Best Online Bachelor’s in Computer Science Programs

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Computer science covers the mathematical and technological principles behind computing machinery. The field is neatly split into two subdivisions: theoretical computer science, which explores the theories behind concepts like coding and language programming, and applied computer science, which covers technical dimensions in the field, like engineering, cryptography, and network architecture.

In college, computer science students learn the fundamentals of computing hardware, software, and networks. Undergraduate programs typically require students to compile a portfolio of their best work and complete a capstone project prior to graduation, and many schools provide optional internship opportunities for interested students. Today, many students interested in computer science are choosing to earn their bachelor’s degree online. Web-based programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as classroom-based curriculums, and the asynchronous format used by most schools is ideal for students who must balance school with other commitments, like childcare or a part-time job.

Read on to learn more about what you’ll learn in a computer science program, and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to in the field upon graduation.


Computer science bachelor’s degree students develop a wealth of relevant skills and knowledge while they’re in school. They learn how to manage databases, use object-oriented programming and design techniques, write code sequences, and maintain different computing systems. Many students also become fluent in at least one major programming language, such as Java or C++. Many online programs also allow students to earn degree concentrations in computer science subfields, like programming and software engineering. Distance learners can also develop valuable industry experience by participating in an internship during their undergraduate studies.


Online bachelor’s in computer science programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar education. Students can access lectures and other course materials, submit assignments, take exams, and communicate with faculty members on their own schedule. Current technology also allows them to study away from their home computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other device with Wi-Fi capabilities. For additional convenience, many of these programs are offered in an accelerated format, enabling students to graduate just two or three years.


A bachelor’s degree is sufficient for entry-level positions in most branches of computer science. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some of the most popular positions in computer science include computer programmers, computer systems analysts, database administrators, and software and web developers.


Choosing a program is a very personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs and professional goals. Nonetheless, the following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online bachelor’s in computer science programs in the United States. If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and you value the flexibility inherent in distance education, be sure to take a look at these top colleges.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 74.61 3/5 73% Minneapolis, MN

The bachelor of science (BS) in information technology management program at UofM's Crookston Campus is offered entirely online. Classes are asynchronous, and students can log on anytime to complete their coursework, provided they stick to set deadlines. Although there's no on-campus requirement for this online computer science degree, students can choose to study abroad in one of 67 different countries.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is also open to online students, who can design their own research as part of their degree. Graduates go on to hold job titles as network administrators, systems analysts, and applications developers. Students in the online program pay the same tuition as in-state students, regardless of where they live. The UofM is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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2 Colorado State University-Global Campus 71.56 3/5 63% Greenwood Village, CO

Want to get your computer science degree online and prepare for professional certification exams at the same time? You might add Colorado State's online bachelor's degree in information technology to your list of possible programs. The school pledges to train students for IT jobs while helping them get ready for CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, and other exams. Colorado State also offers discounted rates on many tests.

Specialization options for the information technology degree include business administration, computer programming, and cyber security. Classes are offered 100% online, and can be completed on the student's' schedule. CSU-Global Campus is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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3 Northeastern University Global Network 70.53 4/5 79% Boston, MA

Northeastern University Global Network offers a BS in information technology. Although Northeastern's campus is located in Boston, this program is available entirely online for distance students. Online computer science degree classes are offered asynchronously through Blackboard, and are intended to prepare students for a career as a systems or network administrator, a computer engineer, a security specialist, and other related tracks.

The university is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC), and boasts that it "is the first university to create an online education model that is driven by cognitive science, informed by employers, and powered by experiential learning."

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4 University of Massachusetts-Lowell 68.28 3/5 54% Lowell, MA

UMass-Lowell's BS degree in information technology is available entirely online or as a combination of online and on-site classes at the university's campus in Lowell, Mass. This online computer science degree includes courses on Java programming, web development, and network security, among others. Courses are provided through Blackboard, and students are encouraged to attend optional weekly chat sessions with their professors (or to view the chat sessions online at a later date).

Online students pay in-state tuition and have the same access to the school's Career Services as traditional students. UMass-Lowell is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

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5 University of Florida-Online 67.91 3/5 86% Gainesville, FL

Students who enroll in the online BS in computer science program at UF Florida will also gain a strong foundation in liberal arts. Students can adjust their curriculum to their interests and career aspirations, studying humanities, foreign languages, and social and behavioral sciences as well as computer science subjects. Students in the program must complete 29 credits in foundation coursework, 35 credits in core coursework, and six elective credits. Courses include programming fundamentals, digital logic and computer systems, and digital computer architecture, among many others.

Computer science degree online classes are delivered through Canvas. Online students can use the UF library and even purchase an on-campus meal plan. They're not, however, eligible for on-campus housing. The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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6 Brigham Young University-Idaho 66.88 2/5 52% Rexburg, ID

Want to earn your computer science bachelor degree online? BYU's program allows students to complete a BS in computer information technology after taking 15 credit hours at a participating school (Ricks College, BYU-Idaho, BYU, BYU-Hawaii, or LDS Business College) or after completing the Pathway program, which is conducted partly online.

Graduates are suited for jobs as web developers, systems administrators, network engineers, and other related roles. Coursework includes object-oriented programming, business intelligence and analytics, and database administration. Students must also complete a senior project, practicum, and internship. Students at all of BYU's programs are required to adhere to its honor code.

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7 University of Illinois at Springfield 66.78 3/5 47% Springfield, IL

Applicants to UIS's online degree in computer science must have 30 semester hours of college-level transfer credit and at least a 2.0 GPA. Whether taken online or on campus, the bachelor's degree in computer science requires classes in programming languages, algorithms, and foundations of computer science, as well as liberal arts courses like oral communication and rhetoric.

The campus is in Springfield, Illinois, the location of Abraham Lincoln's Home National Historic Site. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and is also pursuing accreditation through Open Pathway. Online applicants the the bachelor’s in computer science program are accepted each fall and spring semester.

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8 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus 66.46 4/5 50% University Park, PA

Among the best online computer science degrees is Pennsylvania State-World Campus' BS in information sciences and technology. This degree is particularly well-suited to prospective students who are already working in the industry and/or those who have associate degrees. Students in the program can customize their degree by choosing from the integration and application (ITINT) option or the information systems: design and development (ISDEV) option. The ITINT option prepares students to use IT in high-level strategic organization/problem-solving, while the ISDEV option helps students build skills needed to develop advanced IT systems. This bachelor’s degree program comprises 125 credits in major, general education, and elective courses.

Penn State's classes are offered asynchronously, and students can attend classes on their schedule, as long as they adhere to deadlines. The school uses a combination of technologies to deliver its coursework, including Skype, Blackboard, and discussion forums. Penn State's online programs are accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

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9 Oregon State University 64.12 3/5 61% Corvallis, OR

Oregon State's BS in computer science is offered entirely online, and has four tracks of varying lengths, from as short as one year to as long as four. The one-year program is an intensive course best suited for students who intend to study full-time; the school notes that this program is extremely rigorous and requires resiliency and efficient time-management skills. All students must complete 60 credits in order to graduate.

The program offers a variety of services to support online students, including online tutoring, library services, and career services. Oregon State is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Students in the computer science program can enroll during fall, winter, and spring terms.

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10 Fort Hays State University 63.26 3/5 41% Hays, KS

FHSU's online degree in computer science prepares students for careers as software engineers, network administrators, and computer support specialists, among other IT roles. The curriculum includes classes in statistics, programming languages, and management principles. Classes are conducted through Blackboard, CD-ROM, and DVD. Some classes are asynchronous, and can be taken on the student's schedule. Synchronous classes are delivered via internet protocol television. FHSU is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. The school offers a virtual college online orientation for prospective students interested in learning more about online learning at the school.

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11 Western Governors University 63.22 3/5 27% Salt Lake City, UT

WGU's online computer science bachelor degree is a fully asynchronous program. Not only do students take classes on their own schedule, their coursework is completely self-directed. The school cautions, however, that students should plan to spend 20 hours a week on their studies.

The program employs a "competency-based learning model" that allows students to spend more time on the material they need to study the most, while skipping quickly through the rest. Students are assigned a faculty mentor to help them personalize their program. Classes are conducted through the MyWGU Portal, which functions as a virtual campus. The school is regionally accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

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12 Kennesaw State University 63.09 3/5 42% Kennesaw, GA

Kennesaw State's online computer science bachelor degree is a BS in information technology. Students can choose to attend class at the university's campus in Kennesaw, Georgia, attend entirely online, or do a combination of the two. Faculty members can request occasional on-campus visits from students who attend remotely, and the school offers proctored exams for distance learners who live more than 50 miles from campus. Online classes are offered through the learning platform Desire2Learn (D2L). Students also use D2L to submit assignments, take exams, and communicate with each other and with their professors.

The program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineers & Technology.

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13 LeTourneau University 62.03 4/5 61% Longview, TX

Founded in 1946 as LeTourneau Technical Institute and intended to educate returning soldiers, LeTourneau University is now a SACSCOC- and ABET-accredited, nondenominational Christian university. In addition to offering traditional degrees in technology, engineering, liberal arts, and business, the school has several online programs. Its online computer science degree, a BS in computer information systems, prepares students for careers in software engineering, computer programming, and web development.

Students attend classes and complete coursework on their own schedule, sticking to weekly deadlines. Courses run five weeks each on an accelerated schedule.

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14 Champlain College 61.17 5/5 64% Burlington, VT

Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont offers four computer science degrees online. These include a BS in computer and information systems, a management information systems (MIS) degree, a bachelor's degree in software development degree, and an online web design and development degree. All four programs are offered 100% online, and classes are available 24/7 on the student's schedule. Courses are seven weeks long each. These programs are regionally accredited by NEASC.

Students can often study for a certificate while pursuing their bachelor's degree, to help differentiate themselves from the competition on the job market. For example, while studying for the software development degree, students can earn certificates in C++ programming, Java programming, software development, or visual C#.

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15 Georgia Southern University 61.04 3/5 50% Statesboro, GA

Georgia Southern's WebBSIT online computer science degree is a BS in information technology. The program is nearly 100% online, with the exception of some proctored labs and exams, and geared toward students who would have trouble finding the time to earn a traditional, on-campus degree, including IT professionals who already have full-time jobs.

Georgia Southern is one of five participating WebBSIT institutions. The degree consists of two years of general education requirements and two years of IT courses. Students complete the gen ed curriculum before applying formally to the program.

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16 University of Maryland-University College 60.80 3/5 4% Adelphi, MD

UMUC's online computer science degree prepares students for jobs in software engineering, computer programming, and related occupations. The coursework covers data structures and analysis, algorithm optimization, and programming languages like Java, C++, and MATLAB. Classes are asynchronous, and students can log in as their schedule allows, as long as they adhere to weekly and biweekly deadlines.

UMUC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The program's faculty have worked or are currently working at employers like IBM, Oracle, and Lockheed Martin in variety of programming and engineering roles. The computer science bachelor's degree is also available as a hybrid program; students who opt for this format take some classes online and some at UMUC's hybrid locations in Maryland and at military bases across the U.S.

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17 Excelsior College 59.47 3/5 40% Albany, NY

Excelsior College's online degree in computer science is geared towards busy professionals who might otherwise have trouble finding time to get a degree. The school gives academic credit for work-related or military computer science classes and promises "maximum transfer credit for prior courses from accredited colleges." Students also have the opportunity to test out of various classes and earn credit.

The college uses Blackboard to deliver online courses. Prospective students can see an overview of how online courses work at the college in a video tutorial. Excelsior College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Learning.

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18 Bellevue University 59.38 3/5 31% Bellevue, NE

Bellevue University offers two computer science degrees online: the bachelor of applied science (BAS) in computer information systems and the BS in computer information systems. While the degrees are similar, the BAS requires three fewer credits and is intended primarily for corporate students. Emphasis options for both degrees include applications development, business intelligence, cybersecurity, and networking. The school advises prospective students who plan to build their careers in computer systems information jobs to pursue the BS degree. Students can opt to take some classes on-site at the school's main campus in Bellevue, Nebraska or its satellite locations, as well as online. The school is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission.

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19 Old Dominion University 59.38 3/5 49% Norfolk, VA

Old Dominion University has been offering distance learning programs for over 30 years, and its online programs regularly make rankings of top online degrees. The school's computer science bachelor degree online program comprises 120 total credit hours and prepares students for careers in software engineering, database administration, application programming, and more. Department courses include computers in society, principles of programming languages, introduction to discrete structures, and more.

The school is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. ODU Online's programs are taught by the same professors and confer the same diploma as its traditional programs. Classes are delivered both live and asynchronously, depending on the course. To learn more about the Personal Learning Environment (PLE), see the school's overview.

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20 Regis University 58.81 4/5 59% Denver, CO

Regis offers an online computer science degree that's accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Regis is a Jesuit university, open to students of all faiths, with a focus on service and "developing the whole person" as well as academic outcomes. Its computer science program specifically focuses on preparing students to problem-solve "in a socially just manner." Graduates are guaranteed to be skilled CS professionals who are able to adapt to the changing landscape of the industry and who are committed to serving their communities. The computer science degree comprises 128-133 credit hours, depending on whether students choose a minor.

Students in online degree programs use WorldClass, the university's learning management system, to access courses, participate in discussion forums, take quizzes, and upload their assignments.

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21 Southern New Hampshire University 57.95 4/5 59% Manchester, NH

SNHU's online degree in computer science is a BS in information technologies. The program is intended to prepare students for careers in software development, offering instruction in object-oriented programming languages and mobile application development, as well as coursework on digital business. The program comprises 120 total credit hours; students complete 45 credit hours of general education curriculum and six elective credits on top of degree courses ranging from foundation in application development to mobile application design and development.

Students can apply up to 90 transfer credits to their degree, and may be eligible to receive credit for previous certifications, e.g. CompTIA or TestOut. Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.

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22 Saint Leo University 57.75 3/5 43% Saint Leo, FL

Florida's Saint Leo University offers two online computer science bachelor's degrees: a BS in computer information systems and a BS in computer science -- information assurance specialization.

The computer information systems program provides a background in programming languages like Java and Visual Basic, as well as coursework in project management, database programming, and information security. The computer science -- information assurance specialization focuses on computer forensics, network security, and penetration testing. The school says that students in the latter program have interned with Verizon and Tech Data Corporation, as well as local companies. Saint Leo University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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23 Western Kentucky University 57.58 3/5 50% Bowling Green, KY

Western Kentucky's online computer science degree, the BS in computer information technology, prepares students for careers as computer programmers, computer support specialists, software developers, and more. Many classes are offered entirely online, but prospective students should check with the university to ensure that their course of study will require no face-to-face meetings. (Professors can require as many as two, and still list their class as an online class.) The CIT program requires 120 total credit hours. The school provides assistance in arranging proctored exams, if required. WKU also offers a student resource portal, with links to online tutoring, an online math lab, and library services. Western Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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24 Dakota State University 56.72 3/5 42% Madison, SD

Before you register for one of Dakota State's two online degrees in computer science, you'll need to make sure that your chosen program is available in your state. The school offers an online tool to determine your residence eligibility.

The school says that its BS in computer science prepares students for careers as software engineers, penetration testers, and programmers; its BS in computer information systems is intended to launch students in careers as web developers, application developers, and IT engineers, among other occupations. DSU is regionally accredited through the Higher Learning Commission.

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25 City University of Seattle 56.35 3/5 47% Seattle, WA

City University of Seattle's online degree in computer science, a BS in information technology, is conducted entirely via the internet and can be completed in as little as two and a half years. Students attend through a virtual classroom environment and file their assignments with Blackboard.

Coursework includes lower-division requirements in humanities and mathematics, as well as programming, design, and systems analysis classes. Students are required to complete a two-part capstone project for graduation. The university is affiliated with the National University System, and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

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Computer science is a broad field that can lead to numerous career paths depending on the school and online programs offered. Computer science focuses on the mathematical and theoretical basis of using calculations, such as algorithms, to process information. Therefore, students pursuing an online computer science degree should be comfortable with advanced math concepts. Computer science students are exposed to all aspects of the computing pipeline from hardware and software applications to the network configurations that connect those elements together.


Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Software Engineering Courses in a software engineering specialization are heavy focused on programming and design. Students enroll in electives such as game design and artificial intelligence. Software engineers work in a wide variety of fields and design, test, and deploy software. They create the apps that people use on their cell phones and the systems that help launch rockets into space.
Network and Security The network and security concentration in many online computer science programs focuses on the technology that keeps computer systems operating smoothly and safe from hackers, viruses, and other threats. Students learn the fundamentals of network architecture, theory, and protocols. Network and security experts can pursue roles at almost any type of business. They are particularly in demand at organizations that need to protect sensitive data, such as financial and research institutions.
Game Development One of the more creative specializations available in some online computer science degree programs is game development. This concentration covers the algorithms and technologies needed to create video games, as well as the research, marketing, and business models behind creating a successful gaming product. Careers for game developers can be found in the entertainment industry, as well as in the education, military, and consumer product fields.


Most computer science online degree programs offer a liberal arts education that provides students with an overview of the field with a wide range of courses, while others stress the mathematical side and require classes in probability theory, statistics, and linear algebra and calculus. While no two schools will have the same curriculum for an online bachelor’s in computer science, the following are common courses that can be found in any program:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI courses provide an overview of how machines can interact with people, solve problems, and reason similar to humans. AI is an important aspect of careers in the robotics and gaming industries as well as in search engine design and medical diagnostics.
  • Cryptography: Cryptography classes cover the techniques used to keep data secure, such as encryption, digital signatures, authentication, and zero-knowledge protocols. Experts in cryptography often work in IT departments and in industries that manage sensitive information, such as government, retail, and banking.
  • Data Mining: Data mining courses teach methods used for accessing both clearly defined and unstructured data, such as pattern recognition, clustering, and text mining. Data scientists use data mining to gather information that can be translated into actionable ideas for better performance, such as analyzing the online viewing habits of consumers to improve the design of a website. The healthcare, hospitality, technology, and consumer industries all use data scientists to improve their services.
  • Health Informatics: Health informatics classes teach students how computing applies to all aspects of healthcare delivery, including the design, implementation, and evaluation of clinical information systems. Courses often involve applying learned knowledge to a real-world clinical challenge. Students specializing in health informatics typically find careers in the medical and healthcare fields, as well as the insurance industry.
  • Machine Learning: Machine learning courses delve into the statistics, linear algebra, and other methods used to teach a computer how to identify patterns in data and then adapt its behavior without being reprogrammed. Machine learning is an important skill used by statistical analysts, software engineers, and architects in a variety of fields from aerospace to entertainment.


Computer science online programs typically require students to complete 120 credit hours of work to earn a bachelor’s degree. Some online computer science bachelor degree programs may require more credit hours, and students who do not have a strong background in math could find they need to take extra time to get up to speed in linear algebra and calculus. In general, most programs will take four years to complete for freshman applicants with no prior college experience. Full-time students who have earned an associate degree can often complete programs in two years, with some schools even offering accelerated one-year programs to students who have already earned a BA or BS in another subject.

When choosing the best online schools for computer science, it is important to consider each school’s accreditation status. Accreditation shows that the institution and the program have met rigorous standards set by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Both the DOE and CHEA are agencies that establish and implement educational policies and standards so that all schools meet the same criteria for excellence. Both of these agencies hold educational institutions accountable and advocate for quality education, ensuring that your degree is worth the time and money you’ve invested in it.

Schools can be either regionally or nationally accredited. Programs with national accreditation are often considerably less expensive and will accept transfer units from a wider selection of schools. However, the majority of U.S. colleges are regionally accredited, which tends to have stricter qualifying standards, making it the preferred type of accreditation by many licensing boards. Graduate programs often only recognize undergraduate degrees from regionally accredited schools, which is something to keep in mind if an advanced degree is a part of your plan.

When searching for the right computer science online degree programs, look for accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and its four commissions, particularly the Computing Accreditation Commission. Institutional accreditation should be from an agency recognized by the DOE or CHEA. A list of recognized agencies and all accredited schools can be found on both the DOE and CHEA websites.

The job outlook is strong for college graduates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, particularly those with relevant work experience. A 2014 survey by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce found that experienced college graduates have a 4.0% unemployment rate ― a full percentage point below the national unemployment rate across all industries. Below, you can see the unemployment prospects for computer science majors measured against experienced graduates with degrees in other computer-related fields.

Job Placement

Undergraduate Degree Field Unemployment Rate for Experienced Bachelor’s Degree-Holders
Computer Science 4.0%
Computer and Information Systems 4.3%
Information Sciences 4.3%
Computer Engineering 3.7%
Miscellaneous Computer 6.0%

Source: From Hard Times to Better Times’ by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

The BLS also notes that the computer and information technology industry is projected to grow by nearly 500,000 jobs between 2014 and 2024. This rapid growth ensures that skilled computer science degree-holders will have a wealth of job opportunities available to them in the years to come.

Earning a Living

College graduates with a degree in computer science enjoy much higher earning potential than colleagues with less education. The following table highlights the median salaries for associate and bachelor’s degree-holding computer scientists during two key career stages.

Degree Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Associate Degree in Computer Science $40,400 $67,300
Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science $65,300 $107,000

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

According to the data, bachelor’s holders outearned those with an associate degree by 61.6% at the entry-level mark and 59.0% at mid-career. It’s also important to note that the entry-level annual earnings for bachelor’s graduates is only $2,000 lower than the mid-career salary for associate degree-holders.

Naturally, the exact salary for a given position in the field will vary based on a number of factors, including specific job title, employer size, and location. Using data from PayScale, the next table examines the overall salary growth for five of the most popular career pathways for computer science professionals.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Computer Programmer $51,422 $65,169 $72,883 $76,986
Software Developer $62,448 $76,168 $86,399 $90,105
Network Architect $86,246 $100,535 $117,277 $120,178
Information Systems (IS) Manager $61,379 $70,545 $83,945 $89,078
Network Administrator $49,466 $56,158 $61,904 $65,313

Source: PayScale

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who graduate from college with a bachelor’s in computer science will be qualified for dozens of entry-level positions, as well as select supervisory roles that are normally reserved for well-educated candidates. Below, we’ve profiled four of the most common career pathways for professionals with a computer science degree.

Computer Systems Specialists: Systems analysts develop computing systems based on the needs of their organization. They must carefully research their client’s organizational structure in order to create efficient, user-friendly systems that optimize productivity.

Software Developers: Software developers create, test, and evaluate applications, games, and other software-based programs, along with the systems and controls that enable these programs to function properly. They may also design models, diagrams, and flowcharts that instruct programmers how to write proper code sequences.

Computer Network Architects: Network architects design and develop different types of telecommunication networks. Most of their work is concentrated on local area networks, usually designed for a small number of users in a single location, or wide area networks, which can include many users in multiple locations. Additionally, they are often called upon to perform hardware and software upgrades.

Computer and Information Systems (CIS) Managers: Also known as IT managers, CIS managers are responsible for the tech-based operations at large companies and organizations. Day-to-day duties usually entail a combination of programming, software development, data analysis, and business administration. They may also be tasked with completing a variety of maintenance and administrative tasks, like recruiting, interviewing, screening and hiring new employees, and answering technical questions from non-CIS employees.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Computer Systems Specialists $85,800 21% (118,600 jobs)
Software Developers $100,690 17% (186,600 jobs)
Computer Network Architects $100,240 9% (12,700 jobs)
Computer and Information Systems (CIS) Managers $131,600 15% (53,700 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections is crucial to your career development, and professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for computer science professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology: IACSIT is a scholarly organization for scientific research in computer science and IT. Members are invited to submit and review academic papers, host workshops, and attend conferences around the world.
  • Association of Software Professionals: The ASP is a trade organization dedicated to software developers and engineers who design programs, apps, and networks. The website features an extensive calendar of upcoming conferences and events, along with full issues of the ASPects monthly newsletter.
  • Network Professional Association:
    The NPA supports computer networking personnel through advocacy, professional development, and networking events. The association’s website features information about the CNP certification credential, as well as an online career center, an electronic journal and an events calendar.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.


Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.


Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.


Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.


Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.


Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.


Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Best Online Computer Science Degrees of 2016
Rank School Location
1 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
2 Regis University Denver, CO
3 Troy University Troy, AL
4 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
5 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
6 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
7 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
8 National University La Jolla, CA
9 Southern University and A&M College Baton Rouge, LA
10 Franklin University Columbus, OH