Best online computer science degrees 2021: Top picks

What are the online computer science degree levels?

In addition to the various computer science courses and specializations, prospective computer science students have several degree levels to choose from. Each level can lead graduates down different career paths, with the more advanced degrees typically leading to positions with the largest salaries.

Associate’s Degree in Computer Science

Associate degrees in computer science usually run for two years and feature foundational training in several areas, including programming, networking, data structures, and security operations. The fundamentals picked up in these programs can lead to more advanced training in many computer-related fields.

Along with preparing graduates for further studies at the bachelor’s level and beyond, associate degrees can lead to many entry-level careers, including:

  • Computer Support Specialists.
  • Web Developer and Digital Designers.
  • Computer Programmers.

Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

A bachelor’s degree in computer science typically takes students four years to complete. In addition to the associate degree subject areas, the comprehensive programs may include training in data science, machine learning, and operating systems.

Bachelor’s degree graduates can pursue master’s degrees in various computer-related fields or enter the workforce in one of the following qualified fields:

  • Software Development.
  • Computer Systems Analysis.
  • Information Security Analysis.

Master’s Degree in Computer Science

At the master’s degree level, the training delves into advanced topics in data mining and analysis, algorithm and application design and development, and cyberattacks and security. The programs usually take students two years to complete and may offer specializations that include artificial intelligence, game design, computer-human interface, and software engineering and theory.

Master’s degree graduates possess the research and academic preparation to pursue a doctorate in the field.

They can also obtain some of the industry’s most desirable positions, such as the following:

  • Computer and Information Research Scientist.
  • Computer and Information Systems Manager.
  • Software Developer.

Doctoral Degree in Computer Science

Doctoral degrees in computer science usually feature the greatest amount of flexibility for students, taking between 4-7 years to complete and allowing learners to pursue their research interests in many different fields. Some possible specializations include biocomputation, theoretical computer science, computer graphics, virtual reality, and interactive multimedia.

Professionally, doctoral graduates can pursue all careers that master’s graduates can and some additional options.

The possible career paths include:

  • Postsecondary Teacher.
  • Computer and Information Research Scientist.
  • Computer and Information Systems Manager.

Computer Science Bootcamps, Certifications, and Certificates

Along with computer science degrees online, students looking for new tech careers and professionals looking to upgrade their skills and advance their careers can look to various other online programs.

The table below provides details on computer science certificates, certifications, and bootcamps, including what they offer, why someone might pursue these avenues, and where they might lead.

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