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Computer Science Degrees: Still Appealing to Students

Today, computers are part of almost everything we do — whether it’s related to work, business, entertainment, communication, or education. Indeed, computing technology is considered by many as one of the defining innovations in the last half-century. However swift the development of computers has been, no one knows for sure how it may continue to evolve and impact not only our lives but those of our children and future descendants.

It is this unpredictability that makes the study and application of computing technology (or computer science) as a chosen career. In the early 2000s, the number of enrollees in computer and information technology degrees reached record levels. It has since steadied in the last few years but still attracts many students. In 2010 alone, 39,589 bachelor’s degrees and 17,953 master’s degrees in computer science (and related fields) were conferred, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Due to the wide application of computer-related skills, computer science or information technology majors can easily find employment after graduation in various industries. Computer programmers may work for software publishers, research and development (R&D) firms, and videogame companies. IT systems managers may be employed by banks and financial institutions, corporations, government agencies, and other large organizations with significant IT infrastructure or equipment. Computer repair technicians will always be in demand whenever end users and companies need technical support or servicing for their desktop computers, laptops, or network systems.

For those considering a career in computer science or information technology, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a glimpse of how much computer-related occupations earned annually in 2010:

  • Computer programmers – $40,820-$114,180
  • Computer support technicians – $28,300-$76,970
  • Database administrators – $41,570-$115,660
  • Web developers – $43,190-$119,940
  • Network administrators – $42,400-$108,090
  • Software developers – $54,360-$143,330

Financial rewards aside, many may pursue computer-related careers because of its challenging and ever-changing nature. Like most engineering professions, computer science is essentially a problem-solving field. Some students may find it a bit thrilling to be part of a profession that takes pride in providing solutions even if it’s through clever programming or proper utilization of IT resources. Computer science is an example of a truly dynamic profession — one that is always progressing, continuously welcoming innovation, and looking for breakthroughs.

Program Options

Computer science encompasses a diverse range of specializations. These are the most common degree programs offered by most colleges, universities, and technological institutes in the United States:

  • Certificate/Diploma level:
    • Certificate in Computer Science (with specializations in PC Repair or Basic Programming)
    • Certificate in Computer Programming (with specializations in Java, Visual Basic, or .NET)
    • Diploma in Information Systems
  • Associate degree level:
    • Associate in Computer Science (with specializations in Computer Programming, Computer Electronics, Information Technology, or Web Development)
    • Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems/Computer Information Technology
    • Associate in Database Programming
  • Bachelor’s degree level:
    • Bachelor in Computer Science (with specializations in Computer Programming, Electronics, Software Development, or Information Technology)
    • Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems/Computer Information Technology
    • Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and Development
    • Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development
    • Bachelor of Science in Web Design and Development
  • Master’s degree level:
    • Master of Science in Computer Science
    • Masters in Information Systems/Information Technology
    • Master of Geospatial Information Systems
    • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Applied Computer Science
  • Doctorate degree level:
    • Doctor of Computer Science (with specializations in Computer Programming, Enterprise Information Systems, or Emerging Media)
    • PhD in Computer and Information Security/Technology
    • PhD in Applied Computer Science
    • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Applied Computer Science
    • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Computer/Information Security

Various colleges and universities may also offer degree programs in computer engineering. Although categorized as an engineering academic program, a computer engineering program may also cover courses in computer programming, software development, network administration, database programming, hardware technology, and web development, as well as other courses.

Find an accredited college near your area that offers accredited computer science degree programs by using the search tool located in the upper left-hand corner.