and machine learning. The concentration may include AI in robotics or data analytics coursework.

Computational Biology and Biomedical Informatics

A computational biology or biomedical informatics concentration uses computer science to improve medical outcomes, analyze biological data, and engineer medical technologies. This track requires a strong background in algorithms and machine learning.

Computer Architecture

Computer architecture explores the intersection between software and hardware systems. Doctoral candidates examine advanced theoretical approaches to computer and network architecture, including memory management and data output.

Computer Graphics, Animation, and Computational Physics

Computer animation relies on advanced knowledge of computational physics to simulate motion and model shapes. This concentration focuses on graphics and animation skills that require advanced computer science techniques.

Programming Languages and Logics

Computer science researchers develop new programming languages. In this concentration, doctoral students examine the structure and logic behind programming languages to improve existing languages or create new ones.

Software Systems

A software systems concentration prepares graduates for advanced positions in software development, including academia and applied roles. This track emphasizes software systems techniques and practical applications of computing systems.

Accreditation for Computer Science Programs

Prospective computer science Ph.D. students should research program and college accreditation when considering computer science degrees. Accredited colleges meet high standards for educating students and granting degrees. An accredited degree fulfills the requirements for professional licenses and certifications.

In addition to college accreditation, the top computer science programs hold accreditation from programmatic accrediting agencies. These agencies evaluate computer science programs on their faculty qualifications, student learning outcomes, and degree requirements. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology grants accreditation to computer science programs.

Interview With an Expert

Portrait of Dr. Siming Liu

Dr. Siming Liu

Dr. Siming Liu is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Missouri State University . He obtained his Ph.D. in artificial intelligence in games at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2015. The focus of Dr. Liu's scientific curiosity is in computational intelligence, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, with applications in computer games and simulations. He is currently working on using reinforcement learning and evolutionary algorithms to build AI players for a variety of games (real-time strategy games, puzzle games, fighting games, racing games, sandbox games, etc).

Where did you get your Ph.D. in computer science?

I received my Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2015.

Why did you choose to study computer science?

When I was in middle school back in the early '90s, I was attracted to computers, where we could create virtual worlds and interact with the characters in these worlds through keyboard and mouse. I then decided to choose computer science as my major in college.

What did you specialize in?

I specialize in artificial intelligence, computational intelligence, machine learning, and optimizations.

What do you do for a career now?

I'm currently an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Missouri State University. I work with graduate and undergraduate students on a variety of research projects in the field of constructing AI players to compete with human players and other AI players on different games and simulations. My long-term career goal is to be a successful researcher and educator at Missouri State.

What advice do you have for someone considering pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science?

For someone interested in a Ph.D. in computer science, I would say a Ph.D. can be extremely rewarding and a lot of fun, but it also means a great deal of dedication and hard work for a long duration. Unless you have a strong passion for the problems you are working on, you will not finish the Ph.D.

If you decide to apply to a Ph.D. program, I would recommend you to look into different universities and different Ph.D. advisors — their current research projects and their recent publications — before applying. Carefully review the Ph.D. advisors whose research topics interest you the most and contact them before you apply in order to introduce yourself and show your enthusiasm for the research.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth getting a ph.d. in computer science.

A Ph.D. program can open new pathways and career advancement for roles in academia, research, and leadership. However, it depends on your career goals.

Professionals with computer science Ph.D. degrees earn above-average salaries. In 2020, computer and information research scientists reported a median salary of over $126,000 .

Each applicant needs a bachelor's or master's degree to gain admission to a Ph.D. program. Doctoral students must take courses, pass comprehensive exams, and defend dissertations.

Portrait of Genevieve Carlton

Genevieve Carlton holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University. After earning her doctorate in early modern European history, Carlton worked as an assistant professor of history at the University of Louisville, where she developed new courses on the history of science, Renaissance Italy, and the witch trials. Carlton has published five peer-reviewed articles in top presses and a monograph with the University of Chicago Press. She also earned tenure with a unanimous vote before relocating to Seattle. Learn more about Carlton's work at genevievecarlton.com .

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5 Highest-Paying Career Options for PhDs 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.

1. Computer Scientist

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.

2. Computer Systems Engineer

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.

3. Computer Science Professor

According to the crowd-sourced salary website Payscale , the average salary to become a computer science professor is $84,769. It depends, however, in which state the graduation would like to teach. Computer science professors place 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.

4. Computer Network Architect

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.

5. Research and Development

According to  ComputerScience.org , 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.

Final Thoughts

For those wondering if 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 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.

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Best Doctorates in Computer Science: Top PhD Programs, Career Paths, and Salaries

Getting a PhD in the field of computer science is the best way to influence the future of technological innovation and research. If you are interested in getting a computer science doctoral degree, then our list of the best PhDs in Computer Science will help you find the program that caters most to your goals.

A PhD in Computer Science can branch out into a wide variety of science and tech fields. Be it information assurance, computational science theory, or cyber operations, you can specialize your computer science PhD to suit your interests. In our guide, we’ve also gone into detail about the average PhD in Computer Science salary and the best computer science jobs PhD students can get.

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What is a phd in computer science.

A PhD in Computer Science is a doctoral degree where graduate students perform research and submit original dissertations covering advanced computing systems topics. Computer science is a broad field that covers artificial intelligence, operating systems, software engineering, and data science.

Your doctoral dissertation will include a research proposal, coursework in advanced topics related to computer science, and a thesis presentation. The wide span of this field allows you to choose a PhD program that can cover topics in any high-performance computing systems area.

How to Get Into a Computer Science PhD Program: Admission Requirements

The admissions requirements to get into a computer science PhD program include submitting your official transcripts from your undergraduate or graduate programs and resume. Your previous university coursework should showcase a strong background in software development, popular programming languages , and scientific computing.

Universities also usually require the submission of your GRE score. A combined score of 1,100 is typically where you want to be when applying to PhD programs. You’ll also usually be required to submit three or more letters of recommendation and a personal essay stating your thesis or research proposal. Keep in mind that each university’s admissions requirements will vary.

PhD in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcript from your undergraduate degree or your graduate degree
  • Prerequisite courses covering computer science academic programs
  • Personal statement highlighting proposal of thesis or research topic

Computer Science PhD Acceptance Rates: How Hard Is It to Get Into a PhD Program in Computer Science?

It is very hard to get into a PhD program in computer science. This is because prospective students need to meet a very competitive GPA, have an excellent academic background, and fulfill other advanced program requirements. Your chances of getting accepted into a computer science doctorate degree program will typically range between 10 to 20 percent.

In fact, less than 10 percent of computer science graduate applicants are accepted at the University of California. Similarly, Duke University reports that only around 15.7 percent of applicants were selected for its 2021 to 2022 computer science PhD program. Your acceptance relies on submitting a compelling thesis proposal statement that displays your passion and high academic competency.

How to Get Into the Best Universities

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Best PhDs in Computer Science: In Brief

Best universities for computer science phds: where to get a phd in computer science.

The best universities for computer science PhDs are Arizona State University, Boston University, Harvard University, Duke University, and Carnegie Mellon University. Each of these universities will help you advance your research and eventually get you a job in artificial intelligence , software development, or computing systems. We’ve also broken down the application process and other details for each program.

According to the US News & World Report, Arizona State University ranks number one on the list of the most innovative schools and number 36 in the best undergraduate engineering programs. It was founded in 1885 and currently offers over 450 graduate programs and employs more than 340 PhD fellows. 

PhD in Computer Science 

Arizona State University offers research opportunities in the fields of artificial intelligence, cyber security, big data, or statistical modeling under the umbrella of this computer science program. In this 84-credit program, you’ll tackle your dissertation, prospectus, and oral and written exams. You’ll also take courses on computational processes, information assurance, and network architecture. 

Your PhD dissertation includes 12 credit hours of experience culmination that can be planned alongside your research and elective credits. This degree is best suited for computer scientists wanting to build a career in machine learning or an academic career. 

PhD in Computer Science Overview

  • Program Length: 4 to 6 years
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Tuition and Fees: $6,007/semester, nine credits or more (in state); $1,663/hour, under 12 credits or $16,328 per semester, 12 credits or more (out of state) 
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Teaching assistantships, research assistantships
  • Three letters of recommendations from former professors or employers 
  • One to two-page statement of purpose that covers previous research experiences and reasoning behind your interest in one to two doctoral programs
  • Optional submission of GRE scores. Preferred scores are 146 verbal, 159 quantitative, and 4.0 analytical writing
  • Official transcripts
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or computer engineering. Applicants with a master’s degree in a relevant field are preferred 
  • Minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA

Founded in 1839, Boston University is a top private research university with a reputable engineering and technology program. It offers over 350 graduate programs and PhDs in topics such as neurobiology, biostatistics, computer engineering, mathematical finance, and systems engineering. 

PhD in Computer Science

If you are interested in advancing in research and academia, then this PhD program is worth looking into. Its curriculum trains you to build a successful professional background in the intelligent control systems, cloud infrastructures, and cryptography fields. Candidates need to clear its qualification, dissertation, and milestone requirements to complete this degree. 

  • Program Length: 5 to 6 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 10%
  • Tuition and Fees: $61,924/year
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Computer Science Fellowship, Teaching Excellence Award, Research Excellence Award, Teaching Fellow Expectations 
  • GRE scores normally mandatory, but are optional for fall 2022
  • A personal statement stating your interest in the program 
  • Resume 

Carnegie Mellon University is a globally recognized university with more than 14,500 students and over 109,900 alumni. The school was founded in the year 1900 and offers over 80 majors and minors. According to the US News & World Report, Carnegie Mellon University ranks number one on the best undergraduate computer science program in the country. 

This on-campus PhD program focuses on computing research, software informatics, and communication technologies. Completing this doctoral degree program will open you up to a wide range of career prospects across the data science, computing technology, and information technology research fields. 

This degree includes 24 units of advanced computing research, 72 units of graduate courses, and the dissertation process of an original research thesis. This PhD is apt for those looking to establish their career in research and academia. During this program, you’ll also serve as a teaching assistant in the computer science department twice as per the degree requirement. 

  • Acceptance Rate: 5% to 10%
  • Tuition and Fees: $75,272/year 
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Internal funding, external funding, dependency allowance, fellowships
  • GRE scores optional but encouraged
  • Most recent transcript of the university attended
  • One to two-page statement of purpose stating your interest in the program, research interests, PhD objective, and relevant experience
  • Three letters of recommendation from previous faculty or employers   

Duke University was established in 1924 and counts among the top universities in the world. It has an undergraduate population of 6,789 and a graduate population of 9,991 students and is most recognized for its computer science, biology, public policy, and economics departments. It offers over 80 doctoral and master’s degrees covering STEM, social sciences, and humanities. 

This computer science PhD is definitely worth it for doctorate students looking to embark on an advanced computer science research path. In it, students tackle a research initiation project, preliminary exam, dissertation process, and core qualification credits. Doctoral candidates are also required to partake in the department’s teaching assistantship program. 

Its curriculum includes core courses in computation theory, artificial intelligence, algorithms, numerical analysis, and computer architecture. Graduates of the program open themselves up to numerous career opportunities across a wide range of computing systems academic and research fields. 

  • Program Length: 3 to 4 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 15.7%
  • Tuition and Fees: $70,185/year for the first three years and $18,165/year each subsequent year
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships
  • Official transcripts from all attended universities 
  • Statement of purpose
  • GRE scores are optional for 2022 but recommended 
  • No minimum GPA requirements but high GPA scores are preferred

Harvard University is a top Ivy League institution that has amassed global recognition and top rankings in many of its departments. Founded in 1636, the university is home to many excellent programs across the fields of law, medicine, economics, and computer science. It has more than 400,000 alumni and a total enrollment of 35,276 students. 

According to the US News & World Report, Harvard University ranked number one among the best global universities in 2022 . Its graduate schools offer doctorate programs in the applied sciences, biology, literature, environmental sciences, business, and healthcare fields. 

Attending a computer science PhD program at Harvard University brings high credibility and accolades to your professional candidacy. This program is offered by the university’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and provides focus opportunities across the engineering science, applied physics, computer science, and applied mathematics areas.  

Similar to most mainstream PhDs, this program requires the completion of 10 semester-long graduate courses, a dissertation topic, oral and written qualifying exams, a teaching assistantship, and a defense process. After graduating, you’ll easily qualify for some of the most prestigious research and career opportunities available.

  • Program Length: 3 or more years
  • Acceptance Rate: 6%
  • Tuition and Fees: $50,928 for the first two years and $13,240 reduced tuition for the third and fourth year
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Teaching fellowships, research assistantships, GSAS fellowships, external funding 
  • Supplemental form for PhD
  • Transcripts from all post-secondary education 
  • Statement of purpose stating your interest in the program  

Oregon State University is a public research university founded in 1868 with over 210,000 alumni. The school is home to more than 28,607 undergraduate and 5,833 graduate students and offers over 300 academic programs as well as a robust research department. Its doctoral programs can be found in the business, agricultural science, education, engineering, or medicine departments. 

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This PhD is offered by the university’s electrical engineering and computer science department and is perfect for doctoral candidates wanting to work in IT research in the governmental or educational sectors. The program offers research opportunities in topics such as data science, cyber security, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, and human-computer interaction. 

The program’s curriculum includes graduate-level courses in theoretical computer science and requires the completion of your research thesis. You’ll also be required to maintain an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 and pass all preliminary and oral exams to receive your PhD. 

  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Tuition and Fees: $557/credit (in state); $1,105/credit (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate teaching assistantship, research assistantship, Outstanding Scholars Program
  • Three letters of recommendation from previous professors or employers familiar with your technical skills 
  • Transcripts and academic history of all attended universities 
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA in the last two years of your undergraduate or graduate work 
  • Statement of objective listing your interest in the program, career goals, research interests, and relevant experience

Syracuse University is a private institution that was established in 1870 and is most popular for its research and professional training academic programs. It has more than 40 research centers focusing on the STEM, social sciences, and humanities fields. The university has over 400 majors, minors, and advanced degrees its students can choose from. 

It had a total enrollment of 14,479 undergraduate students and 6,193 graduate students in the fall of 2020. Prospective students can pick a PhD focus from many of its applied topics, including data science, statistics, human development, and bioengineering. 

PhD in Computer and Information Science and Engineering

A PhD focused in computer and information science and engineering from Syracuse University can help you advance your career in the information technology, software engineering, or information assurance fields. This program is best suited for computing technology research buffs looking to land senior-level positions in the field. 

The program’s curriculum is an amalgamation of graduate coursework, your dissertation and research presentation, and exams. Your coursework will cover technical topics ranging from algorithms and artificial intelligence to operating systems and hardware systems. 

PhD in Computer and Information Science and Engineering Overview

  • Program Length: 4 to 5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 14.28%
  • Tuition and Fees: $32,110/year 
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Research assistantships, departmental teaching assistantships, university fellowships

PhD in Computer and Information Science and Engineering Admission Requirements

  • Minimum GRE scores: Verbal 153, Quantitative 155, and analytical writing 4.5 
  • Bachelor of Science or Master of Science in computer engineering, electrical engineering, or computer and information science
  • Two or more letters of recommendation from previous faculty or employers 
  • Official transcripts of all attended universities 
  • 500-word personal statement concerning your interest in the program

The University of Oklahoma is a public school best known for its business, journalism, and petroleum engineering programs. Founded in 1890, it currently has an undergraduate student population of 21,844 and offers over 170 academic programs and graduate degrees in a wide range of subject areas. 

The school’s doctoral topics are numerous and can be found within its business, architecture, fine arts, education, engineering, journalism, or geographics science departments. The University of Oklahoma is also incredibly well known for its athletic programs, having won many national championships.

The university’s computer science PhD has courses in machine learning, data science, computer security, visual analytics, database management, and neural networking subjects. If you’re interested in a data science, network security, artificial intelligence, or cyber security career, then this PhD is for you.

The program allows you to propose a research topic covering anything in the field of advanced computing systems and theories. During your program, you’ll undergo an annual research progress review along with general examinations until your defense. The program also requires you to submit a minimum of two publications before you complete your degree. 

  • Program Length: 6 years
  • Tuition and Fees: $591.90/credit (in state); $1,219.50/credit (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, research grants
  • Prerequisite coursework covering computer science, data structures, and math subjects 
  • Bachelor’s degree or master’s degree
  • Minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA 
  • 250-word statement of purpose concerning your interest and goals in the program 
  • Three letters of recommendation, with two of them preferably from previous professors

The University of Arizona was founded in 1885 and is a public research institution with over 300 major programs. The school is home to 36,503 undergraduate and 10,429 graduate students and offers PhD programs in over 150 areas of study, including information science, statistics, mechanical engineering, biomedical science, medicine, communication, and economics. 

If you want to become an applications architect or pursue a career in academia focusing on computing or business intelligence technologies, then this PhD is for you. It offers courses in computer networking, system architecture, database systems, machine learning theory, natural processing language, and computer vision. 

The program’s curriculum requires the completion of 12 units of advanced computer science research and 18 units of dissertation presentation and defense. You’ll also need to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.33 to receive your PhD. 

  • Program Length: 5.5 years
  • Acceptance Rate: 17.73%
  • Tuition and Fees: $989.12/unit (in state); $1,918.12/unit (out of state)
  • PhD Funding Opportunities: Graduate assistantships, graduate associate fund, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, graduate college fellowship
  • Official transcripts from all attended universities
  • Minimum of two letters of recommendation by previous faculty or employers 
  • A statement of purpose stating your interest in the school and the program faculty, your career goals, preferred research areas, and research background
  • Resume detailing previous research work, published papers, conference presentations, and computer science background 
  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field 
  • A background in operating systems, programming languages, discrete mathematics, data structures, and theory of computation 
  • Minimum 3.5 undergraduate GPA and 3.7 graduate GPA 

The University of Maryland is a research-focused institution that was founded in 1856. It hosts more than 41,200 students and offers over 217 undergraduate and master’s programs. It also offers 84 doctoral programs and has an extensive research department. According to the US News & World Report, the school ranks number 20 among the top public schools in the country .

This PhD program offers research opportunities in subjects such as robotics, big data, scientific computing, machine learning, geographic information systems, and quantum computing. Doctoral students can participate in a collaborative research journey at any of the school’s research specialized institutions. The program curriculum includes graduate coursework, a research proposal, and a dissertation defense. 

  • Tuition and Fees: $11,586/year (in state); $24,718/year (out of state) 2022-2023
  • PhD Funding Opportunities:  Research assistantships, departmental teaching assistantships, National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, Fulbright Fellowships
  • Transcripts from all attended universities
  • Writing sample and optional publications or presentations 
  • Statement of purpose concerning your interests in the field and program 
  • Three letters of recommendation 

Can You Get a PhD in Computer Science Online?

Yes, you can get a PhD in Computer Science online. An online doctoral degree will be more course-based instead of research-based due to the lack of laboratory facilities. Computer science is a broad field that offers doctoral opportunities across a wide range of tech topics. You can get an online PhD in information science, data science, data analytics, or information systems.

Know that online PhDs are rare across most fields, including computer science. Obtaining a non-research-focused doctoral degree won’t be as respected as a traditional computer science PhD. The online PhD programs listed below are best suited for candidates looking to advance into managerial, theoretical research, and academic positions in the technology sector.

Best Online PhD Programs in Computer Science

How long does it take to get a phd in computer science.

It takes an average of four years to get a PhD in Computer Science. However, the actual duration is entirely dependent on the candidate’s research proposal approval and defense success, and depending on your research pace, it can take up to five or six years to complete. The graduate course portion of your degree is the most straightforward and typically takes around 2.5 years to complete.

Your dissertation topic selection, research journey, publication submissions, and defense presentations will take the most amount of time, usually between three to five years. Some universities also require their PhD students to complete a minimum of two years of graduate teaching assistantship. An online PhD in Computer Science usually only takes three years to finish, as it mostly includes advanced coursework.

Is a PhD in Computer Science Hard?

Yes, a PhD in Computer Science is hard. Computer science is a complex field that incorporates an array of advanced technical topics. Your PhD will require you to submit an original research proposal on an advanced information technology subject such as data science, machine learning, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and network security topics.

Along with advanced research and a dissertation, you’ll also need to complete advanced graduate courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Other requirements often include submitting one or more publications, working in graduate teaching positions, and successfully defending your thesis topic. The combination of all of these academic requirements makes getting a PhD in Computer Science a hard process.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a PhD in Computer Science?

It costs $19,314 per year to get a PhD in Computer Science, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). However, your total PhD tuition can vary depending on a number of factors, including the university’s ranking, the program’s timeline, and the PhD funding opportunities you’ll have available.

The NCES further categorizes the graduate program tuition according to the institution type and reports that the average fee for public institutions was $12,171 from 2018 to 2019. It also states that private for-profit institutions charged an average of $27,776, and non-profit schools charged $14,208 those same years.

How to Pay for a PhD in Computer Science: PhD Funding Options

The PhD funding options that students can use to pay for a PhD in Computer Science include graduate research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowship opportunities. Your funding options will vary from school to school and can include both external and internal funding.

Some of the popular ways to fund your PhDs include research grants, federal work-study programs, teaching or graduate assistantships, tuition waivers, and graduate research fellowships. You can also apply for scholarships or tuition reimbursement options at your current job. Your graduate advisor and computer science faculty can help you find more funding options.

Best Online Master’s Degrees

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What Is the Difference Between a Computer Science Master’s Degree and PhD?

The difference between a computer science master’s degree and a PhD is the level of each degree. A Master’s Degree in Computer Science is a typical precursor to a PhD and covers the technical field less extensively than a doctoral program. It will last around two to three years and can be fully course-based or thesis-based.

A PhD in Computer Science provides you with higher qualifications and more research and dissertation autonomy. It can last anywhere between four to six years and gives you original publication and research credibility. Both of these computer science degrees are considered graduate degrees, but a PhD provides you with a higher educational accolade.

Master’s vs PhD in Computer Science Job Outlook

The job outlook for a professional with a master’s vs PhD in Computer Science will generally coincide as most senior-level careers can be achieved with a master’s degree. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for computer and information research scientists is projected to grow by 22 percent between 2020 and 2030.

This job typically requires a master’s degree meaning PhD holders also qualify and can apply for it. The commonality of these job growth statistics also applies to other tech positions, including information security scientists and network architects. That being said, the specific growth rate of your job will also vary depending on your career choice.

For example, university computer science professor positions, which typically only computer science PhD holders are eligible for, have a projected growth rate of 12 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS. With computer science professionals being high in demand, most PhD in Computer Science jobs have a positive projected growth rate.

Difference in Salary for Computer Science Master’s vs PhD

The difference in salary for computer science master’s vs PhD grads can vary depending on their position and place of employment. According to PayScale, the average salary for a computer science PhD holder is $131,000 per year , which is higher than the average salary of a master’s degree graduate.

According to PayScale, the average salary for a computer science master’s graduate is $105,000 per year . The salary disparity with these degrees stems from the differences in their level of seniority, industry experience, and educational accolades.

Related Computer Science Degrees

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Why You Should Get a PhD in Computer Science

You should get a PhD in Computer Science because it is an advanced and highly reputable degree that will help you land senior technical, academic, and research roles. A PhD is a gateway to a lucrative and innovative technology career, allowing you to follow your research passion across the fields of artificial intelligence, data science, or computing theory.

Reasons for Getting a PhD in Computer Science

  • Extensive and advanced research opportunities. A PhD in Computer Science covers many advanced computing science fields. You can learn specialized skills through your research opportunities and eventually work in advanced data science, artificial intelligence, neural networking, information technology, or computing theory.
  • Higher salary. PhD graduates qualify for career opportunities working in senior positions as scientists, professors, managers, or heads of departments. These senior positions come with high compensation and job security.
  • Rewarding education. A computer science PhD is perfect for those who are interested in contributing toward leading innovation and technology research. As a doctoral student, you can propose and conduct advanced research in the field while contributing to today’s technological growth.
  • Increased job candidacy. Having a computer science PhD on your resume and portfolio will enhance your candidacy when applying to tech positions across all industries. A PhD is a highly reputable degree that demonstrates your expertise in the field and ultimately makes you a highly sought-after candidate.

Getting a PhD in Computer Science: Computer Science PhD Coursework

A person wearing a gray cardigan, a light blue shirt, and glasses working on a black laptop in a room full of electronic and computer equipment. 

The graduate requirements for getting a PhD in Computer Science and most common PhD coursework are different from program to program and are heavily dependent on your specialization, but often have some commonalities. Here are some examples of courses you may take during your PhD.

System Architecture

A systems architecture course in a computer science PhD covers advanced operating systems, communication technologies, network security, and computer architecture. You’ll also take classes covering topics like network systems and software engineering.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a rapidly growing field that is integral to the field of computer science and data science. Your program will cover the latest artificial intelligence technologies and research areas such as deep learning, interactive systems, neural networking, and artificial intelligence infrastructure.

Information Assurance

Network security, information assurance, and cyber security are also part of an extensive education coverage of the computer science field. This course will cover vital knowledge concerning information security, system integrity, data privacy, and system authentication.

Data science courses in a computer science PhD program cover topics such as big data, database management, data analytics, data mining, and machine learning subjects. You will learn about data science processes and methods as well as the tools and technologies used in advanced data engineering.

Theory of Computation

A theory of computation course will teach you advanced algorithms, computation models, Turing machines, quantum computing, and automata theories. You’ll also have lessons that cover the Godel Incompleteness theorem and molecular computing.

Best Master’s Degrees

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How to Get a PhD in Computer Science: Doctoral Program Requirements

If you are wondering how to get a PhD in Computer Science and complete the doctoral program requirements, this section will provide you with the answers you’re looking for. The graduation and academic requirements will vary from one PhD program to another, but there are some common requirements across all computer science departments. Here are some of them.

A computer science PhD is an amalgamation of graduate-level courses and research. All PhDs will require you to complete their graduate course requirements which cover topics like data science, computing systems, artificial intelligence, and information assurance. The required number of courses will vary depending on the program but is typically between 10 and 15. 

Maintaining a minimum required cumulative GPA in your courses is a requirement across all PhD programs. The GPA requirement can range anywhere from 3.0 to 3.5. This is one of the major ways your program department tracks your progress and whether or not you are struggling with the work.

Clearing the qualifying exams with a passing grade while maintaining the required GPA is another PhD graduation requirement. Your preliminary exam is a public presentation discussing your research topics with approval committees and other students. Written exams and oral exams come with each course and are a test of your computer science and tech abilities.  

You are typically required to present your research proposal or research initiation project within the first two years of your PhD. You must get your research idea approved by the approval committee and begin the research process within those two years. 

Once you embark on your computer science research process, you are required to present an annual progress report. This presentation is a review process where the approval committee will ask questions and provide feedback on your progression.  

Your PhD milestones may also include publication requirements. For these, you’ll be required to submit one or two peer-reviewed journal or publication entries covering the computer science topics you are researching. 

Universities also require PhD candidates to complete two years of graduate teaching assistantships or research assistantships. These assistantships are one of the best ways to secure funding for your PhD program. 

Getting your dissertation approved and completing your research and thesis is one of the most important milestones of your PhD. Your assigned research committee, thesis advisor, and approval committee will need to approve your research and dissertation for your to be able to graduate. 

Computer science PhDs will have a timeline breakdown that candidates are expected to meet. You will typically need to complete the graduate coursework within two to three years and complete your dissertation and thesis within six years. You can request a timeline extension with your advisor’s approval.

The thesis for your PhD in Computer Science will cover your chosen research subject area. It will include a thesis proposal submission, thesis presentation, and thesis approval process as well as an extensive written document covering your hypothesis, findings, and conclusions. 

Potential Careers With a Computer Science Degree

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PhD in Computer Science Salary and Job Outlook

The salary and job outlook for a PhD in Computer Science will vary according to your job designation but are generally positive. The average salary for some of the highest-paid jobs will range between $86,712 and $179,351. Below are some of the most lucrative career paths a computer science PhD holder can embark on.

What Can You Do With a PhD in Computer Science?

You can work in a wide range of advanced technical positions with a PhD in Computer Science. This doctoral degree qualifies you for positions as a manager, scientist, college professor, and researcher. You could lead an information assurance department or become a computer science professor, chief data scientist, or artificial intelligence researcher.

Best Jobs with a PhD in Computer Science

  • Computer Research Scientist
  • Computer Science Professor
  • Research and Development Lead
  • Computer Systems Engineer
  • Information Technology Manager

What Is the Average Salary for a PhD in Computer Science?

The average salary for someone with a PhD in Computer Science is $131,000 per year , according to PayScale. Your actual salary will vary depending on your specific position, location, and experience. In fact, with a PhD, you could work as a chief data scientist and make between $136,000 and $272,000 or as a senior software engineer and make $104,000 to $195,000.

Highest-Paying Computer Science Jobs for PhD Grads

Best computer science jobs with a doctorate.

The best computer science jobs with a doctorate degree all earn a high salary and have high projected growth in the next few years. These jobs cover a wide range of computer science disciplines, meaning that you’ll easily be able to find a position doing something you enjoy.

A chief data scientist is in charge of the data analytics and data science departments of an organization. They are responsible for the approval of new database system designs, data strategies, and data management decisions. 

  • Salary with a Computer Science PhD: $179,351
  • Job Outlook: 22% job growth from 2020 to 2030
  • Number of Jobs: 33,000
  • Highest-Paying States: Oregon, Arizona, Texas, Massachusetts, Washington

A chief information officer is an IT executive responsible for managing and overseeing the computer and information technology departments of a company. Also known as CTOs, they are responsible for delegating tasks and approving innovation and technology upgrade ideas proposed by their teams. 

  • Salary with a Computer Science PhD: $168,680
  • Job Outlook: 11% job growth from 2020 to 2030
  • Number of Jobs: 482,000
  • Highest-Paying States: New York, California, New Jersey, Washington, District of Columbia

A senior computer scientist heads the research department of a computer science, artificial intelligence, or computer engineering field. These professionals, along with their research team, are tasked with developing efficient and optimal computer solutions across a wide range of sectors. 

  • Salary with a Computer Science PhD: $153,972

An IT security architect is a cyber and information security professional responsible for developing, maintaining, and upgrading the IT and network security infrastructure of a business or organization. Additionally, they oversee an organization’s data, communication systems, and software systems security aspects. 

  • Salary with a Computer Science PhD: $128,414
  • Job Outlook : 5% job growth from 2020 to 2030
  • Number of Jobs: 165,200
  • Highest-Paying States: New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware, Virginia, Marlyand

A computer science professor is a university professor who educates college students concerning basic and advanced computer science subjects. They are responsible for creating and instructing a course curriculum as well as testing their students. Some computer science professors also work as research faculty at a university. 

  • Salary with a Computer Science PhD: $86,712
  • Job Outlook: 12% job growth from 2020 to 2030
  • Number of Jobs: 1,276,900 
  • Highest-Paying States: California, Oregon, District of Columbia, New York, Massachusetts

Is a PhD in Computer Science Worth It?

Yes, a PhD in Computer Science is worth it for anyone wanting to work in senior professions in the field of technology. This doctoral degree opens its recipients up to numerous career opportunities across academia, research and development, technology management, and chief technical positions.

Getting a computer science PhD equips you with specialized skills and extensive research capabilities. During your studies, you’ll get the opportunity to contribute to the rapidly developing world of technology with your original dissertation and specialize in data science, network security, or computing systems.

Additional Reading About Computer Science

[query_class_embed] https://careerkarma.com/blog/what-is-computer-science/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/is-computer-science-hard/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/computer-science-career-paths/

PhD in Computer Science FAQ

The preferred GPA for a computer science PhD is 3.5 or above. Keep in mind that meeting the minimum requirement doesn’t guarantee acceptance. The higher you can get your GPA during your bachelor’s and master’s, the more likely it is you will be accepted to the PhD program of your choice.

The standardized exam you need to take to get a PhD in Computer Science is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE score requirements will vary from university to university and several schools have currently waived GRE requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic.

You can choose from a wide range of potential research subjects for your computer science PhD, including computer algorithms, data science, artificial intelligence , or cyber security. You can also research business process modeling, robotics, quantum computing, machine learning, or other big data topics.

You can get into a computer science PhD program by impressing the admissions committee and the school’s computer science graduate department with your skills, experience, grades, and desired research topic. Students with a 3.5 or higher GPA, a high GRE score, extensive IT skills, and an impressive research topic have a higher chance of admission.

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Top 7 Career Opportunities in India after PhD in 2024

Top 7 Career Opportunities in India after PhD in 2024

A PhD or Doctor of Philosophy is the highest academic qualification offered to an individual following a course of study. The term PhD originates from the Latin term ‘Philosophiae Doctor’ and represents competition of individual research in a field of interest. The doctoral research degree paves the path for a wide range of opportunities. It is a 3 to 8 years course that helps you become competent at presenting your thesis based on independent research of a topic.

There is a breadth of skills students acquire while pursuing a PhD. It elevates your ability to critically analyse a subject, display intellectual maturity, gain in-depth knowledge of a specific field and publish a valid thesis. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best job opportunities after PhD that are available to students in different industries—academia, government sector, entrepreneurship, consultancy, and so on. If you are looking for PhD admission for 2024, please read further. 

What is the career outlook for PhD holders in 2024?  

Based on my experience and insights, job opportunities after phd in india appear promising in 2024. Their advanced research and analytical skills are in high demand across various sectors. In academia, opportunities abound as they can pursue careers as professors or researchers. The corporate sector offers avenues for success in roles related to research and development, data science, and consulting. Government agencies value their expertise in policy analysis and implementation. Additionally, for those inclined towards entrepreneurship and innovation, there are opportunities to venture into new territories. Overall, the year 2024 presents an encouraging landscape for PhD holders in India, offering diverse career paths and the potential to make meaningful contributions in their respective fields.  

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Top Job Opportunities after PhD

1. academics, a. faculty position.

One of the most commonly opted choices after a PhD is teaching, primarily due to the uncanny similarity between academia and what an individual must do to acquire the degree. The degree practice and teaching involve teaching, researching, and nurturing your acquired knowledge.

If you are interested in landing a faculty position or taking up the teaching path, plenty of institutions are keen on having a PhD holder in their faculty, especially in developing countries.

The PhD holders have a niche of their own in the domain or topic they have spent time researching about. They have made a good number of contributions to the field of study, so they have a firm hold on the subject.

So the PhD holders as faculty seem to be a natural fit, as they can impart the knowledge mentioned in the curriculum and much beyond that. They can open their students’ minds to concepts they would not usually be exposed to and thus help them develop a frame of mind that is inquisitive and has a strong foundation.

Some of the skills that the faculty must possess to impart the education smoothly are an excellent hold of the subject, communication skills, analytical skills, people management, understanding of human behavior, assessment skills, empathy, etc.

The profession of teaching is considered one of the best, high paying and most successful one. The compensation varies according to the subject, institution, experience, etc. On average, after PhD salary in India of a faculty is  12.0 lakhs per annum. The average salary bracket ranges from 1.3 lakhs per annum to 30.0 lakhs per annum (Source).

b. Post Doctorate

You can also choose to stay in the same university for varying periods (from one to four years) and get an extended project based on the one you did earlier. You might also work on publishing your erstwhile researched product.

The significance of a post-doctorate is many. They take on individual or group research projects that are impactful. Their research and findings help society, government education, industries, etc.

A post-doc has the autonomy of their day. Some of the skills that are required from a post-doc are the nature of being inquisitive, research skills, documentation, verbal and written communication, a good hold of the subject matter, people skills, team management, etc.

The salary for a post-doc may vary depending on factors such as the institution, domain, research topic, experience, etc. On average, a postdoctoral researcher procures the compensation of 10.0 lakhs per annum. The salary ranges from 3.0 lakhs per annum to 40.0 lakhs per annum (Source). People have apprehension about “ What comes after PhD ?” Post-doctorate can be considered an option.

c. Adjunct Position

An adjunct position is a non-tenure position in universities; they are professionals who don’t carry the title of a professor but make valuable contributions to the faculty. In some universities, professionals in Adjunct positions work overtime and bear numerous educational responsibilities.

d. Teaching

PhD holders can teach at institutions offering undergraduate courses where they are looking for staff with a PhD who can carry out practical research.

PhD candidates can be assistant professors by teaching undergraduate courses or being a part of committees that help form academic and organisational policies and perform research to achieve tenure.

There exists a myth that PhD courses are designed to PAVE the path for individuals to become professors at the university level. However, the horizons of a PhD degree spread farther than simply academia, so it’s wrong to assume so. 

Here’s looking at the different verticals where PhD holders can chart a rewarding career. 

2. Government Jobs

The government job sector is ideal for patriotic and passionate people who want to serve the country. Since the government is always on the lookout for creative and skilled people, professionals who love researching and put their skills to good use can rely on the government sector. 

PhD holders carry a unique, innovative perspective that allows them to view complex problems, understand them and make practical, diplomatic choices.

There are several opportunities here, starting from the military sector (e.g. military research). If you are interested in politics, you can opt for a policymaker position in state and central government. You can also be a minister if you can work your way up with innovative diplomatic ideas.

First, the PhD holders are eligible to sit in the government exam. They are highly qualified professionals who give a learned and deeper perspective to the government professionals that helps in better decision-making. They can work in various departments of the government, such as policy making, rural development, transportation, scientific research, military, international relations, etc. One can procure various PhD jobs in India in the government sector.

3. Entrepreneur

In today’s world, the entrepreneurship sector is growing exponentially. Since information and technology are accessible to everyone, there’s a growing shift towards startups, self-employment, and innovation. PhDs holders carry the potential to be first-grade innovators/entrepreneurs.

Research shows that PhDs and entrepreneurial journeys are way more similar than they seem, and hence, students who have PhD degrees are very likely to thrive when they get into entrepreneurship.

Apart from various similarities between the entrepreneurs and PhDs, there is one common similarity between these two, and that is innovation and research skills. Both of these professionals identify a problem persisting in society and develop a model that solves it. So naturally, the PhD holders seem as a fit progression to entrepreneurship.

Some of the skills required for a successful entrepreneur are identifying problems, critical thinking, problem-solving, business management, creativity,  team management, self-starter attitude, communication skills, networking, etc.

4. Consultancy

The skillset required to be a consultant includes maintaining large amounts of data. Plenty of companies rely on MBA professionals and PhD holders for consultancy due to the increasing influence of technology in the real world.

Large consultancy firms hire PhD holders from all different fields. The idea is to leverage valuable data and glean helpful insights to empower business decision-making. 

PhD and other advanced degrees help students shine in consultancy since there is a massive requirement for specialised expertise in today’s age. Therefore, if you have a PhD, consultancy is a very prominent job opportunity that can be highly rewarding.

There are various reasons for being a consultant professional as a PhD holder, as they have a high capacity for critical thinking. They are skillful for effectively and scientifically solving problems. The PhD holders can effectively analyse the data and come to conclusions. The companies hire the PhD holders for the level of expertise they bring. Usually, they are hired at the same level as MBA professionals. This may vary depending on the companies, level of skill sets, location, and other factors.

5. Digital Media Company

The job description is to prepare reports providing a comprehensive analysis and context on various topics. It also includes preparing reports on artistic and cultural events. A PhD course equips you to be an individual with excellent writing and research skills. These are extremely handy when pursuing a writing job opportunity at media company.

Unlike a regular digital marketing professional a PhD holder would come up with a much deeper perspective and understanding. They would be having the in depth knowledge of the funcitonings. 

There is an option available to do PhD in digital marketing, these professionals would come up with understanding on the culture, society, ethnicities, human behaviour and many more. There are various options available fo r phd jobs as   there are various firms and companies that employe the professionals.

6. Research Associate

As the word suggests, a research associate job position requires you to gather data to determine whether consumers or companies find a product or service desirable or appealing.

For this job position, the skills you acquire during your PhD study (presentation and research skills) prove to be highly influential; these are the skills that help you excel in research.

Switching from academic research to corporate research, where the information acquired via research is used well, is a choice most professionals make these days since academic research can get monotonous and underwhelming at times.

The research associates are responsible for various tasks such as gathering of data, preparing data, analysing, reporting, research and may more. They identify the problem and then go about their workf to find solutions for the problem.

It is considered as one of the most sought- after jobs one can go for. There are various industries and fields one can go ahead to make a career fro themselves. These researches make a positive contribution to the society in various fields such as history, science, art and culture, society, policy making, etc.

Usually there is no degree after PhD is required to become a research associate a PhD suffices. Moreover, the profession as a research associate is high paying and is a stable career. 

7. Product Manager

The job profile of a product manager includes overseeing every aspect of the development, growth, maintenance, and improvement of a product.

Companies prefer PhD holders over other UG PG holders for positions that require overseeing or handling end-to-end tasks since a PhD equips you to handle multitasking effortlessly.

The role of a product manager doesn’t stop after product formulation and release. It extends to maintenance, improving product performance, devising marketing strategies, and enhancing product efficiency by bringing in new methods that can replace older ways. Online PhD programs offer you offer flexibility to manage your work and other commitments.

 A product manager is required to be aware of the customer’s needs and manage to address the gap by innovating the product. They are responsible for making the product better that helps in taking the business forward. 

In order to all of that, they are required to be equipped with certain skill sets that understands th ehuman behavioru, mindsets of people coming from different geographies and age groups. And according to various factors, inculcate the innovations in such a way that the product feels relatable to the target audience. But most importantly, they should also be having the business acumen that helps them in aking decisions that benefits the business.

The profession as a product manager is considered as high paying and on average the salary goes up to 16.3 lakhs per annum. The average salary ranges from 6.0 lakhs per annum to 35.0 lakhs per annum (Source). This salary bracket may differ due to various factors such as geographical location, skill sets, experience, type of company, etc.

Check out upGrad’s Global Doctor of Business Administration from the ACBSP-accredited Swiss School of Business and Management. The 36-months program caters to 75+ nationalities and provides 12+ specialisations and 70+ faculty industry collaborations to help you succeed. There are 1:1 thesis supervisions to ensure you exploit your potential in your domain of choice. 

The minimum requirement to pursue this degree is a Master’s Degree (or equivalent) or 5+ years of work experience. Don’t wait, sign up and book your seat today!

Is it easier to find a career opportunity with a PhD degree?

Based on my own experience and observations, pursuing a PhD, although demanding in terms of time and effort, can significantly broaden your career horizons. PhD holders are highly esteemed for their specialized knowledge, exceptional research skills, and critical thinking abilities. They find ample opportunities in academia, securing coveted positions as professors and researchers. Moreover, industries such as healthcare, finance, and technology highly value PhDs, often offering them lucrative roles in research and development, data analysis, and leadership.  

However, the ease of finding suitable job opportunities after phd in india can vary based on factors like your field of study and location. In India, PhD graduates can unlock diverse and rewarding career paths with the right set of skills and effective networking. The investment in higher education pays off in the form of fulfilling and promising professional opportunities.

T he landscape of job opportunities after a PhD in India in 2024 appears promising and diverse. The demand for highly skilled and specialized professionals continues to grow across various sectors. Whether you aspire to excel in academia, contribute to cutting-edg e research, or significantly impac t the corporate world, a PhD opens doors to numerou s avenues. The key lies in leveragin g your unique expertis e , networking effectively, and staying attuned to emerging trends in your field. With the right strategy and dedication, you can embark on a fulfilling and rewarding career journey, making your investment in a Ph .D. an asset in the dynamic Indian job market.  

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Communication skills can effectively drive career potential since PhD holders are expected to deliver out-of-the-box thinking, management, and creative ways of solving problems via critical thinking. Developing communication skills is crucial in showcasing and presenting your ideas to technical and non-tech teams convincingly.

PhD holders have the upper hand over Master’s or Bachelors's students across industries due to their high-end skill sets that include critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective decision making. In addition, their unmatched research skills and data management abilities make them an obvious choice for a host of high-profile roles across industries.

The average salary of PhD holders ranges between ₹ 6,00,000 and ₹ 12,00,000 per year, depending on the field of choice, experience, and skillsets. The average base salary for a PhD holder working as a professor is ₹16,73,000 per year, approximately ₹90k per month).

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Ph.D Computer Science Jobs, Scope, Salary in India

Roumik Roy

Updated on - Jan 4, 2023

Jobs for PhD Computer Science graduates of the program will be found in both public and private IT companies with competitive salaries. Jobs on PhD Computer Science course careers include Computer Scientist, Computer Systems Engineer, Computer Science Professor, Computer Network Architect, Research and Development, Senior Developer and Architect, Senior Professor, Educational Head, Senior Research Engineer, R&D Lab Professionals, Start-Up Mentors, Authors, and Senior Research Scientists. Graduates of the PhD Computer Science program can choose from a number of career paths.

Career Prospects and Job Scope for PhD Computer Science Course 

Students enrolled in a PhD Computer Science course get trained to become highly skilled professionals, preparing them for careers in computer networking and database management systems fields. Upon completion of the Doctorate of Philosophy in Computer Science program in India, students have a variety of options based on their interests and abilities. Depending on the education and experience of the graduates, PhD Computer Science course scope and salary vary. 

  • Senior Developer and Architect
  • Senior Professor
  • Educational Head
  • Senior Research Engineer
  • Project Team Leads
  • Technical Manager
  • University Professor
  • Industrial R&D Lab Professionals
  • Start-Up Mentors
  • Senior Research Scientists

Areas of Recruitment for PhD Computer Science Course 

PhD Computer Science jobs are available in the public and private sectors in India. The scope of a PhD Computer Science course and salary depends on the graduates’ education and experience. Students pursuing a PhD Computer Science degree have a wide range of options available to them. The following are some areas in which PhD Computer Science graduates are recruited: 

  • IT Companies
  • Telecommunication Sector
  • Software Development Firms
  • Public Sector Undertakings
  • Research and Development

Salary Packages for PhD Computer Science Course 

According to PaySclae, PhD Computer Science jobs salary in India ranges from INR 10-25 LPA. The PhD Computer Science jobs salary depends on education and experience. The following are the PhD Computer Science jobs average salary in India: 

Source: Glassdoor

Government Jobs for PhD Computer Science Graduates 

PhD Computer Science jobs salary package in India is around INR 1-10 LPA (Source: Glassdoor). There are numerous government agencies and departments providing employment opportunities in the form of government jobs, such as the Department of State, the Department of Central Government, the Department of Research and Development, and other agencies and departments of public interest.

The following is a list of PhD Computer Science jobs with salary information: 

Source: AmbitionBox

Private Jobs for PhD Computer Science Graduates 

The salary for a PhD Computer Science is between INR 50,000-2 LPAin India (Source: PayScale). There is the following PhD Computer Science jobs freshers salary in India: 

Job Opportunities Abroad for PhD Computer Science Graduates 

PhD Computer Science graduates in India have many job opportunities abroad. Most students find that a PhD Computer Science jobs salary is of interest to them since they will learn numerous methods and techniques that can be applied in the computer science field abroad. Graduates of top IT companies are often given the chance to work abroad. Graduating students who work in the private sector will gain skills and experience that will help them advance their careers abroad. Graduates of PhD Computer Science jobs course salary will differ with countries according to their experience and skillsets.

Top Companies 

The following top companies hire PhD Computer Science graduates: 

  • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
  • Tata Consultation Services

Best Countries 

The following are some of the best countries that hire PhD Computer Science graduates: 

  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands

Various Career Designations Abroad for PhD Computer Science Graduates 

The following are some of the top career designations abroad for PhD Computer Science graduates: 

  • Associate Editor
  • Editorial Reviewer
  • Associate Consultant
  • Research Intern
  • Senior Engineer
  • Senior Manager
  • Digital Developer
  • Computer Vision Algorithm Researcher
  • Technical Account Manager
  • Business Development Manager
  • Staff Engineer
  • Senior Data Scientist
  • Data Historian Consultant
  • Senior Research Principal
  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Deputy Director
  • Senior Software Developer

Best PhD Computer Science Graduates 

PhD Computer Science graduates have a wide range of career options. The PhD Computer Science course is very valuable to students interested in careers in the computer scientists field. The number of students taking doctorate PhD Computer Science courses has increased in the last few years, while the number of students taking computer science-related courses has decreased. In India, PhD Computer Science graduates usually pursue careers in IT companies and research. Following is a list of some of the best graduates of PhD Computer Science curriculum: 

  • Leonard M.Adleman
  • Frances E.Allen
  • Timothy J.Berners-Lee
  • Manuel Blum
  • Kathleen Booth
  • Frederick P. Brooks, Jr
  • Vinton G. Cerf
  • Edmund M. Clarke, Jr
  • Stephen A. Cook
  • Fernando J. Corbato

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In memoriam: Regents Professor Ned Mohan

With deep sorrow, we announce the passing of Regents Professor Ned Mohan on  Feb 11, 2024 . The department, University, and the world has lost a giant in his field of power electronics and power systems, a brilliant researcher, a generous educator, and an individual who deeply cared for the welfare of his fellow human beings.

Born in India, Mohan earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1967 from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. He then earned his master’s degree in 1969 at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. Keen on pursuing a doctoral degree, he worked under the guidance of Professor  Harold A. Peterson, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his doctoral degree in electrical power systems in 1973, and along the way his interests led him to acquire a master’s degree in nuclear engineering in 1972 (also from UW- Madison). He joined the University of Minnesota in 1976. 

Brilliant researcher

As a faculty member who specialized in electric energy systems and power electronics, Mohan’s work was an embodiment of the University’s key missions: research and education. He carried out these entwined missions with his eyes set on the future, while being keenly aware of the simultaneous needs for access, equality, and social justice. Even as a child, growing up in a small town in central India, he came to the conclusion that access to electricity is a basic human right. With more than a billion people lacking access to electricity or reliable power supply, as a specialist in the field, he dauntlessly fought for access, and improvement of materials and equipment for carbon-free generation.

Mohan’s research interests spanned across power electronics and power systems. He will be best remembered for his contributions to the modeling, analysis, and control of power-electronic interfaces for applications in power systems, renewable energy, drives, and energy storage. His recent work in these areas were in modular multi-level and matrix converter topologies. 

As a researcher and educator, he adopted a holistic approach to electrical systems. His keen awareness of the interwoven nature of energy generation, power, control, and access to electricity, informed much of his pioneering inventions: current-shaping circuit in 1978 for supplying power from photovoltaic systems, a precursor to the current-shaping circuits in our current day laptops; active filters to supply ripple-free electricity (patented by the University in 1979) followed up by researchers around the world and commercialized; Minnesota Rectifier for charging fleets of electric vehicles (patented by the University in 1994); ultra-compact DC-DC converter for aircraft, funded by NASA (patented by the University in 2003). 

Raising funds to support their research is a critical activity for faculty in research institutions, and Mohan was particularly skillful at it. The University of Minnesota Center for Electrical Energy (UMCEE) started in 1981 by Mohan with his mentor, the late Professor Vernon Albertson is one of the longest lasting centers here, comprising six regional utilities including Xcel Energy funding and guiding his research in relevant directions. Hardware labs he developed with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) have been commercialized by Vishay HiRel Systems at their plant in Duluth, Minnesota. The labs have been acquired by 109 universities in the United States and many more abroad. For several years Mohan was also a member of the organizing committee of Minnesota Power Systems Conference (MIPSYCON) a prominent regional conference that focuses on the challenges faced by electric utilities in the Midwest. More recently, his research was largely funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) as it considered his work vital to national security.

Dedicated educator

Mohan was not driven by research alone. He was dedicated to equality, access, and diversity in education, and the success of his students. To that end, he was a tireless educator. He organized a series of workshops on power engineering education that were funded by the NSF and the ONR. Several of these were co-sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), EPRI, and AEP. These workshops were particularly appreciated by faculty members just starting their research and teaching careers. More recently, concerned by the shrinking skilled workforce in electric power engineering, he was working on the critical task of building a robust talent pool. Sponsored by NSF and co-sponsored by the NAE, he led a workshop titled “Building a Robust Workforce in Electric Power Engineering,” in April 2023; it was a step towards meeting the challenge. It was organized in partnership with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA).

As a testament to his success as a teacher, of the 54 doctoral students he graduated many are pursuing academic careers in prestigious institutions in the United States and abroad, while others are working in leading companies such as Apple, Tesla, General Motors and others around the world. Having mentored almost 200 graduate students, Mohan’s impact is on a global scale. He believed in sharing his knowledge and besides giving guest lectures and keynote addresses at conferences and symposia, he was instrumental in the development of 19 graduate level video courses, prepared by experts in the field to function as resources to students and practicing engineers. Through an ONR grant, these courses are disseminated via CUSP (Consortium of Universities for Sustainable Power), an organization created by Mohan comprising 450 faculty from 235 universities in the United States. The lectures are accessible to students across the world; Mohan was keen that these materials be available to students who might otherwise not have access to such advanced education. He wrote six widely used textbooks that have been translated into nine languages and implemented as standard texts in universities across the country. Reflective of his commitment to education, Mohan was instrumental in growing and modernizing the University’s power program.

His teaching philosophy was based on mutual respect. Treating each of his students as his legacy, he worked tirelessly to ensure they had a deep understanding of the subject matter to be successful in their career. In “Climate Change: Implementing Solutions,” a course Mohan developed and taught, he had a unique set of challenges. As an introductory course with no prerequisites, it is open to students of all stripes, from freshmen to seniors, from those pursuing performing arts majors to those in STEM majors. He designed the course and prepared for it in ways that ensured that all students who took the course would be successful. His students and those who have worked with him as his advisees or mentees can attest to the close attention he gave everyone, making sure they were included in all discussions and well prepared for future challenges. An innovator in the classroom, he was one of the first faculty in the College of Science and Engineering who embraced the flipped instructional methodology. In recognition of his deep and unwavering commitment to education and the success of his students, the University conferred Mohan with both teaching awards: the Morse-Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2007, and the Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, Professional Education Award in 2014. These are the highest teaching awards the University offers. 

Pursuit of diversity and inclusivity

Outside academic topics, Mohan doggedly pursued diversity and inclusivity, mentoring underrepresented students through an NSF-REU program. He frequently reached out to prospective students and engaged with them on the topic of climate change, and the exchanges showed him that these conversations resonated the most with those who will suffer the consequences of climate change the most: students from minority and low-income communities. This further encouraged him to continue his work of equipping them with the right tools and knowledge to combat and navigate the challenges that loom on the horizon. 

Mohan was a keen believer in humility and respect as answers to ideological extremism. As one who practiced these principles, and as a board member of the Collegeville Institute’s Multi-Religious Fellows Program, he was deeply committed to helping young individuals explore ways to get along while preserving their own diverse faiths. He carried on this work through the University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute as well as the Institute for Global Studies. He also developed a popular free resource on Hinduism for teachers teaching a year-long course on world history and cultures at many Minnesota high schools. 

Recognizing his wide and deep impact on electrical and computer engineering, and engineering education, he was honored by the University of Minnesota and several prestigious flagship groups. The highlights include: in 1993, he was made the Oscar A. Schott Professor of Power Electronics and Systems; in 1996, Mohan was elevated to Fellow of IEEE; in 2010 he received the Utility Wind Integration Group’s Achievement Award (currently known as the Energy Systems Integration Group); in 2012, he received the IEEE PES Ramakumar Renewable Energy Excellence Award; in 2014 he was honored with the IEEE PES Nari Hingorani FACTS Award. The National Academy of Engineering elected Mohan as a member “for contributions to the integration of electronics into power systems and innovations in power engineering education” in 2014. In 2019 he received the inaugural IEEE Industrial Applications Society Educator/Mentor award for “outstanding contributions to education and mentorship of students and young engineers within the fields of interest of the IEEE Industry Applications Society,” and in the same year, the University honored him with the Regents Professorship. It is the highest honor the University bestows on its faculty and is in recognition of the recipient’s “exceptional contributions to the University through teaching, research, scholarship, or creative work, and contributions to the public good.” In 2022 Mohan was recognized with the IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education medal for “leadership in power engineering education by developing courses, textbooks, labs, and a faculty network.” 

All those who knew Mohan and interacted with him for any length of time always came away with a keen sense of his kindness and generosity, the wit and joy he exuded, and his warmth as a human being. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is grateful for having enjoyed his company these many years and will deeply miss him. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife Mary, and children Michael and Tara. May he rest. 

Regents Professor Ned Mohan in his office

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