An online computer science degree serves as the entry point to a variety of exciting, lucrative careers in the technology field. This guide introduces you to the field of computer science, offering some insight into what distinguishes this field from similar majors. You’ll also learn more about potential careers available to graduates with an online computer science degree, and what you might expect to earn in those careers. This guide offers a starting point to understanding computer science as a degree and finding the right school and program to achieve career goals.

What Is Computer Science?

Computer science often gets confused with similar fields. For example, computer science differs from computer engineering; these two degree and career fields entail different skills. Whereas computer science emphasizes the theoretical side of computer technology, computer engineering explores the more physical aspect of computers, including the hardware and circuitry used to build them. Computer scientists often study the algorithms and various types of programming languages that computer software uses, as well as look at the data-based architecture of computers. A computer engineer then applies the work of computer scientists to the physical creation of hardware and operating systems.

Earning an accredited online computer science degree prepares you for a career in a steadily growing and expanding field. Today’s increasingly digital world has an increasing demand for qualified computer specialists, working in a variety of roles and capacities in the computer and digital industries. During the course of a program, students hone their communication skills, developing new and innovative ways to convey ideas and relate them to the computer science industry. Students can also expect to learn more about computer security, particularly different industry standards and how to apply their own learning to these structures. These programs also often emphasize teamwork projects, fostering collaborative workspaces and environments.

What Can I Do with an Online Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree?

Once you’ve earned your online computer science degree, a variety of career paths open up to graduates. With the skills and knowledge acquired in a rigorous computer science degree online, students can enter all kinds of industries and job fields, working in a range of roles. Below, we list a detailed explanation of the skills and knowledge students can expect to gain while earning an online computer science degree, and some examples of the careers and salary that graduates can expect.

Skills and Knowledge Gained

Computer science introduces and explores various computational theories and principles, as well as how students can apply them to computer programming and software design. In one of the top online computer science programs, students can expect to study different aspects of computer design and theory, including how to analyze, understand, and develop different computational systems for computer operating systems. Students learn how to design their own systems, as many of these programs emphasize creativity and innovation to foster out-of-the-box thinking. Fluency in a variety of programming languages, including those used as industry standards and lesser known languages, is often a requirement for graduates.

All of these skills become very marketable and lucrative once students enter the job field. A knowledge of computational theory and its applications to real-world issues and programming benefits a variety of job fields, even those outside of technology. Many corporations and businesses in all kinds of industries employ computer scientists and specialists to maintain their computer systems. Some businesses may even hire computer scientists to design customized networks and systems for their specific needs. Graduates of online computer science programs also possess a strong knowledge of managing databases and information systems, which is useful to employers in all kinds of industries and fields. Computer scientists work with data in all sorts of capacities, including mining and collecting and retrieving lost data.

Careers and Salary Potential

An affordable online computer science degree prepares graduates to work in a diverse variety of fields and industries. The skills and knowledge gained in one of these programs provides students with the background needed to provide valuable services and support to all kinds of employers and workplaces. While the degree certainly applies to various careers in the tech industry, it can also translate to careers in other fields and industries, such as the ones listed below.

  • Nonprofit: Nonprofit and charity organizations often work to empower underserved and underrepresented demographics, providing important funding and programs for these groups. Computer science specialists can provide nonprofit and charity organizations with computer help, offering assistance with web development and in-office computer systems.
  • Hospitality: Computer scientists may help hotels develop different technology systems for use by guests and staff alike, including front desk computer software and even unique digital door locks on hotel rooms.
  • Education: Some computer scientists may teach classes in computer science or computer programming, often at the secondary or vocational level.
  • Customer Service: Computer scientists may work in customer service for tech companies, helping customers who have issues with their devices. They may also work for non-tech companies helping employees install and adapt to new technology in the workplace.
  • Manufacturing: This field needs computer scientists to design and manufacture products. A computer scientist may work for a large manufacturing company and assist in maintaining the computer systems that run their machines.
Computer Systems Analyst

Annual Median Salary: $88,270

Computer systems analysts work with companies to investigate their computer operating systems and then design and implement a system that suits the specific needs of the organization.

Computer Network Architect

Annual Median Salary: $104,650

Computer network architects create and implement custom wired and wireless computer networks. They may also find work with large companies, like internet service providers.

Computer Programmer

Annual Median Salary: $82,240

Computer programmers use the specific skills obtained in an online computer science degree to program computers using different types of programming languages and computational systems.

Software Developer

Annual Median Salary: $103,560

Software developers apply programming languages to design and create all kinds of software that is used on different computer devices, including desktop computers and applications for smartphones.

Database Administrator

Annual Median Salary: $87,020

Database administrators design and implement methods for storing and protecting important data for a company or organization.