If you want to enter a growing field, computer science is a fantastic choice. For anyone with a knack for computers and an interest in technology, the computer science field would never get boring. You will find that there is a wide variety of jobs in the field, giving you the power of choice even when searching for entry-level positions using an Associate Degree in Computer Science.
There are tons of computer science jobs for people with little to no experience, so it is easy to begin your career after earning an associate degree. Earning an online computer science associate degree is the best way to kickstart your computer science career while continuing to work a part-time or full-time job.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about earning an online computer science associate degree.
What is Computer Science?
Simply put, computer science is the study of computers and computer systems. People who work in computer science work with computer software and a variety of software systems, instead of solely on the physical computer.
Computer scientists are the people behind the design and development of software in quite a few different areas of study. Some of the more common areas of study within computer science include artificial intelligence, database systems, and human-computer interactions.
A good computer scientist is likely to have a specialization in one or two areas, and at least a basic understanding of many other areas. Having this broad education allows for more job opportunities.
Entry-Level Computer Science Careers
Even with only an Associate Degree in Computer Science, you will easily find a decent job. While higher positions and salaries are reserved for those with a master’s degree or doctorate, most entry-level jobs serve as a great stepping stone to reach those positions. The following are some of the most popular careers for those just breaking into computer science.
Web Developer: Web developers are often self-employed, creating a bit of freedom in terms of which projects they take on. The job of a web developer is to work with people and businesses to create an ideal website through coding and a bit of graphic design. As an entry-level web developer, you can expect to earn around $57,200 per year.
Computer Programmer: Computer programmers are responsible for writing the code behind computer software. As a computer programmer, you would be expected to not only design software but also maintain it and fix any glitches. People working this job at the entry-level make around $53,500 per year.
Software Quality Assurance Engineer: Software quality assurance engineers work alongside software developers to help improve the design and functions of software. They are expected to run tests and identify problems with software. While many employers require a bachelor’s degree for this position, there are quite a few who accept associate degrees as well. As an entry-level worker, you would likely make around $66,550 per year.
Cyber Security Specialist: This is a job you can get both with a cybersecurity degree and with a computer programming degree. As a cybersecurity specialist, you would be the one protecting a company’s digital information. In this job, you would be tasked with identifying who needs access to what data and defending it from anyone who doesn’t. Entry-level positions offer yearly salaries of around $66,800.
Information Security Analyst: Information security analysts do a similar job to cybersecurity analysts, with the key difference being that information security analysts protect all forms of information. This means you would be responsible for information that is not stored digitally or on a computer as well. For entry-level workers, the average pay for this job is around $59,100 per year.
Computer User Support Specialist: As a computer user support specialist, you would likely be working in customer service. This job entails answering any questions customers have regarding computer issues, such as hardware or software malfunctions and installation issues. If you chose to work this job, you could expect an annual salary of around $54,750.
Benefits of an Online Computer Science Associate’s Degree
Earning an online computer science associate degree is the best way to become qualified for any of the entry-level positions listed above. Once you have earned your degree, you will be able to work in the field and gain valuable job experience. If you plan to go far in the field of computer science, you will likely want to earn a master’s or doctoral degree in the future, and you will need an associate degree to do that.
If you have a busy schedule, an online degree is a great path to take. Quite a few college students work full-time jobs to help pay for their tuition, but this can be hard to manage with full-time on-campus classes. Online classes, on the other hand, provide more scheduling freedom, allowing you to continue earning money.
Online degrees are also known for having options to fast track your degree. Many students who can complete their degree faster than average are unable to do so in an on-campus setting, simply due to conflicting class times. But, with an online degree, you do not often have set meeting times, so it is easier to fit more classes into a semester.
Best Online Computer Science Associate Degree Programs
Most associate degree programs do not have a lot of requirements to meet before applying, but you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent education. Many also require your high school GPA to be 3.0 or higher, but this is not always the case.
Finding the right school to attend can be difficult when so many options are available. That’s why we have compiled a list of some of the best schools to enroll in for a computer science associate degree. Read on to see if any of these schools are right for you.
Ocean County College
At Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey, you can pursue a flexible Associate Degree in Computer Science. The program here is designed specifically for working adults, so the coursework is flexible enough to fit your schedule but put together in a way to help you stay on track and graduate in two years.
This program requires you to complete 60 credit hours split between general education requirements and computer science courses. The course curriculum is regularly updated to meet guidelines set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society, the Association for Information Systems professional society, and the Association of Computing Machinery.
Weber State University
Weber University, located in Ogden, Utah, offers an online program with absolutely no required video calls or lectures, allowing students to complete assignments on their own schedule as long as they are turned in on time. Most of the required classes include group projects and interactive discussion boards to help students be more involved with their peers.
Weber University also offers a flex program for students who wish to mix online and on-campus courses. This program offers flexible start times and self-paced classes to give students an in-person education experience with many of the benefits of an online class.
In Parkville, Missouri, you can enroll in Park University’s online Associate Degree in Information and Computer Science program. Here, you can choose from many different concentrations for your degree, including cybersecurity and software development. This is commonly found in graduate degree programs, so having the opportunity to jumpstart your specialization is huge for those who know exactly what they plan to do after college.
Through Park University, you will be charged a flat fee for online learning. However, there are discounts offered to anyone who is an active member of the military, as well as military dependents, veterans, and federal employees.
Trinity Valley Community College
Attending Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas is a great way to save quite a bit of money on tuition. Community colleges are something more people should consider because they are almost always much less costly than other institutions. Trinity Valley is no exception.
At this college, you can earn an online Associate of Arts in Computer Science. This program requires the completion of 60 credit hours and can easily be completed in two years. Students enrolled in the program are offered career development help from Trinity Valley Community College’s career coach services. This is an awesome resource to have because it will help set you up for success after earning your degree.
In Rockville, Maryland, you can enroll in Montgomery College’s online program for an Associate Degree in Computer Science and Technologies. This program offers a concentration in computer science and requires 60 credit hours to complete.
The program offered here focuses on preparing students for entry-level jobs and transferring to a four-year program to work on bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Montgomery College has transfer agreements set up with an impressive number of four-year colleges, so you would have no trouble at all with credit transferring if you chose to attend one of those schools.
Jamestown Community College
Jamestown Community College in Jamestown, New York, offers yet another extremely affordable online program for a computer science degree. In this program, you will focus primarily on software development and design, though you are guaranteed a general education in computer science as well.
This program requires students to complete 60 credit hours, split between programming courses and concepts, and general education requirements like English composition. Students enrolled in this program can partake in job shadowing and internships to gain real-world experience.
Rogers State University
If you choose to enroll in the online program at Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma, you will be studying at one of Oklahoma’s leaders in distance learning. Rogers State University was the first school in Oklahoma to offer online associate and bachelor’s degrees. Its online Associate Degree in Computer Science requires students to complete 65 to 66 credit hours that cover general education requirements and computer science concepts.
The program is designed to help students move on to a four-year college and earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer science, Computer Information Systems, or Information Technology.
University of Phoenix
At the University of Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona, you can choose to enroll in an associate of art program in one of three fields directly related to computer science. While they may not be strictly computer science degrees, the offered programs include an Associate of Art in Information Technology with certificates in either multimedia development, programming, or web administration.
All of the programs offered through the University of Phoenix focus heavily on computer science-related subjects and are designed to help students be career-ready after graduating. This university also offers a bachelor’s degree program for interested students, eliminating the hassle of trying to transfer credits.
Earning an online Associate Degree in Computer Science is a great way to start your computer science career. Online degrees are available almost everywhere, but attending one of the top schools listed above can ensure you will receive a quality education.
After the completion of your degree, you will be ready to start working in entry-level positions or working toward a computer science bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or even a doctorate. Earning a computer sciences associate degree is just the beginning of a great career in computer science.