Bachelor's and master's degrees are available in the field of applied computer science. A 4-year bachelor's degree program in applied computer science not only provides students with a thorough understanding of computer technologies, but also directs them to explore technical issues associated with a particular career path. Master's degree programs are often designed for students who have either an undergraduate degree or professional experience in the computer science or information technology (IT) field. Program specializations include database administration, networking, and software design. Online courses and programs are available.
Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Science
A high school diploma or GED is typically required to enter a bachelor's degree program. Most programs require students to choose a concentration in their sophomore or junior year. Students can focus on applying computer science theories and techniques to various disciplines, such as computer game design, bioinformatics or software engineering. Some core courses include:
- Data structures
- Database systems
- Networking and communications
- Systems analysis and design
- Computer operating systems
- Software engineering
Master of Science in Applied Computer Science
Programs allow individuals to gain a comprehensive background in a particular aspect of the computer science field. A bachelor's degree in IT, computer science or related field is required to enter a master's program. Programs are usually 18 to 24 months in length. Master's degree programs in applied computer science are ideal for aspiring networking or IT managers. Students enrolled in such a program might find themselves completing the following courses:
- Data communications
- Computer control
- Advanced operating systems concepts
- Computer systems architecture
- Computer graphics
- Advanced software engineering
Popular Career Options
Applied computer science is a broad term that can be applied to any specific type of computer-related career. Graduates of a baccalaureate program in the field might go on to become a:
- Computer game designer
- Software engineer
- Computer programmer
- Database administrator
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
There are many jobs available for individuals who graduate from a master's degree program in applied computer science, such as management and supervisorial positions in the IT field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information systems managers held 341,250 jobs in the U.S. in 2015 and are projected to see a 15% growth in employment. In May 2015, the BLS indicated these workers made a median annual salary of $131,600 (www.bls.gov).
Certification in the IT field is often offered through software companies or product vendors. Graduates of a degree program in applied computer science might seek to earn these designations to make themselves more desirable to prospective employers. For example, they might choose to gain certification in a particular company's operating systems or in a particular programming language or type of software. To earn certifications, individuals must complete an examination either online or at a testing center.
Coursework for an applied computer science degree program typically includes courses such as software engineering, networking and data communications. Certification may also be offered through software companies or product vendors, which may help to advance a student's career.