How to become a computer scientist

Students working on campus at Cardiff University

Computer scientists help shape the technology of tomorrow. Impacting all parts of life, from aerospace to game design, a computer scientist’s role takes on many different forms. They take a modern problem and design complex, efficient systems to help solve it. 

Should I become a computer scientist? 

If you have a passion for all things computing, from web design to coding, computer science could be the career for you. As a computer scientist, every day will present you with new, unique problems for you to tackle. It is a field with limitless opportunities. Every business and every industry utilises technology. Behind every system is a computer scientist, and that computer scientist could be you. 

As a computer scientist, there is no limit to where you can work or what you can do. Let your interests and passion guide you, whether that is software development, web design or working within the public sector. As technology becomes an increasingly important part of our lives, the need for creative developers across all disciplines rises. For those seeking more freedom, you can also start your own business and work freelance. 

How can I become a computer scientist in the UK? 

In order to become a successful computer scientist, you will need to meet certain requirements. These are: 


From school leavers to existing graduates, there are many paths into computer science. Some employers will recruit graduates from any degree subject. More complex and technical roles will require a computer science degree from a university.  

By undertaking postgraduate study, you can specialise in a field of your choice and earn a higher starting salary. Many postgraduates go on to complete a Ph.D. and conduct a research project of their own. 

Not sure how to start your new career journey in the UK?  

At the International Study Centre, we offer a range of pathway programmes to prepare you for your degree at Cardiff University. Based in the cultural heart of Wales, Cardiff is a world-leading university that welcomes students from around the globe. 


The skill set of a computer scientist is varied and diverse, which reflects the many different opportunities your career will open up to you.  

The ideal computer scientist will be: 

Analytical: You must be organised in your thinking and carefully analyse results to identify errors and come to accurate conclusions.

Communicative: You will often have to explain and present your work to colleagues who may not have a technical background. Other people will work on your code and projects, so being able to explain your methods is critical.

Creative: Not every solution is binary. A creative computer scientist sees more than one way to solve a problem.

Critical and logical: You will work to find the best solution possible, based on the evidence you have gathered through research and testing.

A keen mathematician: Advanced knowledge of maths and other technical topics is essential, as you will be writing complex code on a regular basis.

Other qualifications and experience 

Do not underestimate your personal portfolio. What you create in your spare time is pivotal in proving to potential employers that you can work independently, giving them insight into the sort of projects you are passionate about. Collaborating on projects online is also a great way to gain exposure and show the world what you are capable of.

How long does it take to become a computer scientist in the UK?

To become a computer scientist, expect your studies to take 3-4 years, depending on the university and course you choose. You will use this time to prepare for your new career, as well as develop your own professional network via work placements.  

After you have obtained your bachelor’s degree, you can then complete a postgraduate programme, allowing you to enhance your skill set, widen your career options and obtain more senior roles within the industry. 

What does a computer scientist career look like in the UK? 

Computer scientists are in extremely high demand. Whatever your specialty, completing a computer science course will open many doors and opportunities. Starting salaries for computer scientists start from £25,000 but can go up as high as £70,000 as you progress further in your career.  

Study computer science abroad in the UK

Studying at Cardiff is an innovative experience like no other. Students who choose  Cardiff go on to work for many large corporations, from Amazon, BBC and Morgan Stanley, to government organisations such as GCHQ. Whether you become a Software Engineer or Systems Development Officer, Cardiff will give you the tools and skills needed to succeed in your career from day one. 

Take your first steps to success and join our global community at Cardiff University International Study Centre. We help you prepare for studying and living in the UK.  

With our International Foundation Year in Engineering, Physical Sciences and Architecture, you will gain the language, study skills and academic knowledge required to progress to an undergraduate computer science degree at Cardiff University. 

Studying at Cardiff University International Study Centre will ensure you are ready to embark on an exciting career in computer science.