Computer Science Degree Guide

A computer science degree can lead to many well-paying, in-demand careers. Learn more about your options for a computer science degree. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Computer science is a popular tech field — not to mention one of the highest-paying majors. In an undergraduate program, you’ll study topics like discrete mathematics, statistical methods, and data structures.

With a graduate degree in computer science, you can further specialize, choosing among areas such as data visualization, security and privacy, and knowledge mining.

Ultimately, a computer science degree can open up many doors. Below, we cover the various types of computer science degrees you can earn and what jobs you can land in this in-demand field.

Explore Computer Science Degrees by Subject

Use the links below to jump to the computer science degree you’d like to learn more about.

Artificial Intelligence

A degree in AI emphasizes machine learning principles and solutions. Classes may include the foundations of computer vision, the principles of machine learning, and the design and analysis of algorithms. For a master's in AI, a capstone class may require you to create a prototype neural network.

Computer and Software Engineering

Computer engineers design physical hardware, while software engineers develop software.

Computer Forensics

When hackers get past cybersecurity experts' defenses, computer forensics professionals investigate what happened and what data was affected. Coursework at the undergraduate level includes computer and memory forensics, forensic accounting, and fraud examination.

Computer Programming

A computer programming degree teaches you coding languages and techniques. Coursework entails Python, C++, C#, and other languages employers expect job applicants to know. Classes may include an introduction to computer security, data warehousing, and mobile app development.

Computer Science

A bachelor's in computer science offers the education and training you need for many entry-level computer science jobs. A typical curriculum comprises classes like introduction to probability, computer organization, and foundations of programming.

Cybersecurity and Network Security

Cybersecurity experts protect servers and other systems from attack, while network security professionals do the same for data transferred over networks. In other words, a computer science degree in either subject trains you to safeguard company information.

Data Science and Analytics

Data scientists construct the data models and algorithms that analysts use to spot trends and draw conclusions. A data science or data analytics bootcamp can help you determine which degree — data science or data analytics — is better for you.

Web Development

Web development programs encompass classes in graphic communication, multimedia design, and web authoring. You may specialize in front-end, back-end, or full-stack development.

Can You Get a Computer Science Degree Online?

Yes, you can earn your computer science degree online.

Top-rated affordable online computer science degrees boast the same curriculum and rigor as on-campus programs.

Here are some examples of popular online computer science programs:

An online computer science degree can offer many advantages, such as asynchronous classes and increased flexibility. Some colleges may even waive out-of-state tuition for nonresidents.

How Much Can You Make With a Computer Science Degree?

According to the latest BLS data, many computer and information technology roles earn a median annual salary of over $100,000.

The BLS projects strong employment growth for jobs like data scientist, information security analyst, and computer scientist based on the latest computer science trends.

While many in-demand computer science jobs only require a bachelor’s degree, aspiring computer scientists must have at least a master’s. Below is a look at some of the most popular computer science jobs today and how much money you can expect to earn.

10 Popular Computer Science Degree Jobs
Job Median Annual Salary (May 2023) Job Growth Rate (2022-2032) Minimum Education Required
Computer and Information Research Scientists $145,080 23% Master’s degree
Computer Hardware Engineers $138,080 5% Bachelor’s degree
Software Developers $132,270 26% Bachelor’s degree
Computer Network Architects $129,840 4% Bachelor’s degree
Information Security Analysts $120,360 32% Bachelor’s degree
Data Scientists $108,020 35% Bachelor’s degree
Computer Systems Analysts $103,800 10% Bachelor’s degree
Computer Programmers $99,700 -11% Bachelor’s degree
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $95,360 2% Bachelor’s degree
Web Developers $84,960 17% Bachelor’s degree
Source: BLS

Is a Computer Science Degree Worth It?

A computer science degree offers many advantages, including raising your salary potential. That said, a degree and career in this field may not align with your interests and skills.

Consider the following pros and cons before applying to on-campus or online computer science programs.


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    Jobs for computer science professionals are projected to grow significantly between 2022 and 2032, meaning a higher likelihood of job stability and career advancement.
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    Many computer science degree-holders can easily work remotely, allowing for flexibility and better work-life balance.
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    Several computer science careers boast median salaries in the six figures.


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    Database administrators experience lower-than-average job satisfaction.
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    Burnout affects a high percentage of software developers.
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    Long periods of independent work may lead to feelings of isolation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Computer Science Degrees

Is computer science math-heavy?

Yes, computer science degrees require many math classes. Most computer science students take classes in calculus, algebra, trigonometry, and statistics. Learning higher-level math helps you develop the logic and abstract reasoning skills needed to succeed in a computer science job or graduate program.

If you don't have a strong math background, a computer science degree could prove hard for you. Even students with good math grades may still need help learning programming languages.

Many colleges offer tutoring and other resources to help you with coursework. Take advantage of your computer science professors' office hours as well.

Although policies differ among universities, you should aim for a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. A good GPA may qualify you for institutional financial aid and strengthen your resume or graduate school application.

Yes, you can earn a six-figure salary with a computer science degree. In fact, a computer science degree has one of the best returns on investment. Even early-career professionals can make over $75,000 annually.

A computer science degree remains a good investment for college students despite recent tech industry layoffs. Even if you enter a competitive job market, many options exist to bolster your resume, such as freelancing and exploring industries outside your professional interests.

You can also work with a career counselor to help you pick an in-demand concentration and make yourself more appealing to potential employers.

Note: The insights on this page were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed June 20, 2024.