Bachelor’s in Computer Science Degrees & Programs Guide

Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science Career Options & Salary

Are you considering a career in computer science? If you enjoy working with computers and have an aptitude for learning how new technology works quickly, a bachelor’s degree in computer science may be a good fit for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12% from 2018 to 2028. That’s much faster than the average for all other occupations.

Depending on the specific degree earned, graduates in this field can pursue a wide variety of exciting career paths. Some of the most prominent professions in the field include:

Read More

Computer Science Degrees & Career Paths


thumbs-up

PROS

  • There are several reasons people choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science. First and foremost, it’s usually the entry-level degree for the field. Most employers expect candidates to have, at a minimum, successfully completed an undergraduate program in computer science or a related field. While some entry-level positions are available to those with associate degrees, these jobs typically pay less and offer fewer opportunities for advancement in the future. Those without an undergraduate degree should also realize they will be competing with those who do have one, potentially making it even more difficult to find employment.
  • Earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science is essential for individuals interested in pursuing team leading and management positions. The most advanced employment opportunities generally require candidates to possess a master’s degree, which cannot be attained without first earning a bachelor’s degree.
  • Additionally, many computer science professionals require one or more certifications to be successful or advance in the field. While requirements vary, it is not uncommon for certifying bodies to limit candidates based on level of education. A bachelor’s is usually the minimum requirement for these.

CONS

  • There are a few reasons some may hesitate to earn a bachelor’s in computer science instead of settling for an associate degree. One factor is time in school. Most full-time undergraduate students need at least four years to complete the coursework. Part-time students may need up to six years to meet graduation requirements. It is important to realize, however, that an associate degree is not enough formal education to qualify candidates for many jobs in the field. You may gain entry only to find that you are stuck in a low-level position.
  • It is also worth noting that many computer science professionals pursue graduate degrees. This often makes it easier to find work, ensures qualification for certifications, and increases salary prospects. Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that employers tend to pay employees more when they have graduate degrees. Not only do professionals with a master’s degree make more money each year, but they also become more marketable. While a bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum education requirement, it may not be enough to secure the higher-level job or pay you desire.

Certificate Vs. Bachelor’s


While undergraduate degrees and certifications both offer many career benefits, there are some distinctions worth noting. Bachelor’s degree programs are offered by higher education institutions, whereas certification programs are generally offered by associations, product vendors, or software firms. Degrees are intended to offer a holistic view of the field and cover a wide variety of related topics, as well as including a general education experience. Certifications, on the other hand, expect professionals to verify a specific set of skills to ensure proficiency in a single component or area.

For many computer science professionals, both an undergraduate degree and certifications are necessary for a successful career in the long run. Every job will have different requirements and the decision of which certifications to earn will be largely based on your ultimate occupational goals. Pay close attention to certification program requirements, as many require you to already possess a bachelor’s degree.

There are also some professional or master’s certificate programs available, but enrollment is limited to individuals who have already completed an undergraduate degree and sometimes even a master’s degree. This type of program is intended to further build on a foundation in computer science as a whole, but often the majority of instruction is focused in a specific area or even a specific program or vendor product.

What Computer Science Degrees are Available?


There are two primary types of computer science bachelor’s degrees available. Specific program titles will vary from institution to institution, but most colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degree options. While all of these programs help to prepare graduates for employment in the field, there are several important differences you should be aware of.

Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science


BA programs are generally designed to offer exposure to a variety of liberal arts subjects, including humanities, English, social sciences, and foreign languages. They are flexible and easily customizable with elective course options. Because of this focus on other disciplines, students tend to take fewer credits directly linked to computer science.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science


BS programs, on the other hand, are usually more focused on a specific scientific or technical subject. The primary concentration is on building practical expertise, so less time is spent exploring liberal arts subjects. Because programs generally require more credits in computer science, students have fewer opportunities to explore topics outside of their major.

The type of computer science degree you choose will ultimately depend on the job you hope to attain. Some example programs include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Mathematics in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Security in Computer Science

Admission Requirements to Enter a Computer Science B.S. Program


Most colleges and universities have requirements that potential undergraduate students must complete before being admitted. Every institution is different, but the most common requirements include:

  • Official High School Transcripts
  • Application and Fees
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Personal Statement or Supplemental Essay
  • Scores from College Entrance Exams (SAT, ACT, etc.)

Depending on your institution, there may also be a number of program entrance requirements. Some programs only accept sophomores or juniors who have already completed their general education and have certain course prerequisites. These vary but may need to be completed before officially designating computer science as your major. Prerequisite courses are usually basic, classes you will take at any liberal arts school.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science?


Generally speaking, most bachelor’s degrees in computer science take approximately four years for full-time students to complete. Traditional programs usually consist of 120 credit hours of coursework, or approximately 40 college courses. It is important to note that some institutions offer accelerated degree programs, often designed to help students earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously and in less time. Some high schools also offer college credit for certain courses, which can shorten the graduation timeframe.

It is important to realize, however, that students enrolled part-time are unlikely to graduate within four years. Those taking only a few classes per semester typically graduate within five to eight years.

Potential Careers in Computer Science with a Bachelor’s Degree


There are numerous employment opportunities available to individuals who earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Some of the most popular job options include computer programmer, computer and information research scientist, information security analyst, software developer, and web developer.

Computer Programmer


Computer programmers are responsible for writing and testing code that allows computer applications and software to function properly. They also turn program designs into instructions that can be easily followed by computers. Additionally, these professionals test new applications to ensure they produce expected results. The average salary for a computer programmer is $63,000.

Computer and Information Research Scientist


Computer and information research scientists are responsible for inventing and designing new approaches to computing technology. They also find uses for existing technology that’s already available and they study and solve complex problems in computing in a variety of industries. The average salary for a computer and information research scientist is $114,200.

Information Security Analyst


Information security analysts are responsible for planning and carrying out security measures to protect a company or organization’s computer networks and systems. Additionally, these professionals must be able to adapt to the continually changing type and number of cyber-attacks. The average salary for an information security analyst is $71,700.

Software Developer


Software developers are responsible for designing and creating computer programs. Some professionals focus on developing applications that allow people to complete certain tasks when using technology, while others develop underlying devices and network systems. The average salary for a software developer is $71,200.

Web Developer


Web developers are responsible for designing and creating websites. They can be responsible for the technical aspects, such as performance and capacity, as well as how the site looks. Additionally, these professional may create written content and monitor the website’s speed and user traffic. The average salary for a web developer is $59,300.

Options to Advance


Options for advancement vary depending on which specific computer science occupation you seek. Many professionals choose to pursue graduate degrees and various certifications in order to qualify for management positions. Continuing education is also a great way to become a more competitive candidate for promotions. Years of experience also tends to play an important role when looking for career advancement opportunities.

Colleges That Offer Traditional Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science


There are many institutions that offer traditional bachelor’s degrees in computer science. Students enrolled in traditional programs take their required classes on campus.

  • Brown University
    Providence, Rhode Island

    Brown University is a 4-year, private institution with a relatively small student body (10,257) and an excellent student-to-teacher ratio at 6 to 1.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Master’s Degree
    • Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degree
    • Mathematics and Computer Science – Master’s Degree
  • Duke University
    Durham, North Carolina

    Duke University offers a wide variety of degree options for students interested in computer science. Students pursuing a BS degree can tailor their program of study with concentrations, including computer systems and data science. Additionally, Duke University also offers three related interdepartmental majors (IDMs) that encompass two academic disciplines.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Computer Science – Bachelor’s Degree (BA & BS)
    • Interdepartmental Major in Statistics and Computer Science on Data Science
    • Interdepartmental Major in Linguistics and Computer Science
    • Interdepartmental Major in Math and Computer Science on Data Science
  • Stanford University
    Stanford, California

    Stanford University offers a great degree program in computer science. It offers broad and rigorous training perfect for individuals interested in this subject. Students can also choose between several tracks to help them develop skills in a particular specialization. Tracks include Artificial Intelligence, Theory, Systems, Human-Computer Interaction, Graphics, Information, and Biocomputation.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degree

Colleges That Offer Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science


There are many institutions that offer distance learning bachelor’s degrees in computer science. Students enrolled in these programs are able to take courses online from anywhere in the world.

  • Oregon State University
    Corvallis, Oregon

    Oregon State University offers an online computer science degree option. The program helps students gain the advanced skill set necessary to thrive in any market and adapt to the changing needs of businesses worldwide. Students have the opportunity to learn from faculty members who have broad, hands-on experience in the field. Networking and building a career portfolio are also priorities.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science
  • Trident University
    Cypress, California

    Trident University offers a computer science degree that is 100% online. It prepares students for productive computer science careers in government, business, industry, and not-for-profit organizations. Graduates will be able to design, implement, and evaluate computer programs and systems. The university also offers a concentration in cybersecurity, which emphasizes advanced technologies to secure information infrastructures.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science
  • Old Dominion University
    Norfolk, Virginia

    Old Dominion University offers a viable online solution for those interested in computer science. Students can choose between a full program and a degree completion program (for students with some college credits). Graduates will gain useful skills in an exciting field that is continually growing worldwide. Curriculum ranges from experimental techniques to engineering methodology.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science
  • University of Florida
    Gainesville, Florida

    The University of Florida offers an online computer science degree through their liberal arts and sciences college. The program encourages students to explore the theoretical foundations of information and computation with considerable freedom through the liberal arts. Graduates will be prepared for a range of career opportunities with great starting salaries.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science
  • Fort Hays State University
    Hays, Kansas

    Fort Hays State University offers several virtual learning programs, including a bachelor’s in computer science. The program curriculum includes numerous components including software, digital storage and retrieval, networks, human-computer interaction, information security, digital design, and electronic media. Graduates are prepared to manage complex information and computing systems.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science