How to Become a Computer Scientist in Pennsylvania

Computer Science Education Guide for Pennsylvania

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What is Computer Science?


Choosing a computer science program can be difficult. There are many colleges that offer computer science degrees, and the degree programs vary in terms of the courses offered and the focus of the program. It’s important to find a program that matches your interests and provides the training you need to pursue your career goals.

Pennsylvania is home to a number of the best online colleges and universities that offer computer science degree programs of all kinds. Students can choose from a variety of majors that fall under the computer science umbrella including software engineering, information systems, and computer science. Another important factor to consider is the focus of the program. Some programs focus on theory, while others focus on practical applications. Many colleges also offer both undergraduate and graduate programs, but some only offer one or the other, such as community colleges. If you are interested in pursuing a career in computer science, it’s important to get a degree from a college that offers a comprehensive program

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Online Computer Science Education in Pennsylvania


Some people may not know what a computer science professional is, or you may not know which careers fall under this heading. A computer science professional is someone who usually has a degree in computer science and works in the field of technology. They may work with computer hardware, software, networks, may offer support to others who are having trouble using their computers or maintain databases and analyze data sets to learn new things that can help the company continue to succeed or grow. They may work for a company or work for themselves as a freelancer. Some common tasks that a computer science professional might do include writing code, debugging programs, and designing software. They must have excellent problem-solving skills and be able to think logically.

In the world of computer science, a professional is someone who has attained a level of mastery in their field. They have a deep understanding of the theory behind computing and how to apply it in practice. Professionals work in many different areas of the field, from software development to systems administration. They are also responsible for keeping up with the latest trends and technologies so that they can continue to provide value to their organizations.

Online Associate Degree in Computer Science (AS)

With technology becoming more and more a staple in society, more people are turning to online degrees to gain the skills they need for their desired career. And, with computer science being one of the most in-demand fields today, an online associate degree in computer science can be a great way to jumpstart your career. Additionally, with this degree only taking two years, and around 60 credit hours, to complete, you’ll be able to get started in your new career right away. Online programs may be able to offer an accelerated time frame for those who wish to get started in their careers as soon as possible.

An in-person or online associate degree in computer science will give you a strong foundation in the basics of computer science. You'll learn how to design and develop software, how to solve complex problems, and how to work with different types of technology. This knowledge can be used in a variety of careers in information technology, web development, systems analysis, or software engineering. If you're looking for a career that's constantly evolving and offers plenty of opportunities for growth, then consider getting an online associate degree in computer science.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science (BS)

As technology advances, so does the need for computer experts. Many students are choosing to earn their bachelor's degree in computer science online, which is one option that allows students to continue working while they learn. It will still likely take around four years to complete your degree, which will require around 120 credit hours to be completed. However, some students attend part-time and take an extra year or so. If you already completed an associate degree and need to attend part-time to be able to keep working, it’s important that you know how many of your already earned credit hours will transfer. If you attend a school with a transfer agreement with your previous degree-granting institution, you may be able to skip as much as the first two years of your bachelor’s degree.

The curriculum for any in-person or online computer science degree is very rigorous and covers a wide range of topics, from programming languages to software development. Earning a degree in this field can lead to a variety of exciting careers such as software engineer, systems analyst, or database administrator. And earning a bachelor’s in computer science online will also allow you to earn some certifications, which will only improve your career prospects.

Online Master’s Degree in Computer Science (MA)

Computers are an essential part of our lives. They touch every aspect of them, from the cars we drive to the way we communicate with friends and family. As our reliance on computers grows, so does the demand for individuals with the skills to design, program, and maintain these devices and systems. Earning an online master's degree in computer science can help you meet this demand and qualify for some of the best jobs in the industry, including managerial and supervisory roles.

The field of computer science is constantly evolving, so it's important to choose a program that offers a strong curriculum that will prepare you for current and future trends. Many universities now offer online master's degrees in computer science, which can be a great option for busy working professionals who are already working in their chosen careers and are looking to boost their resumes or people who live far from campus.

Online PhD in Computer Science (PhD)

A computer science PhD online is an excellent way to gain the skills and knowledge you need to work in this exciting and rapidly changing field. Earning your degree online allows you to continue working while you study, though even in-person programs are generally designed for working professionals.

You can also choose from a wide range of specializations, so you can focus on the areas that interest you most. And, because most computer science PhD programs are offered through respected universities, you can be assured of receiving a high-quality education.

Online Computer Science Certifications

If you're interested in a career in computer science, you can choose from many online certificate programs. Some of these programs are more comprehensive, introducing topics such as computer systems, theory, and application. These certificates can be perfect for students who are looking to learn more about a specific subject in order to gain employment in their chosen field or who are looking to spruce up their resume to gain promotions and higher pay. You can often choose between certificates aimed at beginners or those geared toward working professionals.

Many online computer science certificate programs are designed to prepare students for entry-level jobs and further education. Unlike traditional campus-based degree programs, certificate programs typically provide flexibility in scheduling and cost. Distance learners also often save money by avoiding relocation, transportation, and temporary housing expenses. The downside of online certificate programs is that they don't offer as much faculty guidance as on-campus programs. This means that students must have high levels of self-discipline to succeed.

Those who are looking to earn vendor-specific certifications usually don’t have any option except to earn them online. As these certifications are offered by businesses, they are not accessible through most colleges or universities. They are specifically meant for professionals who know they will be using certain software. There are non-vendor specific certifications that teach techniques and methods and, depending on your job, you might need a combination of both.

Become a Computer Scientist in Pennsylvania


In order to become a computer science professional in Pennsylvania, there are a few steps that you might want to take. While it used to be true that a formal education was not required to succeed in the computer science industry, this has changed in recent years. Now, most businesses are looking for workers who have at least some level of education.

  • Step 1: Obtain a bachelor's degree in computer science from an accredited university

    In order to obtain a bachelor's degree in computer science from an accredited university, one must ensure that their institution is properly accredited and meet all the requirements for graduation. Typically, this entails taking classes in areas like programming, system analysis, and software engineering. It is one of the best ways to gain the skills needed for a career in the tech industry.

  • Step 2: Gain experience in the field

    In order to gain experience in the field of computer science, there are many options for someone just starting out. One way to gain experience is to find a school that helps graduates with placements. These institutions purposefully build connections with local businesses so that they can help new graduates find jobs. You can also do your best to find an internship while you are still completing your education. Some schools go out of their way to help you find internship opportunities, but you can also do the hard work yourself, looking for a company in an industry you are interested in or finding a local company that is willing to let you shadow their IT department to gain some experience. Finally, participating in online forums and groups can give people the opportunity to ask questions and learn from others who are also interested in computer science.

  • Step 3: Pursue a master's degree in computer science

    A computer science degree can open up many opportunities in the tech industry. With a master's degree, you could pursue a career in a number of different fields such as software development, system analysis, or network administration. The coursework for a computer science master's degree varies depending on the school you attend but you can expect to study topics like cyber security, artificial intelligence, and big data. This can be a good opportunity to shift your career into a new field. If you previously worked in database administration, you could move into cyber security in order to ensure job security for yourself far into the future.

  • Step 4: Stay up to date on the latest technology trends and developments in the computer science field

    The computer science field is always rapidly changing and, in order to stay up to date on the latest technology trends and developments, it’s important to keep track of the latest news and research. By doing so, you can ensure that your skills are current and that you are aware of the latest tools and technologies that are available to you. In addition, following tech news can help you stay ahead of the curve in terms of new career opportunities. Added to this is the fact that you may have to take at least some continuing education courses in order to maintain your certifications.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Computer Science?


A computer science degree can lead to a variety of interesting and lucrative careers. With this degree, you can work as a software engineer, database administrator, network engineer, information security analyst, and more. In order to land one of these positions, you will need to have strong programming skills, experience in systems analysis and design, and knowledge of how to manage and secure networks. Many computer science graduates go on to pursue graduate degrees in related fields such as information technology or engineering.

Potential Careers for CS Graduates


  • Systems Analyst:

    A systems analyst is responsible for the analysis, design, and implementation of computerized systems. He or she works with clients to identify their business needs and then designs systems to meet those needs. The analyst also develops test plans to ensure that the systems meet the requirements of the users.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field
    • Experience with system analysis and design
    • Strong problem-solving skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for computer systems analysts in the US in 2021 was $99,270
    • The mean annual wage for computer systems analysts in Pennsylvania is $95,800
  • Technical Support Specialist / IT Support Specialist:

    A technical support specialist provides technical support to users by researching and answering questions, troubleshooting problems, maintaining equipment and software, and training users.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Proven experience as a Technical Support Specialist or similar role
    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    • Good problem-solving abilities
    • Ability to work independently
    • Strong technical skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for computer user support specialists in the US in 2021 was $57,910
    • The mean annual wage for computer user support specialists in Pennsylvania is $57,440
  • Technology Director:

    A technology director is responsible for leading the company's technology team and initiatives. They collaborate with other departments to identify and implement technology solutions that support the company's business goals and they oversee the budget for all technology projects and ensure that they are completed on time and within budget.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Proven experience leading a technology team
    • Strong technical background
    • Excellent communication and project management skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers in the US in 2021 was $159,010
    • The mean annual wage for computer and information systems managers in Pennsylvania is $146,970
  • Application Developer:

    An application developer will be responsible for developing and maintaining software applications. They will work with a team of developers to create new features and enhancements, and will also be responsible for bug fixing and troubleshooting.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or related field
    • 2+ years of experience in software development
    • Proficient in Java, JavaScript, and HTML/CSS

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers in the US in 2021 was $110,140
    • The mean annual wage for software developers in Pennsylvania is $105,550
  • Senior Database Administrator:

    A senior database administrator will be responsible for the administration, configuration, and maintenance of databases. They will also be responsible for ensuring the availability, performance, and security of databases.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field
    • 5+ years of experience in database administration
    • Knowledge of database management systems (DBMS), database architecture, and database security
    • Strong problem-solving skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for database administrators and architects in the US in 2020 was $98,860
    • The mean annual wage for database administrators in Pennsylvania is $82,000 and database architects earn $106,480
  • Data Scientist:

    A data scientist will be responsible for developing and implementing data science solutions to business problems. They will work with large data sets to find trends, develop predictive models, and create visualizations to help business decision makers understand the data. A data scientist will also be responsible for communicating their findings to non-technical audiences.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Strong analytical and problem solving skills
    • Experience with statistical analysis and predictive modeling
    • Experience with data visualization tools (e.g. Tableau, D3.js)
    • Strong communication skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for data scientists in the US in 2021 was $100,910
    • The mean annual wage for data scientists in Pennsylvania is $92,760
  • Web Designer & Developer:

    A web designer much be a creative and innovative individual who designs and develops websites, both on the back end, where widgets and software will be put into use, and the front end, where customers will interact with various parts of the website, such as a contact page or cart. They will create websites that are both user-friendly and visually appealing and will also be required to maintain and update existing websites.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Proven experience as a web designer or developer
    • Excellent web development and design skills
    • A good understanding of user experience and web accessibility
    • Strong attention to detail

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for web developers and digital designers in the US in 2020 was $77,200
    • The mean annual wage for web developers in Pennsylvania is $73,930 and web and digital interface designers earn $70,600
  • Software Designer:

    A software designer is responsible for creating new software applications and improving existing ones. They work closely with software developers and engineers to ensure that the applications they design are functional and meet customer needs.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field
    • Experience with software design and development
    • Strong problem-solving skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers in the US in 2020 was $110,140
    • The mean annual wage for software developers in Pennsylvania is $105,550
  • Full Stack Software Developer:

    Full-stack software developers are responsible for developing and managing software applications. They work with a variety of programming languages and tools to create software that meets the needs of users.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field
    • Experience with multiple programming languages and tools
    • Strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers in the US in 2020 was $110,140
    • The mean annual wage for software developers in Pennsylvania is $105,550
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