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The information technology (IT) sector contains some of the fastest growing careers in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that computer and related mathematical occupations will provide more than 1.2 million job openings by 2022. Approximately 75% of these positions require candidates to have a bachelor's degree.

This guide provides in-depth information on the most affordable online bachelor's in computer science programs of 2020, including coursework, internship, and capstone requirements. You will also learn about career paths in dynamic areas such as cybersecurity and cloud computing. The guide also answers frequently asked questions about earning potential and other degree outcomes.

What Are the Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Programs? Here Are Our Top Five:

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Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 Florida International University Miami, FL
3 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
4 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
5 University of Illinois Springfield Springfield, IL
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology here. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Most Affordable Accredited Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Toggle
1

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 90%
2

Florida International University

Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%
3

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%
4

Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 52%
5

University of Illinois Springfield

Springfield, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%
6

Thomas Edison State University

Trenton, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%
7

California State University, Monterey Bay

Seaside, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%
8

South Texas College

McAllen, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 22%
9

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%
10

National University

La Jolla, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 36%

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Program?

The best online bachelor's in computer science programs provide core technical training while also teaching students the soft skills needed to work in a variety of industries.

Most online bachelor's in computer science programs require approximately 120 credits and take four years to complete. However, many online colleges offer two-year completion programs for associate degree-holders. Similarly, distance learners can enroll in accelerated tracks, taking eight-week classes throughout the year to graduate more quickly.

The best online bachelor's in computer science programs provide core technical training while also teaching students the soft skills needed to work in a variety of industries. Required coursework covers topics such as operating systems, computer networks, and database design and management. Students also learn how to communicate technical information to diverse audiences and think critically about ethical issues in IT.

Learners pursuing a bachelor of science take advanced courses that focus on a specific subfield like cybersecurity or data science. Students who pursue a bachelor of arts generally have more freedom to use their electives to learn a foreign language and pursue a complementary minor or second major.

All computer science students apply newly learned knowledge in laboratory sessions, coding applications and engaging with pertinent technological issues. Most programs culminate in either a capstone course or research project.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Program?

Online bachelor's in computer science programs teach students the core IT theories and practical skills needed for entry-level IT jobs and graduate programs. Required coursework rarely deviates from foundational topics like discrete mathematics and programming languages. However, curricula can vary based on faculty expertise and degree type.

Computer Programming

This foundational course covers introductory topics like computer networks and architecture. Students learn to implement key algorithms, using parallelization techniques and functional decomposition. Learners also use C++ to solve IT/engineering problems and write computer programs. Depending on the school, learners may also delve into object-oriented programming, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

Data Structures and Algorithms

In this core class, students learn to create data structures for efficient computer programs that can tackle complex user needs. Covered topics include binary trees, hash tables, skiplists, sorting algorithms, and array-based lists. The course also teaches learners to conduct comparative analysis of common structures and algorithms.

Operating Systems

Students who take this course gain an in-depth understanding of how modern operating systems function internally. Learners delve into relevant hardware concepts like microprogramming, I/O channels, and memory hierarchy. The class also covers threads and processes, as well as file types and memory management.

Database Management

This course teaches learners how computer systems store data, with an emphasis on SQL as a means to manage and retrieve information from relational databases. Students learn how to use PHP to design secure and interactive database applications. Additional topics include user privacy and other ethical issues.

Network Security Fundamentals

In this course, students receive an introduction to common network vulnerabilities and attacks, as well as current defense strategies. Through seminal research and case studies, students learn to analyze the mindsets of cybercriminals and terrorist organizations. This class also covers intrusion detection systems, botnets, cryptography, firewalls, and authentication protocols.

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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Degree?

Ever-changing technology connects the world and drives business operations in nearly every industry. The BLS projects that IT occupations will grow by 11% between 2019 and 2029.

With a bachelor's in computer science, you can work as a full-stack developer, information security analyst, database programmer, or UI/UX designer. There are also opportunities in adjacent fields like healthcare administration, project management, and digital marketing.

See where a bachelor's in computer science can take you. Learn more about computer science careers on this page.

Software Development

Software developers create applications for desktop and mobile technologies, as well as the underlying operating systems that run these computing devices. Professionals in this field work for software publishers, IT facilities management services, manufacturing companies, and insurance providers. Although software development is traditionally a collaborative process that requires teams of programmers and designers, some developers work from home as freelancers.

Web Design

Web designers can specialize in front-end development (the look and content of the sites) or back-end development (the codes that enable a site to perform designated functions). Full-stack web developers know how to do both. These professionals can work on teams for IT publishers and related service providers or pursue self-employment as freelancers.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing technology allows users to access computing resources like networking capabilities, data storage, and development tools through the internet. These on-demand services save companies the cost of maintaining necessary software and hardware. To succeed in the cloud computing industry, professionals must learn how to use major platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

Information Security

Thanks to 31% projected growth between 2019 and 2029, information security analysts enjoy one of the fastest growing careers in the United States. Professionals in this field oversee the multi-tiered defense strategies that protect IT developers and insurance companies from increasingly frequent cyberattacks.

Project Management

Computer and information systems managers oversee their company's IT department, assessing organizational needs, creating budgets, and hiring and training employees. They also coordinate teams on special projects related to hardware installation, application development, business analytics, and network upgrades. IT project managers generally work from their office, but may travel and work with teams in the field at crucial points during the project cycle.

Computer Science Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Computer Science Programs

Should I get a BA or BS in computer science?

Both a BA and BS in computer science programs teach students the IT theories and practices needed for entry-level careers and graduate programs. A BA offers a flexible, humanities-focused curriculum that may benefit learners with career goals in digital marketing and communications. BS programs focus on technical skill development, which is ideal for prospective computer programmers and software developers. However, employers generally do not prefer one over the other.

Is a computer science bachelor's degree worth it?

Each degree's worth depends on each student's interests and goals. The BLS projects that computer and information technology careers will grow by 11% between 2019 and 2029. As IT industries continue to evolve, professionals can find employment opportunities in emerging fields like cloud computing, cryptocurrency engineering, and AI deep learning.

What can I do with a bachelor's in computer science?

Many graduates with computer science degrees pursue standard career paths in software development, web design, and database administration. They also find opportunities in cybersecurity, working as penetration testers and IT auditors. By earning graduate degrees and industry certifications, professionals can advance into leadership positions like chief information officer.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in computer science degree?

The median annual wage for computer and information technology professionals is $88,240. However, salaries vary based on occupation and industry, with software developers, network architects, and IT research scientists enjoying the highest pay. Earning potential also depends on geographical location, employer, and personal qualifications.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in computer science?

With a median annual salary of $112,690, computer network architect is the most lucrative career for professionals with a bachelor's in computer science. Software developers earn $107,510 each year, while information security analysts make $99,730 annually.