When you think about computer science and information technology, it seems pretty simple as a concept. The first thought that comes to mind might be of someone sitting behind a desk in their cubicle, answering questions from clients with tech issues, for instance. In reality, the field is really much broader than our imaginations first project.
The role of technology has rapidly grown to shape almost every aspect of the world around us: the way we socialize, advertise, exchange services, organize our lives, run our businesses, and create our networks. This newfound influence has allowed the job market to explode with a wider array of professional opportunities for those with computer sciences and IT degrees—now, there are more options than ever to develop a career in these specializations.
THE CAREER PATH
Many professionals are intrigued by the variety presented between opportunities in computer sciences and IT careers. Some are intrigued by the ability to gain work experience that is recognized by some as “climbing the ladder.” For some, it’s the job security, knowing that careers in computer and information sciences are expected to grow steadily—12% in the coming years—well above the national average.
The broad range of careers that fall under this umbrella can be divided into the “computer sciences” and “information technology." Online computer science degrees will prepare for jobs that involve more programming, technical manipulation, and design. Jobs like software or web development and systems engineering or security would be considered computer science professions. Online IT degrees, on the other hand, are much more oriented around customer-service and interaction. IT covers specializations such as computer support, technical writing, and IT management.
Most of these positions can be pursued with a bachelor’s degree and can be completed entirely online. Managerial positions may demand higher qualifications such as post-secondary degrees and lengthy work experience. Alternatively, in areas such as technical writing, an online associate’s degree may be considered for some positions with appropriate experience and certifications. Online certificate's in computer science & IT tare a great way to transition into a new career fast and affordably.
Once a base education is completed, job applicants can increase their competitiveness by validating their skills with relevant certifications. Certifications in technical writing, project management, and existing networks and their languages, can attest to the competency and expertise of professionals.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
Of course, all professionals in the computer science or IT careers must indiscriminately be able to think critically and analytically with mathematical and programmatic theories. Regardless of their specialization, these professionals must be able to communicate in addition to being organized and detail-oriented.
Beyond those qualities, an online degree in either computer science or IT can be tailored to the unique strengths and interests of individual applications. If your passion is in social justice, for example, you can work to develop applications for organizers and activists to use that work with the issues you believe in. If you are more inspired by the business aspect of society, you could aspire to work in the managerial side of IT, or you could help businesses use their technical tools to their greatest advantage through these types careers. No matter what your background or your ideas for the future, there is certain to be some career under this broad technological umbrella for you.
BEST COMPUTER SCIENCE & IT JOBS
There is a wide availability of jobs across the board related to computer sciences and IT, and all of them are rewarding in different ways. Here are some of the most popular and sought-ought jobs in the computer science and IT industry:
- WEB DEVELOPMENT:
Out of all of the computer science and IT careers, web development is potentially the fastest growing. Opportunities in web development are predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow by 27% in the next seven years. As more organizations, businesses, self-starters, and social activities become dependent on their digital presence, the ability to find competent web developers has become a priority in every industry imaginable. Web developers create and maintain the looks and technical aspects of websites for their clients or employers. The typical entry-level education for web developers is an associate’s degree, and the average developer earns $64,970 each year—not bad!
- SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT:
This is another career that would fall under the computer sciences umbrella, but these careers take web development one step further. Software development is for the creative minds behind programs and applications that allow modern devices to operate and do we want them to do. Software developers are the masterminds behind your favorite games like TriviaCrack and the alarm clock on your phone that wakes you up every morning. While it is not predicted to see the same growth as web development, careers in software development are still expected to grow by a solid 21%, with an appropriate reflection of that increased competition in the salary. According to the Department of Labor, the annual salary for software developers is $100,690.
- IT MANAGEMENT:
IT management careers are for those who truly want a long-lasting career in the computer sciences and information technology. Professionals work towards a career in IT management by thorough work experience, extensive education, and sincere professional development. For those who are willing to put in the extra time and effort, these careers can be significantly rewarding—the average professional in IT management makes $131,600 each year.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
Programs related to computer sciences or IT incorporate courses designed to introduce students to the theoretical mathematics and science used to operate a variety of platforms, and the methods of exchanging, using, and capitalizing on those information platforms. Expect courses including:
- Computer Science
- Operating systems
- Data structures and algorithms
- Programming languages
- Computer architecture
- Technical communication
- System design & analysis
- Database management systems
- IT project management
Our rankings show the price for online bachelor’s degrees in the computer sciences average just under $50,000; books, certifications, and equipment may influence the cost of the entire education for aspiring professionals. The most affordable online bachelor's in computer science come in just under $20,000 so keep this in mind as you compare degrees. Click on any degree below to see the total estimated cost of attendance including all distance learning and technology fees.
Carefully consider all of the factors that would help you to reach your professional goals in computer science and IT. Consider qualities of programs like the ability to co-earn certifications alongside of a degree, to gain work experience through internships and research projects with your degree, and the many resources that they may or may not offer when weighing your many different options.