Associates in Computer Science Online Degree Programs for 2022

Associate Degree in Computer Science Career Options & Salary

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Computer science is a broad field that includes a range of fields that degree holders can enter including artificial intelligence, graphics, hardware design and computer engineering, computer support, algorithms, database systems and database management, online - web development, and software development. There have been computer scientists hard at work since at least the 1940s and WWII, when the first electronic computing devices were created. However, the notion of programming concepts and programming languages dates all the way back to Ada Lovelace, a woman who wrote the first program for a binary system. That was in the 1840s. Today, you can continue her bold tradition by earning an associate degree in computer science. These associate in computer science programs come in the form of an Associate of Arts degree (AA degree), an Associate of Science degree, or an associate of applied science degree. Many of these programs, with their focus on the virtual world, are available through 100% online degrees or those with online learning components.

Full-time study in a two-year degree in the computer science field is a terrific way for science graduates to launch their career with entry-level computer science jobs. You could decide to focus on software or computer programming, or you might decide that online or system cyber security is more interesting. Others can take their two-year degrees and become technical writers who translate computer languages into English for the rest of us. No matter which direction you choose, you can forge a brilliant career with an online or traditional associate degree in computer science. An associate degree in computer science is likely to offer at least some of these core computer science classes to provide a strong foundation for computer science students to begin a career or continue on to a four-year university.

  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Computer Systems and Computer Support
  • Itroduction to Programming Fundamentals
  • Database Theory and Database Systems
  • Database Management
  • Algorithms and Algorithm Analysis
  • Web Development
  • Computer Programming
  • General Engineering Concepts
  • And More

These core computer science classes, offered by online and in-person degree programs all over the U.S., will teach prospective computer science graduates everything they need to get started in entry-level computer science jobs. These include jobs as web developers, a support specialist, or a database administrator. To work in a higher-level position, such as that of cloud computing engineers, students will need to complete a higher-level computer science program.

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PROS

  • There are many positive aspects to earning an associate degree in computer science — Both an associate of arts degree and an associate of science degree are often quite affordable, take only two years to complete, and allow you to get a jump start on your career. If you take your courses online or in-person through a community college, you'll likely find that your per-credit costs are far below those of a public, four-year university.
  • Once students graduate and become degree holders, usually in a mere two years — they can get straight to work in an IT department or for a start-up company. That will put you ahead of your friends who opted for a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, you can get started on online professional certificates after earning your associate degree, such as those for a support specialist or web developers, which can often mean as much as a degree. Your employer might even help you pay for those certificates, too.
  • Since you'll have a degree — you'll have a strong foundation that will allow you to return to a college or four-year university to complete a bachelor's degree, should you desire. Your experience and certificates will help with your application and give you a head start on completing this higher level of education. Before you know it, you'll be in graduate school. These degree levels also have many options for students who wish to attend online.

CONS

  • An associate degree in computer science does have drawbacks — One of the main drawbacks is that employers often prefer a bachelor's degree for new hires. A two-year degree might also prevent you from earning a professional certificate, since a higher degree is required for many professional certificates.
  • You might also find that your starting — pay is a bit lower than your colleagues who have four-year degrees and you will only have access to entry-level computer science jobs. This is simply because they have more academic training. Your two-year degree may also prevent you from studying certain concentrations, such as cyber security, which are more easily available at larger, four-year schools.
  • Since bachelor's degrees are increasingly — seen as a minimum requirement for employment, an associate degree might not get you where you want to go. However, it is still possible to earn certain certificates and gain experience even with a two-year degree.

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Certificate Vs. Associate's


A certificate is another option that you might consider. Whether online or in-person, they take less time to complete and provide your resume with entry-level credentials to help you land that first job. While some certificates do require that you have a degree, many community colleges offer one-year certificates in computer science or information technology and have very minimal requirements for entry into these programs. These are great options for those who are eager to get started on a career in technology, or those who already have a degree but want additional credentials to enhance their current position or to launch a new career.

Though a full associate degree is preferred, a certificate program will give you college credits. That means that you can build on those credits later if you wish to pursue higher academic credentials.

What Computer Science Associate Degrees are Available?


  • Associate of Science (AS):
    This is perhaps the most common associate degree. These degrees include coursework in common core courses such as humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. Your computer science work for this degree will rely on scholarly research and sources, which a four-year institution is sure to appreciate. If you wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the future, this is probably your best choice.
  • Associate in Applied Science (AAS):
    Applied science degrees focus more on occupational concerns than academic research. This means that, when you graduate, your knowledge will be more immediately applicable to the workplace. However, if you're thinking of pursuing a bachelor's degree later, you might find that you need to take more courses, or re-take certain classes, prior to attaining a full admission to a four-year institution.
  • Associate of Applied Business (AAB):
    These degrees will provide you with the fundamental skills businesses are looking for. You'll learn about topics such as programming, networking, software development, and other technological areas. Some programs offer these degrees as a first-step toward other concentrations, such as cyber security.

Admission Requirements


While most community colleges have an open enrollment program, you will probably still need to have a high school diploma or GED to gain admittance. Since computer science is highly technical, you will probably also want to have a strong background in mathematics. If you know you want to study computer science while you are still in high school, you should try to enroll in as many computer-related courses as you can.

While you might not need a specific SAT or ACT score to gain entry into an associate degree program, it’s never a bad idea to take whichever exam is most prevalent in your area. This way you can use the scores to help bolster your admissions packet. You'll also be able to gain an idea of what four-year schools you might consider attending.

How long does it take to earn an Associate Degree in Computer Science?


Associate degrees are typically structured to be completed in two years, assuming students take a full load of classes. You should do whatever you can to finish in that time, since the sooner you graduate the faster you can apply your degree to a job. However, many students still need to work part- or full-time to support themselves or a family, so they may need to take a bit longer to complete their degrees.

If you need to take more time for your degree, try to land a job in an IT department or any high tech firm while you go to school. Even if you are working as a support staff administrator, you can let your employer know your plans. They may offer some help with tuition or help you ease into your new field.

Potential Careers in Computer Science with an Associate Degree


  • Computer Programmer:
    After you learn, and achieve proficiency in, a few programming languages, you can work as a programmer. There are a wide range of projects and companies who need these skills. To start, you might be assigned to troubleshooting code or writing smaller scripts or subroutines. Eventually, you'll be able to work on larger software development projects.
  • Web Developer:
    Web developers work on the back-end of websites. While you might need to do some front-end work on the CSS or HTML, your primary job will be to create the widgets and other technical aspects of a website. In addition to CSS and HTML, you will be well served by knowing PHP, JavaScript, Java, and even Python. However, you should also be prepared to learn new languages as needed.
  • Mobile Application Developer:
    There's an app for everything, which is why there's a huge demand for mobile application developers. Look for work with a team that specializes in these types of programs so that you can build a specialty. You'll need to know how to develop for both Android and iOS, but later you might find yourself specializing and leading teams for one or the other platform.
  • Network Administrator:
    It seems like nearly every firm these days has a network, and they need someone to oversee network operations. Your computer science degree will pay off as it will give you the familiarity with database programs, server systems, and even cyber security that you need to land these positions. To ensure a long career, you should earn and keep network certificates current.
  • Computer Security:
    Cyber security is increasingly in the news, and businesses everywhere want to protect themselves from outside attacks. If this intrigues you, you should seek out a program that is considered a Center of Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency. You can also pursue different career paths such as penetration tester, forensics investigator, or cyber security consultant.
  • Technical Writer:
    This is a job that isn't always obvious to students. However, if you have a penchant for the written word and love technology, this is a great field to investigate. You will provide documentation for coders or instructions for end-users. The field is varied and will help you meld your learning from those humanities courses with what you know from your technology coursework.

Salary by Occupation


Occupation Entry-Level Mid-Career Late Career
Computer Network Architects $82,500 $110,200 $131,800
Computer programmer $55,800 $70,300 $85,900
Computer Systems Analysts $56,100 $71,100 $85,200
Data Engineer $77,100 $103,900 $114,400
Data Architect $68,600 $108,900 $131,200
Information Security Analyst $59,700 $82,100 $101,700
Security Engineer $71,600 $100,600 $116,000
Information Systems Analysts $57,100 $70,700 $80,100
Web Developers $52,700 $76,700 $98,600
Data Scientist, IT $74,200 $98,500 $142,500
Mobile Applications Developer $60,700 $87,600 $107,900
Systems Administrator $51,300 $63,900 $75,200

Options to Advance


When you enter your field, you need to know that there's room to grow. After all, nobody wants to sit in an entry-level job forever. With a computer science degree, you'll have lots of opportunity to advance your career, raise your salary, and enjoy even greater professional fulfillment.

To ensure that you get ahead, you'll need to keep learning more and more. You can learn some things on your own, such as programming languages or even new technological tools. This added knowledge can be immediately applied in your job and will impress your boss when it comes time for yearly reviews. However, if you are seeking a new job, it will be to your advantage if you also achieve a certificate that demonstrates your new skillset to those you don’t work for. Constantly improving your resume is the best way to garner attention from those companies you are most interested in working for.

Eventually, you will probably want to return to school for a bachelor's degree. When you begin a four-year degree in computer science, you can focus on whatever specialty area you've developed on the job, whether that's software development, networking, or cyber security.

What are the Best Online Associate of Science in Computer Science Programs?


1

Franklin University

  • Tuition
    • In-State:$9,577
    • Out-of-state:$9,577
  • Net Price:$7,658
  • Retention Rate:9%
  • Graduation Rate:42%
  • Total Enrollment:5,926
  • Undergrad Students:4,008
  • Graduate Students:1,918
  • Diplomas Awarded:6
  • Grads Salary:$48,500
  • Student-to-faculty:13:1
  • Franklin University
2

Weber State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,956
    • Out-of-state: $16,138
  • Net Price: $11,767
  • Retention Rate: 66%
  • Graduation Rate: 36%
  • Total Enrollment: 29,596
  • Undergrad Students: 28,685
  • Graduate Students: 911
  • Diplomas Awarded: 107
  • Grads Salary: $44,500
  • Student-to-faculty: 21:1
  • Weber State University
3

Park University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $11,929
    • Out-of-state: $11,929
  • Net Price: $15,470
  • Retention Rate: 63%
  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Total Enrollment: 10,165
  • Undergrad Students: 8,504
  • Graduate Students: 1,661
  • Diplomas Awarded: 11
  • Grads Salary: $45,900
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • Park University
4

University of Arkansas Grantham

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,280
    • Out-of-state: $8,280
  • Net Price: $9,303
  • Retention Rate: 53%
  • Graduation Rate: 22%
  • Total Enrollment: 6,465
  • Undergrad Students: 5,319
  • Graduate Students: 1,146
  • Diplomas Awarded: 53
  • Grads Salary: $47,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • University of Arkansas Grantham
5

Lake Superior College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,334
    • Out-of-state: $5,334
  • Net Price: $13,737
  • Retention Rate: 59%
  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Total Enrollment: 5,230
  • Undergrad Students: 5,230
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 3
  • Grads Salary: $38,100
  • Student-to-faculty: 20:1
  • Lake Superior College
6

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $9,650
    • Out-of-state: $9,650
  • Net Price: $41,217
  • Retention Rate: 67%
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,34,345
  • Undergrad Students: 1,11,599
  • Graduate Students: 22,746
  • Diplomas Awarded: 237
  • Grads Salary: $45,400
  • Student-to-faculty: 21:1
  • Southern New Hampshire University
7

Ocean County College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,790
    • Out-of-state: $8,100
  • Net Price: $13,205
  • Retention Rate: 69%
  • Graduation Rate: 38%
  • Total Enrollment: 7,480
  • Undergrad Students: 7,480
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 24
  • Grads Salary: $34,900
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • Ocean County College
8

George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $4,860
    • Out-of-state: $8,850
  • Net Price: $6,107
  • Retention Rate: 63%
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Total Enrollment: 4,985
  • Undergrad Students: 4,985
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 14
  • Grads Salary: $29,200
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville
9

Northern Wyoming Community College District

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $4,290
    • Out-of-state: $10,230
  • Net Price: $8,642
  • Retention Rate: 48%
  • Graduation Rate: 42%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,741
  • Undergrad Students: 3,741
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 11
  • Grads Salary: $33,600
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • Northern Wyoming Community College District
10

Hudson Valley Community College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,964
    • Out-of-state: $10,764
  • Net Price: $7,974
  • Retention Rate: 54%
  • Graduation Rate: 32%
  • Total Enrollment: 8,933
  • Undergrad Students: 8,933
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Diplomas Awarded: 22
  • Grads Salary: $37,100
  • Student-to-faculty: 19:1
  • Hudson Valley Community College
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Computer Science Degrees & Career Paths