Computer degrees open up a world of opportunities in the fast-growing field of technology. As our world becomes more digital and interconnected, there is a huge demand for skilled professionals who can design, build, and manage computer systems and networks. Whether you’re interested in programming, cybersecurity, computer engineering, or data science, there are many computer-related majors and careers to choose from.
If you are seriously considering taking any of the computer degrees, I have compiled some of the best degrees under this category to help you make an informed choice. Make sure to read on and share this article so that your circle of friends can also benefit from this handy guide!
An Overview of Computer Degrees
Computer technology degrees encompass programs related to computing technology and systems. Here are some of the most common computer majors:
- Computer Science – Focuses on software, systems, algorithms, and the theoretical foundations of computing. Students learn programming languages like Java, Python, C++, etc.
- Computer Engineering – Combination of electrical engineering and computer science. Focuses on hardware and software design for computer systems and networks.
- Information Technology – Practical application of computer systems in business. Prepares students for IT careers like network administration, cybersecurity, database management, etc.
- Computer Information Systems – Blends business and IT. Students learn to use technology to solve business problems and enhance operations.
- Software Engineering – Focuses on large-scale software system design, development, testing and maintenance. Methods for improving software quality and productivity.
- Data Science – Using programming, statistics, and analytics to extract insights from large datasets. Applies concepts from computer science, math, and statistics.
- Computer Graphics & Animation – Focuses on 2D and 3D modeling and animation using specialized software like Maya, Blender, etc. For video game design, visual effects, animated films.
There are also more specialized degrees like artificial intelligence, robotics, human-computer interaction, bioinformatics, and many others under the broad category of computer degrees.
Here’s a Tech Degree Tier List for you:
A Detailed List of Computer Degrees
Here is a more comprehensive list of the many computer degrees available across colleges and universities:
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BSCS) – Core computer science program focused on software engineering, algorithms, programming languages, operating systems, databases, and more.
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT) – Prepares students for IT careers like network administration, cybersecurity, database management, etc. Practical applications of IT.
- Bachelor of Computer Engineering (BCE) – The computer engineering degree is a combination of electrical engineering and computer science focusing on the design of computer hardware and software.
- Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering (BSSE) – Focuses on large-scale software design, development, testing, quality assurance, and project management.
- Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science (BACS) – Similar to BSCS but allows more flexibility to take humanities and social science courses. May have less math/science requirements.
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems (BSCIS) – Prepares students for roles integrating business operations and computerized information systems. Develops analytical and project management skills.
- Bachelor of Science in Data Science (BSDS) – Focuses on extracting insights from data using statistics, machine learning, programming, and data visualization. High demand field.
- Bachelor of Arts in Information Technology (BAIT) – Flexible IT program allowing students to tailor their education across technical and non-technical subjects.
- Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity (BSCY) – Develops skills in ethical hacking, network defense, cryptography, digital forensics to help organizations protect against cyber threats.
- Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) – Advanced computer science skills and theoretical foundations. Often requires bachelor’s in CS. Prepares for senior developer or research roles.
- Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) – Builds leadership skills for technology managers. May not require an IT undergrad degree.
- Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MSCY) – Advanced cybersecurity skills like risk management, digital forensics, secure networks. Help organizations mitigate cyber attacks.
- Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) – Develops expertise in extracting insights from complex data. Statistics, machine learning, AI, programming, and modeling techniques.
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Information Technology – Prepares technology managers to align IT strategy with business goals. For IT professionals moving to leadership roles.
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Computer Science – Cutting-edge research in CS topics like algorithms, artificial intelligence, computing systems, security, etc. For academic research roles.
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Information Technology – Original research on the application and management of information and communications technology. Prepares for IT faculty roles.
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Cybersecurity – Research topics like cryptographic protocols, network security, privacy, and more. For professors or senior cybersecurity experts.
5 Best Computer Degrees
Here are 5 of the best and most valuable college majors related to computer technology:
1. Computer Science
A computer science degree develops software engineering skills along with knowledge of programming languages, algorithms, operating systems, databases, and more. This versatile degree equips students with both theoretical foundations and practical abilities to build tech solutions. Graduates can pursue well-paying careers in software development, web development, game programming, and many other roles.
2. Computer Engineering
Computer engineering majors gain expertise in both electrical engineering and computer science. They learn to design computer hardware like processors, circuits, routers, networks, etc. as well as software. This degree leads to careers developing computing systems and embedded technology for industries like aerospace, healthcare, automotive, and more.
3. Information Technology
Information Technology majors develop practical technology skills for managing computer systems and networks in business environments. They learn cybersecurity, database technology, cloud computing, project management, and more. IT grads can become systems administrators, IT consultants, network engineers, security analysts, and other crucial roles managing an organization’s technology infrastructure.
4. Data Science
With the explosion of big data across industries, data science has become one of the hottest tech fields. Data science majors use programming, modeling, statistics, machine learning, and visualization techniques to derive insights from complex datasets. This degree can lead to high-paying data analyst, data engineer, data architect, and data consultant careers.
5. Software Engineering
Software engineering focuses on best practices for large-scale software development and systems integration. The structured methodologies help produce high-quality, secure, reliable software. Graduates are prepared for careers as software developers, QA testers, project managers, and senior programmers designing complex applications.
Top 5 High Paying Computer Degrees
While salaries vary based on location, experience, and employer, here are 5 of the computer degrees that can lead to the highest paying jobs:
1. Computer Science
The typical starting salary for computer science grads is around $67,000-$86,000 with experienced developers earning $115,000 on average. Senior software engineers and architects can make $155,000 to $201,000. High demand and competitive compensation make computer science one of the top degrees.
2. Computer Engineering
Computer engineering majors earn a median starting salary of $62,500 with mid-career salaries rising to $88,167 on average. Those working in high tech manufacturing or for major tech firms can make $113,000 to $140,000 once they gain experience.
3. Data Science
Data scientists typically start around $100,000 and experienced professionals earn $140,000+ on average. Management and senior roles can reach up to $228,000. Major companies rely on data to drive decisions and are willing to pay top dollar for data experts.
4. Information Systems
Information systems grads specializing in security, networks, business intelligence earn $82,000 to $101,000 starting out with average mid-career salaries around $127,000. Experienced IT directors and CIOs manage entire systems and can make $160,000+.
5. Software Engineering
Software engineering majors see starting salaries around $100,000 on average. Once they have some experience under their belt, developers earn $139,000 typically while senior engineering directors make $177,000+. Top tech firms pay very well for top talent.
Top 5 Jobs for Computer Degree Graduates
There is high demand for graduates across most computer-related majors. Here are 5 of the top careers a computer degree can lead to:
1. Software Developer
2. Computer Systems Analyst
Systems analysts help organizations select the right technology solutions. They study requirements, processes, and problems to design integrated hardware/software systems. The average salary is approximately $93,000.
3. IT Project Manager
Project managers oversee technology initiatives in organizations. They coordinate resources, budgets, timelines, and staff to implement projects on time and budget. Average salary is around $120,000.
4. Database Administrator
DBAs install, configure, secure, troubleshoot, and optimize database systems. They ensure high availability and performance. Average salary is $100,000 with high demand.
5. Computer Network Architect
Network architects design, build, and maintain networking infrastructure including LANs, WANs, servers, routers, and more. Average salary is around $124,000.
These salaries were taken from Glassdoor.
Are Online Computer Degrees Worth It?
Online computer degrees are worth considering for the flexibility and accessibility they provide. Reputable schools like Penn State World Campus, Arizona State University, and Florida Tech offer many computer majors fully online. Online students get the same curriculum and projects. Key advantages include:
- Schedule flexibility – Take classes anytime, from anywhere at your own pace
- Broader school selection – Not limited by location
- Cost savings – Online tuition can be significantly cheaper, avoiding room and board
- Industry focus – Many specialized programs aligned with industry needs
The main downside is less in-person interaction. But online programs provide discussion forums, video chats, and occasional meetups. Overall, online computer degrees allow working professionals to advance their education and are worth exploring.
With excellent career prospects and salaries, computer degrees offer a pathway to high demand, rewarding technology careers. You can focus on software, hardware, networks, data, cybersecurity, or business applications based on your interests and strengths. A combination of technical skills, business acumen, and soft skills will make you very competitive no matter which computer degree you choose to pursue.
Frequently Asked Questions About Computer Degrees
What kind of jobs can I get with a computer degree?
Some top jobs for computer degree holders include software developer, computer systems analyst, IT project manager, database administrator, computer network architect, cybersecurity analyst, data scientist, and many more. There is high demand across programming, IT, data, and engineering roles.
Which computer degree has the highest salary?
Majors like computer science, computer engineering, data science, information systems, and software engineering tend to lead to the highest paying roles in tech. Experience level, location, and company also impact salary potential.
Is it hard to get a job with an online computer degree?
Top online programs are regionally accredited and valued by employers. Many companies now recruit and hire remote tech talent. Online degrees allow professionals to advance while working. Focus on skills and gaining experience vs. degree format.
How much math is required for a computer science degree?
A computer science bachelor’s degree requires calculus 1 and 2, discrete math, linear algebra, probability and statistics. Math skills are needed for algorithm analysis and advanced CS topics. Other computer majors have less intense math requirements.
Should I get a Master’s degree in computer science?
A master’s in CS can be valuable for specializing in an advanced field like machine learning, cybersecurity, etc. Those interested in senior developer or leadership roles may benefit. Hands-on experience is most important early in your career.