Computer Science and Engineering Degrees

What degrees can I earn in computer science and engineering?

Computer science and engineering is an ever-changing and growing field that offers many career opportunities to college graduates. The most popular degree earned by computer science engineers is the bachelors, but top computer science and engineering degrees are available at every level, from associates through PhD. Colleges and universities offering computer science and engineering graduate programs and PhD programs are seeing a rise in admissions as the field becomes more competitive.

Computer science and engineering certificate

Graduate and undergraduate level certificates in computer science and engineering are available to recipients of a bachelors or masters degree in engineering. Certificates in this field are available in such areas as software systems and information systems and applications. An engineering certificate takes an average of 15 credit hours over 1 to 2 years to complete.

Computer science and engineering associates degree

Associates degree programs in computer science and engineering are generally 60 to 80 credit hours and take 2 years to complete. Degrees in this field are offered as an Associate of Computer Science and Engineering or an Associate of Science with a computer science and engineering concentration. Onsite and online engineering associates programs will require completion of core math and science courses as prerequisites for entry, although students may have the option to pass a qualifying test to waive those requirements.

Computer science and engineering bachelors degree

A bachelors in this field will be offered by colleges and universities as a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering or a Bachelor of Engineering with a computer science and engineering concentration. Common prerequisites for admission into an onsite or online engineering bachelors degree include a solid foundation in physics, calculus and trigonometry courses. Most bachelors degrees take 4 years to complete, with credit requirements ranging from 120 to 140 hours.

Computer science and engineering masters degree

A computer science and engineering masters can be earned as a Master of Science in Engineering or a Master of Engineering with a computer science and engineering focus. Masters programs will typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, with credit hours ranging from 30 to 40 hours. A minimum GRE score may be required for admission into a campus-based or online engineering masters degree program.

Computer science and engineering PhD

Many colleges and universities offer a PhD or ScD, also known as Doctor of Science, track, which allow students to transition seamlessly from the masters to the doctoral program. The career path for someone with a PhD in engineering will likely involve a commitment to research in the field with the potential for teaching engineering at the graduate level. Completion of a computer science and engineering PhD program takes an average of 5 years but can be shorter or longer depending upon the research being completed.

Are there any computer science and engineering degree programs online?

Computer science and engineering degree programs online have become well attended as colleges and universities in the private and nonprofit sector work to improve content and technology for distance education. Programs are offered as partial or hybrid, requiring some courses to be taken onsite, or they may be offered entirely online.

Online degrees in computer science and engineering

As you prepare to earn a computer science and engineering associates degree online, be sure to research accredited computer science and engineering online colleges that offer the opportunity to transition into a bachelors program upon completion of your degree. Most brick-and-mortar institutions allow for a seamless transition between the 2 degrees, and knowing whether you will have that option could save you time and money if you decide to further your studies.

Students interested in pursuing a computer science and engineering bachelors degree online will want to be sure that you have the self-discipline to stick to your curriculum. Poor self-directed study habits can be a barrier to the success of online students, and 4 years of maintaining an online work schedule may be difficult for someone in need of a more structured program.

Earning your computer science and engineering online masters degree may make it more challenging to connect with student and faculty engineers with whom you can pursue research projects. Talk with the director at your online program to see how well the college or university accommodates online students, and makes your needs for student engagement and research opportunities clear.

Earning a PhD in electrical engineering will likely require a great deal of research, and 1 of the challenges of attending computer science and engineering schools online is the potential lack of laboratory resources that will be available to you. The best computer science and engineering online program will accommodate your research needs and will work with you to ensure that you have access to the necessary facilities.

What kinds of computer science and engineering classes will I take in my program?

During the first 2 years of your undergraduate program, you will likely take onsite or online engineering courses in chemistry, calculus and physics. As you continue into your junior and senior years, you will be taking classes in probability theory, applied algorithms and software engineering

Computer science and engineering online courses and campus-based graduate studies will offer intermediate, advanced and specialized graduate courses in software engineering, principles of programming and operating systems.

Finally, as a PhD or ScD candidate, your work will focus upon independent research on a topic related to computer science and engineering. Your earned credit hours during this program will likely focus on taking a doctoral qualifying examination in addition to your dissertation project proposal and your dissertation defense.

What computer science and engineering careers can I choose from?

Computer science and engineering jobs typically require a minimum of a bachelors, with research positions requiring a masters or greater. Some of the highest paid and best careers in computer science and engineering, however, may be freelance or self-employed positions. Your ability to get hired for such jobs will likely be based on a combination of your education, ability to market yourself and years of professional experience.

Computer software engineer

Software engineers assemble and repair code in the design, building and testing of software used in computer applications. Most engineering jobs in this field require a bachelors degree, with many employers preferring a masters. Software engineers play a significant role in most businesses today. Salaries for a software engineer typically range from $48,000 to $103,000 depending upon education and experience.

Computer hardware engineer

Computer hardware engineers develop and test chips, circuit boards, routers and any other hardware that makes up a computer. While a bachelors degree is often required, comprehensive job experience is the key to staying competitive in this field. A computer science and engineering salary in computer hardware engineering ranges widely from $37,000 to $104,000.

Computer programmer

Computer programmers are tasked with taking the code created by the software engineer and translating it into directions that the computer can follow. While some employers prefer candidates to have a masters, a bachelors degree plus ample job experience is sufficient for gaining employment. Although computer programming still exists, it is an archaic view of software development and the average salaries for computer programmers reflect that. A computer programming salary ranges from $30,000 to $81,000.

Is there anything else I should know about getting a degree in computer science and engineering?

While not all engineers choose to pursue licensure, many computer science and engineering jobs require applicants to have a Professional Engineer license. The first step toward this licensure is to take the Fundamentals in Engineering exam in order to be considered an engineer in training until you become eligible to sit for your licensure exam.

Other certifications for computer science and engineering are often highly specialized for engineers in a particular discipline. The National Computer Science Academy offers professional engineering certification in a number of computer applications such as Microsoft Windows, Visual C++ and Javascript, in addition to other software certifications.