Potential Careers

Choosing an SFU computing science degree allows you to explore your passion for technology while preparing for an exciting career path.

Research shows that two years after graduation, SFU computing science graduates earn 25 per cent more/year than the average B.C. university graduate. But choosing your career is not just about how much you will earn. It involves understanding the kinds of problems you want to solve, where your strengths lie and the types of work environments that suit your needs.

All SFU computing science graduates develop a set of core skills:

  • Computer programming
  • Mathematics and algorithms
  • Database design
  • Software engineering
  • Teamwork

In addition, senior-level SFU courses help you gain skills that apply to certain career paths. Below are some industry careers and the SFU courses that can help prepare you for these pathways.

Software Engineer and Developers

Software engineers and developers research, design, integrate, evaluate and maintain software applications, technical environments, operating systems, embedded software, information warehouses and telecommunications software. Small companies require software engineers to have a broad skill-base and be proficient in many computer languages. Software engineers must understand the environment in which the software will be used. They must keep in close communication with the end-users as the software product evolves and through its testing phases.

See more at Work BC.

SFU courses:

Did you know: Software engineering and development roles are among the most common. You can become a software engineer by going through any of our computing science programs or by studying the Computer Engineering option in the School of Engineering Science. Come for a tour and talk to an advisor to see which one is the best fit for your interest.

Interactive Media Developers

Interactive media developers write, integrate and test computer code (the detailed and logical instructions that computers follow in order to function). Their duties may include: programming animation software to predefined specifications for interactive CDs, DVDs, video game cartridges and internet-based applications; programming special effects software for film and video applications; writing, modifying, integrating and testing software code for e-commerce and other internet applications; collecting and documenting user requirements.

See more at Work BC.

SFU courses:

Consider: A double major in Software Systems and Interactive Arts and Technology.

Web Designers and Developers

Web designers and developers produce web design concepts and create Internet and intranet sites. Some job responsibilities may include consulting with clients to develop and document website requirements; preparing mock-ups and storyboards; developing website architecture and determining hardware and software requirements; creating and optimizing content using a variety of graphics, database, animation and other software; designing the appearance, layout and flow of the website; writing, modifying and testing website-related code; conducting tests and performing security and quality controls.

SFU courses:

Did you know: There are several levels of web development – everything from creating basic websites all the way up to programming new web applications. SFU Computing Science graduates have the technical background to work at the most sophisticated levels of web development.

Game Developers

Game developers are software developers specializing in video games. Responsibilities may include programming, designing, art development and testing. Game developers should have a strong understanding of software development life cycles, user interfaces and an aptitude for problem solving.

SFU courses:

Consider: A Software Systems major with a minor in Interactive Arts and Technology.

Fact: SFU's Surrey campus has one of the only academic video game libraries in Canada.

Senior quality assurance (QA) analysts

Quality assurance is one of the most important aspects of the software industry. Senior QA analysts provide a broad range of test services and solutions, ensuring established standards are met and planned objectives are achieved. They work collaboratively with various units within an organization to leverage time and knowledge of subject matter experts to ensure that risks associated with technology initiatives are managed appropriately and effectively.

SFU courses:

Cyber security analysts

Cyber security analysts work with businesses and organizations to enhance security of IT systems. Some responsibilities include developing an advanced understanding of business processes, internal control risks and IT controls; identifying risks, internal controls which mitigate risks, and opportunities for improvement; using technology-based tools to review, design and/or implement products and services; and conducting research to maintain and expand knowledge on the latest security technologies and standards.

SFU courses:

Best Path:Cyber security is as much about mathematics as it is about computing science. Consider taking the joint major in math and computing.

Geographic information systems developer

Geographic information systems (GIS) are computerized systems that collect, store, analyze and present complex geographical data. GIS systems are used by most sectors of government and commerce and a GIS developer may work for a wide range of employers. Roles can vary but all GIS developers are involved in producing maps and analyzing data. These are used to help plan, protect and deliver services or products in areas such as defense, construction, oil, gas, water, telecoms, electricity, the environment, healthcare, transport planning and operation, retail location planning and logistics, insurance and finance.

SFU courses:

Did you know:The SFU co-op office receives far more requests for GIS students each year than there are students in the program.

Best Path:Major in Geographic Information Systems.

Big data scientist

How does Google know what ads are more likely to make you click? By analyzing big data. Where a traditional data analyst may look only at data from a single source – a customer relationship management (CRM) system, for example – a big data scientist will explore and examine data from multiple disparate sources. The data scientist will sift through all incoming data with the goal of discovering a previously hidden insight, which in turn can provide a competitive advantage or address a pressing business problem.

SFU courses:

Did you know:Big data requires very advanced math skills. A typical career will start with a junior role in big data, or perhaps on a co-op semester. After a couple of years, consider building your skills for senior roles by joining our Professional Master’s Program in Big Data at SFU.

IT project manager

IT project managers oversee the planning, implementation, and tracking of a specific short-term project, which has a beginning, an end and specified deliverables. The IT project manager is typically involved in all phases of the project from obtaining requirements to rollout and post roll-out reviews, while maintaining budget, communications and objectives of the overall project.

SFU courses:

Consider Taking:A double major in business with our entrepreneurship and innovation concentration.

Outside of your program:Project management is often an area that people go into after some time in industry. SFU Continuing Studies offers a certification as a Project Management Professional to help you get there.


Want to use computers to help unlock the cure for cancer or HIV? Those are some of the things bioinformaticians are working on. Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data. It combines computer science, statistics, mathematics, and engineering to study and process biological data.

SFU courses:

Best path:Joint degree in molecular biology and computing.

Go deeper:Bioinformatics research uses very advanced computing, math and molecular biology. While some students work directly after their undergrad, most of the senior jobs in the field require continuing into a master’s degree or doctorate.

Technology Entrepreneur (starting your own company)

If you have a vision for the next innovation in technology, and have a strong desire to bring an idea to market, consider a pathway to entrepreneurship.

SFU courses:

Consider taking:Joint major in computing and business, or entrepreneurship and innovation courses

Outside your program:SFU Venture Connection