Four-year college degrees aren’t the only way to gain computer science knowledge. You can progress into a computer science role with a computer science associate degree too. Compared to a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree is quicker and cheaper. However, it will still teach you all the basics.
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This detailed guide will dive into the best online and in-person computer science associate degrees in 2021. You will learn about the top career opportunities for an associate degree in computer science and how computer science bootcamps compare against associate degrees.
What Is Computer Science?
Computer science is the study of computers and computational methods. There are many subsets of computer science, but primarily, this field is concerned with computers and how their systems work together. Some subsets of computer science are data science, programming, data analytics, and network security.
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What Is a Computer Science Associate Degree?
A computer science associate degree is a two-year degree program that teaches you the basics of computer science. This degree covers fundamental topics like data structures, discrete mathematics, software engineering, and information systems. Additionally, completing an associate degree in computer science can grant you entry to a four-year degree.
Students don’t require computer science skills for an associate degree, just a high school diploma or GED. If you don’t fulfill the minimum requirements for a certain program, many community colleges and universities offer preparatory courses.
Computer Science Associate Degree Requirements
The requirements for a computer science associate degree are typically a high school diploma or equivalent. Some schools may require a minimum GPA, and you might have to complete standardized tests too. However, many schools don’t require standardized test scores and welcome students of all backgrounds.
How Much Does a Computer Science Associate Degree Cost?
The average cost of a computer science associate degree is $3,621 per annum. This doesn’t include the price of accommodation and food. If you consider housing and meal plans, expenses will be about $11,391 annually.
Computer Science Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Computer Science Degree
You can pay for a computer science associate degree through federal grants, private loans, scholarships, and GI Bill benefits. The availability of financial aid options varies between schools. Some schools also offer scholarships to students that excel academically or in sports.
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Best Computer Science Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Austin Community College||Computer Science Associate Degree||SACSCOC|
|Delaware County Community College||Computer Science, Associate in Science (CIS)||MSCHE|
|Glendale Community College||Computer Science Associate Degree||ACCJC|
|Lincoln Land Community College||Computer Science Associate in Arts||HLC|
|Los Angeles City College||Associate Degree in Computer Science||WASC|
|Hudson County Community College||Computer Science AS||HCCC|
|Raritan Valley Community College||Computer Science, Associate of Science Degree in Science and Mathematics||MSCHE|
|Rogers State University||A.S. in Computer Science||HLC|
|Seminole State College||Computer Science
Associate in Arts Pathway
|Wallace State Community College||Computer Science Associate Program||SACSCOC|
Best Colleges for Computer Science: Top Computer Science Degree Programs
If you prefer to study in person, these computer science programs are ideal. You’ll find universities and community colleges offering computer science associate degrees and additional student services. Let’s take a deep dive and see what these degree programs and computer science schools have to offer.
Computer Science Associate Degree | Austin Community College
If you want to study information theory, software engineering, coding, and database management, this program has what you need. You can expect to earn transfer credits and progress into a four-year degree. Students at this community college can access emergency funds, counseling, tutoring, and career development.
Computer Science, Associate in Science (CIS) | Delaware County Community College
Making every effort to help students transfer to a bachelor’s degree, this college provides training in Java, network communications, statistics, and data structures. You’ll complete 65 credit hours and review transfer options before you reach 30 credits. In addition, this community college provides various student services like financial aid, tutoring, and career development.
Computer Science Associate Degree | Glendale Community College
This degree program provides you with the skills necessary to become a computer science professional. There are 57 credit hours of courses to take covering Java, data structures, C++, algorithms, and more. Additionally, Glendale Community College offers employment support, counseling, and sports activities.
Computer Science Associate in Arts | Lincoln Land Community College
While Lincoln Land Community College (LLC) does have online programs available, it focuses primarily on in-person learning. As this is an associate degree in arts, you’ll learn life science, humanities, and social science alongside technical skills. Besides career development support, LLC also provides youth programs and travel opportunities for students.
Associate Degree in Computer Science | Los Angeles City College
If you want to learn SQL, operating systems, C++, Java, and programming design, this is the degree for you. At Los Angeles City College, students gain a broad understanding of essential computer science topics in a program that consists of 60 credit hours. The school also offers peer mentoring, student clubs, and a health and wellness center.
Computer Science AS | Hudson County Community College
This associate degree teaches computer networks, information systems, operating systems, microprocessors, and programming. In addition, there are many elective courses to pick from, and this community college hosts many student-centered events. Importantly, you can fund your studies through numerous financial aid plans.
Computer Science, Associate of Science Degree in Science and Mathematics | Raritan Valley Community College
Centering on theoretical learning, students in this program will study data structures, high-level programming languages, basic computer architecture, and much more. You will also learn subjects like social science and humanities. Attending this campus, you can join activities, use the bookstore, and join clubs and student organizations.
A.S. in Computer Science | Rogers State University
After completing this degree program, college students will know how to use programming languages for designing, problem-solving, and developing in computer science. Besides computer science, you will also study computer information systems and information technology. Rogers State University also provides athletics activities and student organizations to get more involved.
Computer Science Associate in Arts Pathway | Seminole State College
Comprising 60 credit hours, this associate degree in computer science combines technical and social studies for a well-rounded computational education experience. Seminole State College also guarantees a transfer to a state university in Florida. In addition, you can join campus clubs and societies, apply for the student government, and enroll in sports activities.
Computer Science Associate Program | Wallace State Community College
Students can choose one of four specializations for this computer science associate degree, including cyber security/computer forensics technology, internet/networking technology, software support, and programming. Students also have access to numerous financial aid options, various on-campus sports activities, and a museum.
Best Online Computer Science Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Columbia College||Associate of Science Degree in Computer Science||SACSCOC|
|Colorado Christian University||Computer Science Associate Degree, A.S.||HLC|
|Franklin University||A.S. Computer Science||HLC|
|Grantham University||Associate Degree in Computer Degree||DEAC|
|Montgomery College||Computer Science and Technologies Degree, Computer Science Area of Concentration||MSCHE|
|Ocean County College||Computer Science A.S.||MSCHE|
|South College||Associate of Science in Computer Science||SACSCOC|
|Southern New Hampshire University||Computer Science Associate Degree Online||NECHE|
|SUNY Online||Computer Science AS||MSCHE|
|University of the People||Associate Degree in Computer Science||DEAC|
Best Colleges for Computer Science: Top Online Computer Science Associate Degree Programs
Even if you decide to study virtually, you can still gain the same skills as you would in an in-person associate degree. In addition, with a remote degree, you can save on transportation and student housing costs. Here are the best colleges and online degree programs for an associate degree in computer science.
Associate of Science Degree in Computer Science | Columbia College
Columbia College allows students to transfer up to 60 credit hours to a four-year degree offered by the school. Online students will study software development, web development and design, data science, and computer architecture. You can also choose the accelerated degree option to access career opportunities quicker.
Computer Science Associate Degree, A.S. | Colorado Christian University
If you’re looking for a faith-based school for your computer science education, Colorado Christian University may be the right choice for you. You’ll join small-sized classes to learn Python, discrete math, calculus, and more. Students can also enjoy biblical studies, complete communication courses, and art and humanities classes.
A.S. Computer Science | Franklin University
Franklin University offers this 64-credit-hour program to help you progress into a four-year degree. This computer science program covers computer networks, data structures, algorithms, and database management systems. In addition, you’ll find multiple financial aid solutions and career services available for students.
Associate Degree in Computer Degree | Grantham University
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The school offers many financial aid options and even free laptops to help students that lack resources. There are also career development services available to get students prepared for their dream careers.
Computer Science and Technologies Degree, Computer Science Area of Concentration | Montgomery College
Transferring to a four-year computer science program won’t be difficult with this degree, as you’ll learn programming, calculus, and computer science basics. Since this program is an Associate Degree of Arts, you’ll also cover natural sciences and humanities. In addition, Montogomery College provides financial aid solutions, counseling services, and career development support.
Computer Science A.S. | Ocean County College
Ocean County College provides students with the required skills for computing and development careers. Computer science students will learn about the software development process and problem-solving in modern computing settings. Tutoring, academic advising, and financial aid resources are also available.
Associate of Science in Computer Science | South College
South College has designed this degree program around industry insights to help you excel in computer science. Students will learn about operating systems, programming, and networking while working on hands-on projects. This community college has an advanced online learning portal and offers several financial aid solutions.
Computer Science Associate Degree Online | Southern New Hampshire University
You can earn this computer science associate degree at your desired pace and transfer all your credits to a bachelor’s degree at this university. Students will study topics like programming, software development, systems analysis and design, and operating platforms. There are career development services available too.
Computer Science AS | SUNY Online
This 63-credit-hour course requires four full semesters of classes. Some of the areas you’ll cover include virtual reality, information technology, business analytics, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Students also receive dedicated career help throughout their program.
Associate Degree in Computer Science | University of the People
If you’re looking for quality education, the University of the People is an excellent choice. This degree program offers classes covering object-oriented programming languages, critical thinking skills, and computer science programming ethics. Unlike many community colleges and universities, the University of the People is entirely free for students.
What’s the Average Computer Science Associate Degree Salary?
According to Payscale, the average salary for professionals with an Associate Degree in Computer Science is $64,000 per annum. The more experience you have, the higher your earning potential will be.
Top Computer Science Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
Best Computer Science Associate Degree Jobs Explained
|Computer Science Associate Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|Information Security Analyst||$103,590|
|Computer Systems Analyst||$93,730|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrator||$84,810|
|Associate Software Engineer||$78,500|
|Computer Support Specialist||$55,510|
Information Security Analyst
- Average Salary: $103,590
- Job Outlook: 33%
- Number of Jobs: 141,200
- Highest-Paying States: California, New York, Massachusetts
As an information security analyst, you’ll solve real-world problems and implement security measures to secure businesses’ systems and networks. To become an information security analyst, you must have superb cyber security skills and know-how to develop and maintain network strategies.
- Average Salary: $98,860
- Job Outlook: 8%
- Number of Jobs: 168,000
- Highest-Paying States: Texas, Georgia, North Carolina
Database administrators must know SQL and database systems. These professionals have basic skills in computer science to organize and store businesses data. In addition, database administrators work closely with data architects and engineers, so they must have strong communication skills.
Computer Systems Analyst
- Average Salary: $93,730
- Job Outlook: 7%
- Number of Jobs: 607,800
- Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, New Jersey, Rhode Island
Professionals in this career use programming skills to analyze a business’s current computing processes and find ways to optimize them. If you’re interested in this field, you must fully understand popular programming languages like Python and maintain efficient troubleshooting abilities for practical problems.
- Average Salary: $89,190
- Job Outlook: -10%
- Number of Jobs: 185,700
- Highest-Paying States: New York, New Hampshire, Vermont
Computer programmers are masters at all aspects of programming. They develop software like websites and applications for businesses depending on their goals and needs. This job position requires knowledge over a wide range of topics in computer science to perform accurate testing and debugging.
Network and Computer Systems Administrator
- Average Salary: $84,810
- Job Outlook: 5%
- Number of Jobs: 350,300
- Highest-Paying States: Washington, Maryland, California
These experts work alongside cyber security teams to maintain daily network processes. Becoming a network and computer systems administrator demands quick analytical, technical, and problem-solving skills. You should also have excellent communication skills to report network issues and solutions to your colleagues.
Associate Software Engineer
- Average Salary: $78,500
- Job Outlook: 22%
- Number of Jobs: 1,847,900
- Highest-Paying States: Arkansas, California, Washington DC
Associate software engineers are essentially junior professionals assisting senior developers. People in this role have mastered the basics of computer programming but may require fine-tuning from a professional mentorship.
This job allows people to improve their knowledge of software systems and gives them the opportunity to take on small technological projects, like developing software design templates for businesses.
- Average Salary: $77,200
- Job Outlook: 13%
- Number of Jobs: 199,400
- Highest-Paying States: New Jersey, Minnesota, California
- Average Salary: $60,202
- Job Outlook: 13%
- Number of Jobs: 199,400
- Highest-Paying States: Washington, Virginia, Oregon
Computer Support Specialist
- Average Salary: $55,510
- Job Outlook: 9%
- Number of Jobs: 844,600
- Highest-Paying States: Massachusetts, Colorado, New Jersey
Computer support specialists must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills to help businesses solve their computing problems. Additionally, they must have an exceptional understanding of common computing issues and appropriately apply programming languages to solve them.
- Average Salary: $47,560
- Job Outlook: -12%
- Number of Jobs: 8,200
- Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, Connecticut, Massachusetts
Becoming a desktop publisher is one of the potential career paths that holders of computer science associate degrees can take. Professionals in this field are responsible for designing page layouts for various print and digital publications using publishing software.
Computer Science Bootcamp vs. Computer Science Associate Degree: Which Is Better?
Computer science associate degrees facilitate admission to four-year degrees and don’t require formal qualifications. However, a computer science bootcamp is quicker and may give you more exposure to the skills and knowledge that will help you secure a job.
Benefits of a Computer Science Associate Degree
- Credit transfer. After completing an Associate Degree in Computer Science, you can transfer your credits to a bachelor’s degree. This means you can complete your undergraduate degree faster.
- Few admission requirements. To attend a community college all you generally need is to have completed high school or earned a GED. Some educational institutions may not even require that.
- Ideal to enter the workforce. Although not to the same degree as a four-year program, an associate degree will still help you stand out in the job market and land your first job in the field.
- Master the basics of computer science. An associate degree will help you develop a strong foundation in computer science. This will help you launch a career in this industry.
- A broader education. Over two years, you’ll learn about a wide range of topics in computer science. This will prepare you for an extensive selection of jobs.
Benefits of a Computer Science Bootcamp
- Short duration. Whereas an associate degree lasts around two years, most bootcamp programs can be completed in three to nine months.
- Cheaper education. Coding bootcamps are more affordable than college degrees. In a community college or university, you pay annual tuition. However, when you enroll in a computer science bootcamp you pay a one-time fee that covers the whole program.
- Gain job-specific skills. Coding bootcamps don’t teach computer science in a holistic manner. Instead, these programs focus on the specific skills and tools you need to become whichever type of professional you aspire to be.
- Job guarantee. Some computer science bootcamps offer job guarantees. This means that if you don’t land a job within a pre-agreed period of time, your money will be refunded.
- Plenty of networking opportunities. The best coding bootcamps regularly organize events where students can meet industry professionals and even potential employers. Networking is a skill that bootcamp providers seek to nurture in their students.
Should You Get an Associate Degree in Computer Science?
If you want a career in computer science, an associate degree will give you a good start. Many community colleges and universities offering these degrees provide financial aid solutions. Additionally, you can use some of the credits you earn toward a bachelor’s degree to further your education.
More importantly, computer science graduates with an associate degree can find employment quickly and leverage their practical experience for countless career opportunities. An associate degree will help you land an entry-level job and get the experience you need to pursue a fulfilling career in this industry.
Computer Science Associate Degree FAQ
Can you get a job with a computer science associate degree?
Yes, you can land an exciting career with a computer science associate degree. With an associate degree, you can become a web developer, web designer, and data administrator, to name a few. Since associate degrees only require two years of studying, you will be able to enter the workforce faster than if you were to opt for a bachelor’s degree.
Is an associate in computer science worth it?
Yes, an associate degree in computer science is worth it. Many computer science graduates from two-year institutions go on to launch successful tech careers. In addition, earning an associate degree will make it easier to gain admission into and complete a bachelor’s degree because you can transfer some of your credits.
Do universities offer two-year degrees?
Associate degrees are typically offered by community colleges, but some universities offer them too. For example, Franklin University and Southern New Hampshire University offer associate degrees.
Is it better to get an associate or bachelor’s degree in computer science?
The type of degree you should get ultimately depends on how much time and money you can invest into school and how soon you want to start working. If you can commit to a bachelor’s degree, then this degree option is ideal. However, if you’re looking for a more affordable and quicker option, an associate degree is the best choice.
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