Associate of Applied Computer Science: Online Degree

Learn about online degree programs with computer science courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements, degree levels and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

Online associate's degree programs in applied computer science are tough to find, but computer science degree programs are commonly offered online at that level. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in applied computer science are also available through distance education. Students can complete these programs entirely through online study, accessing lectures and course materials as their schedules permit. They will need an up-to-date computer equipped with a fast Internet connection and may be required to download software for their classes. Other field-specific hardware may also be necessary.

The 2-year associate's degree programs give basic foundational knowledge of the field, with instruction in fundamentals such as troubleshooting, programming and data structures. In the bachelor's degree program, the curriculum includes basic information covered in the associate's program, along with more advanced topics such as the development and administration of computer networks. Website development and operating systems are also covered in this program.

Associate's Degree in Computer Science

While programs in applied computer science aren't typically offered at the associate's level, 2-year computer science programs are available online. These associate's programs give students the foundational knowledge necessary for entry-level computer programming positions. Common topics include computer languages, object-oriented analysis and software architecture.

Program Requirements and Information

Online computer science associate's programs usually consist of 64 credits and can often be completed in two years; in-class attendance isn't a requirement. Course content is delivered via textbooks, as well as lectures and videos accessed through virtual classrooms. Students may need computers outfitted with specific technology; requirements are set by each individual school. Students are encouraged to use high-speed Internet connections.

Course Topics

These programs expose students to a variety of computer-related subject matter, such as data structures and computer organization. Below are some examples of classes one might encounter.

Introduction to Computer Science

This course gives students a general computer science knowledge base. It may touch on topics such as problem analysis, testing and debugging, incremental development and the fundamentals of data representation.

Discrete Math

Students explore set theory, elementary number theory, symbolic logic and algebraic concepts. Proof techniques, directed graphs and Boolean algebra could also be discussed; emphasis may be placed on the concepts' applications to computer science.

Object-Oriented Data

This course introduces students to object-oriented programming, including virtual functions and polymorphism. Topics like multiple inheritance, storage management, I/O exception handling and design patterns are covered.

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Bachelor's Degree in Applied Computer Science

Students can enroll in these programs directly out of high school or after earning related associate's degrees. Bachelor's degree programs train learners to use software tools and solve computer issues. Additional topics include hardware and software, networks, operating systems and databases.

Program Requirements and Information

Course content is accessed through online classrooms and traditional textbooks. Online bachelor's programs typically take about four years of full-time study. Coursework is entirely online, with no on-campus or residency requirements to fulfill. Prior to starting online courses, students typically complete online orientations.

Online learning requires an up-to-date operating system, a broadband Internet connection and word processing software. Specific software applications may include Adobe Reader, Flash and Shockwave, as well as Apple QuickTime.

Course Topics

In addition to general education classes, students delve into computer programming and computer security. Below are examples of common core topics in computer science bachelor's programs.

Operating Systems

Students learn about different types of operating systems, including their components and functions. The course explores both PC and Mac environments.

Web Development

The course delves into website design, development and coding. Web programming languages, like Java, and the manipulation of different types of data (video, audio, graphics, etc.) may also be covered.

Computer Networking

This type of class explores the hardware and software necessary to build, maintain and administer a computer network. It discusses the different types of network operating systems, user requirements and network updating.

Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that computer programmers in May 2015 were earning a median salary of $79,530 yearly. The BLS estimated the field would decline 8% between 2014 and 2024, and job applicants with bachelor's degrees were expected to have the best job opportunities.

Bachelor's degree holders are qualified for careers as network and computer systems administrators. The BLS projected that network and computer systems administrators would see an average job growth of 8% from 2014-2024. In May 2015, there were 374,480 network and computer systems administrators with a median salary of $77,810 annually. Some of the top paying industries for this occupation were pipeline transportation, securities and commodities, and mining support.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates looking to increase their knowledge of the applied computer science field may consider obtaining master's degrees. Master of Science programs in applied computer science can be found online. Earning a master's degree can lead to a career in software engineering, computer programming and network security.

Online associate's-level programs in computer science provide a broad overview of the information technology field, with a particular focus on programming concepts. Students can get entry-level information technology jobs when they finish, or they can advance to bachelor's and eventually master's degree programs in the field in order to boost their job prospects in this increasingly competitive industry.

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