What is Computer Science?
Missouri has a diverse economy with services and manufacturing among the top grossing industries. Aerospace and transportation are also current high-growth business sectors. These computer science intensive industries will provide jobs for computer science professionals for years to come. Education, healthcare, and finance are also substantial contributors to the state’s economic output and can be expected to hire information management professionals, cyber security workers, and more to keep their data accessible and safe.
Both public/private and non-profit organizations use computer technology in many essential ways. Data, communications, networks, and databases are among the constant elements of all organizations. Social services and health providers need extensive levels of software systems and computerized networks and they also have strict requirements for privacy and cyber security.
The vibrant economy of Missouri offers many opportunities for students with a computer science degree. Overall, the economic structure reflects the national shift towards public and private organizations that are more and more connected to and reliant on computer science. Missouri has a strong farming tradition - it ranks with Texas for the largest number of farms in the nation - yet business and professional services is the leading economic sector.
Online Computer Science Education in Missouri
The demand for computer science professionals is high in industries that use information technology, databases, and large amounts of information. Manufacturing concerns requires computer science graduates to staff management and production roles involving software, controls, and computer engineering. With all computer-based and internet processes, cyber security is also a top-of-mind concern. Computer science students can enter the high-demand fields of cyber security and information technology with very little education.
Missouri ranks in the top third of all states with the size of its information industry. Computer science professionals play key roles in information technology including computer engineering, software engineering, electrical engineering, intelligent systems, and autonomous systems. Students in Missouri can study computer science at all levels, from associate degrees to doctoral programs.
Students can also attend computer science education programs in-person, online, or in a combination of on-campus and remote learning. The best colleges in Missouri have accreditation for the whole institution and specific recognition of computer science programs. Accreditation adds value to a computer science degree and helps students advance further in their education and career.
Computer science includes the study computers and computational systems. Computer science professionals apply theory, design, software applications, and computer hardware systems to create tools and solutions and they can work in nearly every type of industry. However, they are most needed in research and development, government agencies, software publishing companies, database management, and computer systems design businesses.
Some associate degree holders enter the field in developmental roles, though the bachelor’s degree is the widely accepted entry-level degree. Employers that have large or complex computer systems may prefer candidates with master’s degrees in computer science as they must use expert knowledge to test systems and ensure security. Their roles include designing programming projects, performing project management, and developing computer networks.
Online Associate Degree in Computer Science (AS)
An online Associate of Science in Computer Science degree is a short-term educational program that requires about sixty credit hours of study. Students can attend in person or online, and full-time students can complete the degree in about two years. Students will study general education courses in social sciences, English, and communications, among others.
Typically, students study math, science, and statistics to prepare them for computer courses. The computer science coursework introduces students to computing requirements like coding languages, programming, and software access and security. Beyond basic knowledge, students can use electives to focus on one or more subjects like introductory software programming, computer networks, or database security.
An associate degree can be an entry-level educational achievement. Graduates can gain access to specialist roles and assistant type positions that will provide on-the-job experience and education, or they could apply for computer support specialist positions that help perform system maintenance and manage updates. Web developer roles require coding skills to build websites and help maintain them and are more commonly earned by bachelor’s degree holders or those who have excellent portfolios of their existing work.
An associate degree is also an excellent place to start from if you hope to earn a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution that will further expand job and career options.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science (BS)
An online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is a four-year degree. Students must often complete between 120 to 130 credit hours of study in order to graduate. They can use electives to engage areas of interest like interactive computer graphics or testing and cyber security to expand their knowledge base. Missouri students can also take advantage of the extensive computer integration in Missouri businesses and organizations to get experiential learning by seeking internships and practical projects.
A bachelor’s degree opens a wide range of career and job possibilities as the curriculum includes essential topics. Typical core coursework includes computer programming, computer architecture, software development, network science, and software engineering, among others.
A BS in Computer Science is also a flexible degree. Graduates can work as computer programmers, software developers, information systems managers, and in many other computer science professional positions. A bachelor’s degree is also a prerequisites for a master’s degree and in-depth study in one or more fields of computer science.
Online Master's Degree in Computer Science (MS)
An online Master of Science in Computer Science is a one to two-year degree program. The coursework required ranges from 30 to 60 hours, depending largely on whether the program requires master’s project. Typical master’s degree coursework in this field includes machine learning, programming, software engineering, database management, advanced computer architecture, and advanced algorithms.
Master’s degree holders qualify for senior-level positions like computer network architects, computer hardware engineers, and computer/information research scientists. Schools offer concentrations in one or more areas of study such as cyber security, hardware engineering, or business strategies.
Master’s degree candidates can use electives to concentrate on fields of interest including intelligent systems, autonomous systems, current database systems, database management systems, intrusion detection systems, and electrical & computer engineering.
A master’s project is an opportunity to display research skills and knowledge by contributing solutions through original research. Employers and government agencies widely accept a master’s degree as a terminal degree, though it does support further study for those interested in advanced research and academic roles.
Online PhD Degree in Computer Science (PhD)
A PhD requires a master’s degree to begin and 4 to 5 years of full-time study to complete. Students will need to complete about 75-90 credit hours and they must complete coursework, pass subject matter exams, and create research papers. The scope of PhD studies in computer science is as diverse as the field itself and students can also develop interdisciplinary approaches. Candidates must then make a contribution to the body of knowledge by researching, writing, and defending a doctoral thesis.
Doctoral level specializations include advanced computer architectures, software automation, design of software, high-performance computing, complex computing, and computing theories.
A PhD or Doctor of Computer Science is not a requirement for entry into any field of computer science, but a doctorate has an essential role in academic settings. PhDs can teach at four-year colleges and graduate schools. A PhD is also an excellent qualification for educational leadership roles in practice and policy and can signify a high level of expertise for those in the role of computer science consultant.
Become a CIS Professional in Missouri
Education is an excellent way to qualify for entry-level and senior computer science professional roles. An associate degree can open opportunities for programmers, technicians, and in-house systems analysts, though a bachelor’s degree is the widely accepted entry-level qualification. Students can blend the bachelor’s degree studies into a focus on one or more fields.
A BS in Computer Science opens roles like software engineer, artificial intelligence engineer, and computer programmer. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees also help graduates enter new and dynamic fields like machine leaning and artificial intelligence.
Students can also use certificates to demonstrate their knowledge and ability in specific or general areas of computer science. Certificates can be helpful for non-computer science majors to broaden their options for jobs and careers and even break into the computer science field. Certifications are often supported by education combined with experience, which provides a substantial advantage for students and graduates.
Potential Careers for Computer Science Graduates
- IT Project Managers are skilled computer science professionals that plan and manage information technology efforts. A project has a stated goal, resources, and timetables for achievement. Project managers oversee and participate in every stage of the process including budget and controls, staffing, hiring, and delegating work and authority. They can specialize in one or more areas such as software project management, construction management, and IT project management. Project managers must interface with project staff, organizational management, and stakeholders and communication skills are essential for success in this field.
Big Data Analysts work with the highest volumes of data. Modern corporations and organizations can gather enormous volumes of information including from social media, questionnaires, public records, and commercial transactions. The Internet of Things consists of machines and devices that gather information. Big data analysts work with structured information such as corporate databases and unstructured information like comments and postings on social media. The accumulations of data have global sources and can be extremely valuable. Many businesses operate with big data as one of their primary assets. Big data analyst specialize in developing useful information products from big data.
Similar and related professions are:
- Senior Database Administrator
- Data Scientist
Software Developers work with the front and back ends of an application. The server side is the back end of the application, and the front end is the client side. Full stack developers use a wide range of coding languages and must also have expertise in databases, graphic design, and interface management. They take part in the entire development process. They must be adept at testing, detecting flaws, and maintaining systems.
Similar and related professions include:
- Software Designer
- Software Engineer
- Web Designer & Developer
- Security Consultants (cyber security) are key sources of information for corporate or organizational management. Databases are important resources and organizations must protect them against unauthorized access and usage. Cyber security threats seem to magnify as societies and businesses become more dependent on computer technology and the proliferation of information and big data. Security consultants are experts in computer science and information technology, and they play important roles in building security systems and assessing vulnerabilities. Security consultants protect systems and may also test for penetrations and exploits.
- Computer Science Professor is a key role in education; professors teach the next generation of college faculty as well as the next generation of computer professionals. PhDs are necessary to teach college computer since majors and computer science graduate students. Schools may also prefer those that have some specialized experience or significant research. Professors may also have roles outside of academia. Computer science professors can be policy leaders, education leaders, and expert consultants for public and private organizations. Computer science research is a critical field and in high demand.