Computing Careers -Data Scientist Cyber Security Specialist Shader Writer and UX Designer

If you like working at a computer, you might really like the sound of one of these computing careers, some more unusual than others.

There are some important jobs that the UK doesn’t have enough people for. These include lots of computing roles. We take a look at four here, data scientist, cyber-security specialist, shader writer and UX designer.

What does a data scientist do?

Data scientists takes large amounts of raw data and analyse it. They put the data in context, allow insights or conclusions to be drawn and identify trends for business purposes – big data is big business and this means more data scientists!

How do you become a data scientist?

Chances are – you are going to need a degree in statistics, maths or some other numerical subject / computer science for this career. Some employers may even ask for a post-graduate degree as well. You will also need to have an excellent understanding and working knowledge of databases and programming languages as well as the ability to present your findings to others in a way that they can understand.

The skills you need to succeed as a data scientist include:

  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Attention to detail

Average salary for a data scientist

Data scientists fall into the category of IT business analysts, architects and systems designers and the average UK annual pay is £48,360 although you can expect to earn significantly less when you first start out.

What does a cyber-security specialist do?

Cyber-security specialists defend IT infrastructures and networks from attack. They do this by recognizing and assessing possible security breaches and putting measures in place to protect against these, including technological solutions and training staff / raising awareness of potential cyber threats and how to avoid them.

How do you become a cyber-security specialist?

It is possible to develop a career in cyber-security from an entry-level role in IT. If you are good at what you do and committed to developing your skills further, then you could progress into this role. There are apprenticeships in cyber-security now or you could choose to study for a degree in computer science or specifically cyber-security and begin your employment further up the career ladder.

The skills that you need for a career as a cyber-security specialist include:

  • Great IT skills obviously
  • Analytical skills / a logical approach
  • Problem solving skills
  • The ability to work under pressure and to a deadline
  • Cyber-security specialist salaries

The average starting salary for a cyber-security specialist is around £25,000 and rises to between £45,000 and £80,000 with experience.

What does a UI/UX designer do?

Products like websites, software applications and mobile apps serve a purpose and you want people to enjoy using them and to keep coming back. This means making sure that they are usable, appealing and engaging.

UI stands for user interface and UX stands for user experience. UI/UX designers use their artistic and technical skills to create the best user experience. The job is part designer part developer.

How do you become a UI/UX designer?

It may not be necessary to have a degree, but it will help and this is one of those roles where the study of psychology can be helpful as a lot of what a UI/UX designer does is about human behavior. Useful subjects would be computer science, digital media and graphic design.

The skills that you need for a career as a UI/UX designer include:

  • Teamwork
  • Wire framing
  • Specific computing skills, such as HTML
  • Graphic design
  • Problem solving skills

Average starting salaries are around £20,000. If you work freelance, daily rates are normally between £250 and £600 depending on experience and skills.

What does a shader writer do?

Controlling colour, lighting and shading is an important way of making a 3d object look realistic. Shading alters the colours of faces in a 3D model based on things like angle, proximity of the surface to the light and the light source (window, floodlight, spotlight for example).

A shader is a program that tells the computer how to render each pixel. Working in animation and games design, shader writers are people who design, create and modify shaders for use in 3D renders using shading languages like Renderman, Houdini VEX or Playstation Shader Language.

How do you become a shader writer?

You obviously need a great understanding of shaders. Studying animation could include specific relevant modules. Other useful subjects include computer science. There are also Level 3 vocational study options that include learning 3D graphics software Maya.

The skills that you need for a career as a shader writer include:

  • Decent maths skills
  • Excellent computer skills
  • Animation software skills
  • Ability to learn programming (shader) languages

Salary will depend on the size of the company you work for as well as your qualifications and experience.