Associate of Computer Science: Degree Overview

Associate's degree programs in computer science combine theory and practice to teach students about computer usage, programming and maintenance. Students in the associate's degree program can choose to continue into a bachelor's degree program in computer science.

\!!!Essential Information

Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate of Science or an Associate of Applied Science degree, and they may choose to work immediately after graduating or to transfer to a 4-year college to pursue a bachelor's degree. . A high school diploma or the equivalent is usually required for admission.

Some schools offer 2+2 programs for students wishing to continue their studies, and some offer online degree options. Graduates can also pursue voluntary certification if they decide to immediately enter the workforce instead.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
  • Online Availability: Commonly offered at the undergraduate level
  • Other Requirements: For some programs, internships and lab work are a requirement for graduation

Associate's Degree in Computer Science

A computer science program can offer students opportunities to work in computer labs to gain hands-on experience learning about computer science. Additionally, students may participate in internships with local businesses where they put their classroom knowledge to use in real-world situations. Some courses may be offered through distance learning. Course topics may include:

  • Database management systems
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Data Structures and algorithms
  • Java for computer science
  • Visual programming

Popular Career Options

Computer science is a field that offers many career options to graduates. An associate degree program in computer science could prepare students for careers various related positions, such as:

  • Computer programmers
  • Computer support specialists
  • Systems analysts

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment growth for computer programmers is expected to be 8% over the 2012-2022 decade (www.bls.gov), while computer support specialists could see job opportunities grow by 17% over the same period. The median annual salary for computer programmers as of May 2014 was $77,550, and computer support specialists earned a median of $47,660, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Although many employers prefer that a computer technician or programmer has a bachelor's degree, employees may be hired with an associate's degree and some experience. Employers often provide additional on-the-job training.

Interested individuals may also choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science and become computer software engineers, advanced computer programmers or systems managers or administrators. Certification, which can be obtained through training institutions, certifying agencies and software vendors, may improve employment and career advancement opportunities.

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