Online Master's of Computer Science » What is Computer Science
What is a MS in Computer Science Degree and Why Study It 2018-09-12T18:13:53+00:00

What Is an Online Master’s in Computer Science Degree?

Current computer science professionals and those who have backgrounds in a related field such as engineering or mathematics are often attracted to pursue a master’s computer science degree online so they can grow in their careers. These degrees allow students to learn essential new developments in computer science that can help them advance in their field or pursue new career paths. Working in computer science presents constant new challenges to be tackled, and the impact can be seen in a variety of industries.

When you study for a master’s in computer science degree, you may be able to interact with instructors who are considered top computer science professionals. You may also have the opportunity to network with like-minded classmates who can inspire you in your own career path. However, keep in mind that not all online computer science degrees are created equal. Make sure you closely look at the features each online program offers.

An online Master in Computer Science program is a virtual learning experience that results in an advanced degree. Students have the opportunity to advance their careers, specialize in emerging technologies and gain analytic and strategic thinking skills.

Areas of Specialization in Computer Science

  • AI (artificial intelligence)
  • Biocomputation, bioinformatics
  • Cloud computing
  • Computer engineering
  • Computer networks, computer systems
  • Cyber security
  • Data structures and analytics
  • Gaming and game development
  • Information systems
  • Media and multi-media
  • Mobile computing
  • Modeling
  • Network programming
  • Software architecture
  • Software engineering
  • Web design and development

Areas of specialization in computer science vary from school to school, and the list above is not comprehensive.

Types of Computer Science Degrees – Master’s Level

  • MCS: Master of Computer Science
  • MSCS: Master of Science in Computer Science
  • MICS: Master of Information and Computer Science
  • MSACS: Master of Applied Computer Science
  • MS: Master of Science
  • MSIT: Master of Science in Information Technology

These are only a few of the degree types that universities confer on graduates who complete master’s level work in computer science. This site includes information that apply to the majority of advanced computer science degree programs.

Why a Master’s Degree in Computer Science?

People who attend graduate school do so for two general reasons: They want to advance their careers, or they’ve hit a dead end and don’t know what to do next. Consider these motivations:

  • Use skills learned in current careers: A master’s degree in computer science may set graduates up to advance with their current employers or make them more competitive in the job market. A master’s degree can also signal to your current employer that you are passionate about your field and are the right candidate for upper-level positions.
  • Change careers: If you have computer science knowledge but aren’t working directly in the field, a master’s degree may help you break into this in-demand and high-paying market. When evaluating the ROI of a master’s degree in computer science, consider that the median 2016 salary for computer and information research scientists was $111,840, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  • Teach or pursue higher education: Those who have an interest in teaching computer science at the collegiate level will usually need at least a master’s degree to be considered. This is also required for doctorate studies.

Where Can You Work with an MS in Computer Science?

The short answer to the question is: Everywhere. Because computers are vital to almost every industry — not to mention household operations — many types of organizations and businesses employ computer and IT professionals.

The need for qualified computer and information research scientists is substantial. According to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, the job outlook is growing faster than average compared to other industries, at a rate of 11 percent between 2014 to 2024. Some computer science fields where professionals might work include:

  • Government and military: Military and local, state, and national government operations depend on computer science technology to protect their citizens, exchange and store information and remain leaders in a global setting. Computer science professionals may work in the public sector to ensure critical systems are optimized.
  • Large technology corporations: Computer science knowledge is a key component for the world’s largest tech companies. Computer scientists play a critical role in using their research and knowledge to promote innovation in computer and tech development.
  • Healthcare: Computer science work in the ever-changing field of healthcare can be challenging. Duties include, but are not limited to: medical data storage and analysis, architecture of hospital networks, integration of systems and a host of other functions; all while maintaining strict compliance rules for protecting patient privacy.
  • Science: Experts in computer science may work on advancing scientific developments, including sample measurement and analysis, data mining, data synthesis and laboratory technology evolution.
  • Businesses: From providing direction on creating proprietary software to be used in-house, to working on improving and integrating existing systems, computer science professionals improve computer operations for diverse businesses.

From immersive coursework taught by leading experts in the field to networking opportunities with fellow classmates, the very best online computer science programs provide more than just the degree. You gain meaningful new connections, and what you learn may spark new professional or personal endeavors that literally change the world.

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