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Career and Education Opportunities for Computer Scientists in Birmingham, Alabama

Computer scientists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Birmingham, Alabama area. The national trend for computer scientists sees this job pool growing by about 24.2% over the next eight years. Computer scientists generally conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors.

The income of a computer scientist is about $46 per hour or $97,750 per year on average in Alabama. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $47 hourly or $97,970 per year on average. Computer scientists earn more than people working in the category of Computer generally in Alabama and more than people in the Computer category nationally. Jobs in this field include: computer engineer, nanotechnologist, and scientific programmer analyst.

There are fifteen schools of higher education in the Birmingham area, including seven within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree to start your career as a computer scientist. Computer scientists usually hold a Master's degree, so you can expect to spend about six years training to become a computer scientist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Computer Scientist

Computer Scientist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, computer scientists conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. They also solve or develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.

Computer scientists assign or schedule tasks so as to meet work priorities and goals. They also analyze problems to design solutions involving computer hardware and software. Equally important, computer scientists have to meet with managers and others to solicit cooperation and resolve problems. Finally, computer scientists evaluate project plans and proposals to gauge feasibility issues.

Every day, computer scientists are expected to be able to think through problems and come up with general rules. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for computer scientists to apply theoretical expertise and innovation to generate or apply new technology. They are often called upon to design performance standards, and evaluate activities in light of established standards. They also design and interpret organizational goals and procedures. They are sometimes expected to participate in staffing decisions and direct training of subordinates. Somewhat less frequently, computer scientists are also expected to confer with users and technicians to establish computing needs and system requirements.

Computer scientists sometimes are asked to layout computers and the software that runs them. They also have to be able to maintain network hardware and software, direct network security measures, and monitor networks to insure availability to system users and evaluate project plans and proposals to gauge feasibility issues. And finally, they sometimes have to approve and adjust operational budgets.

Like many other jobs, computer scientists must want to innovate to meet new challenges and be persistant in the face of problems and impediments.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Applications Programmer. Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs. Analyze user needs and develop software solutions. Design software or customize software for client use with the aim of optimizing operational efficiency. May analyze and design databases within an application area, working individually or coordinating database development as part of a team.
  • Computer Programmer. Convert project specifications and statements of problems and procedures to detailed logical flow charts for coding into computer language. Develop and write computer programs to store, locate, and retrieve specific documents, data, and information. May program web sites.
  • Computer Security Specialist. Plan, coordinate, and implement security measures for information systems to regulate access to computer data files and prevent unauthorized modification, destruction, or disclosure of information.
  • Computer Systems Analyst. Analyze science, engineering, and all other data processing problems for application to electronic data processing systems. Analyze user requirements, procedures, and problems to automate or improve existing systems and review computer system capabilities, workflow, and scheduling limitations. May analyze or recommend commercially available software. May supervise computer programmers.
  • Computer Systems Engineer. Research, design, and test operating systems-level software, compilers, and network distribution software for medical, industrial, and general computing applications. Set operational specifications and formulate and analyze software requirements. Apply principles and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis.
  • Network Operations Analyst. Determine user requirements and design specifications for computer networks. Plan and implement network upgrades.
  • Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst. Analyze, design, and evaluate network systems, such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), Internet, intranet, and other data communications systems. Perform network modeling, analysis, and planning. Research and recommend network and data communications hardware and software. Includes telecommunications specialists who deal with the interfacing of computer and communications equipment. May supervise computer programmers.
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator. Install, configure, and support an organization's local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet system or a segment of a network system. Maintain network hardware and software. Monitor network to ensure network availability to all system users and perform necessary maintenance to support network availability. May supervise other network support and client server specialists and plan, coordinate, and implement network security measures.
  • Software Engineer. Design and develop solutions to complex applications problems, system administration issues, or network concerns. Perform systems management and integration functions.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Computer Scientist Training

Jefferson State Community College - Birmingham, AL

Jefferson State Community College, 2601 Carson Rd, Birmingham, AL 35215-3098. Jefferson State Community College is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,718 students. Jefferson State Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Computer and Information Sciences which graduated twenty-five and twenty-eight students respectively in 2008.

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus - Birmingham, AL

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus, 3060 Wilson Rd SW, Birmingham, AL 35221-1717. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,507 students. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Computer and Information Sciences which graduated zero, two, and ten students respectively in 2008.

Birmingham Southern College - Birmingham, AL

Birmingham Southern College, 900 Arkadelphia Road, Birmingham, AL 35254. Birmingham Southern College is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,458 students and an admission rate of 69%. Birmingham Southern College has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Science which graduated four students in 2008.

Herzing College - Birmingham, AL

Herzing College, 280 West Valley Ave, Birmingham, AL 35209. Herzing College is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 314 students and an admission rate of 82%. Herzing College has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Computer and Information Sciences which graduated six and zero students respectively in 2008.

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Computer and Information Sciences which graduated two, nineteen, and six students respectively in 2008.

Samford University - Birmingham, AL

Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229-2240. Samford University is a small university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,469 students and an admission rate of 89%. Samford University has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Science which graduated four students in 2008.

Bevill State Community College - Sumiton, AL

Bevill State Community College, 101 State St, Sumiton, AL 35148. Bevill State Community College is a small college located in Sumiton, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,860 students. Bevill State Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Computer and Information Sciences which graduated three, zero, and four students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Planning and Scheduling Professional: The PSP certification is to recognize specialists who meet a demanding set of planning and scheduling criteria by a rigorous examination, experience, education and ethical qualificaion.

For more information, see the AACE International (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering through total cost management) website.

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Professional - Technologist: ASME GDTP Certification provides the means to recognize proficiency in the understanding and application of the geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) principles expressed in the ASME Y14.

For more information, see the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International website.

CIW Associate: Certified CIW Associates possess the basic hands-on skills and knowledge that Internet professionals are expected to understand and use.

For more information, see the Certified Internet Web Professionals website.

CIW Security Analyst: Security Analysts protect an organization's assets and operations.

For more information, see the Certified Internet Web Professionals website.

Internet and Computing Core Certification: IC is the ideal starting point for anyone interested in learning computer and Internet basics.

For more information, see the Certiport, Inc website.

Stay Sharp Program - Defeating Rogue Access Points: Security professionals who are concerned about the weaknesses of wireless networks.

For more information, see the Global Information Assurance Certification website.

Certified Web Professional - Enterprise Developer: A CWP Enterprise Developer builds n-tier database and legacy connectivity solutions for Web applications, using Java, Java application programming interfaces (APIs), Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) solutions, middleware tools, and distributed object models.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: For individuals who wish to distinguish themselves as an expert in Windows development, Web application development, or enterprise applications development.

For more information, see the Microsoft Corporation website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.