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Distance Learning Diplomas and Certificates in Computer Science

Learn about distance learning diplomas and certificates within the field of computer science, and get an overview of the programs offered, requirements, course descriptions, and a sample of the course offerings for this field.

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  • Computer and Information Sciences, General
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Essential Information

Computer science is a broad discipline that encompasses a wide range of sub-fields and specialties. Some online diploma or certificate programs offer students a general overview or foundation in computer science, while others are narrowly focused on a specialty or particular technology. These programs are fully online. Students will be required to have word processing and spreadsheet software along with possible compiler/coding software.

Admission to undergraduate programs in this field may not require much more than having a high school diploma or GED, but students applying to graduate-level certificate programs must have a bachelor's degree and often some level of proficiency related to the area of study being pursued. For instance, a graduate program in computer programming may require prerequisites in certain programming methods and languages.

Common Courses

Distance learners can usually complete a certificate or diploma in a computer science field within a time frame ranging from just a few months up to two years. These programs typically contain little to no general education classes, which allows students to progress through the curriculum faster. A distance learning program for computer science may offer online courses in the following areas:

  • Computer Programming
  • Application Development
  • Software Engineering
  • Operating Systems
  • Network Administration
  • Database Administration
  • Network Telecommunications
  • Object-Oriented Methods
  • Web Development
  • Computer Security

Online Learning

Many choose distance learning diploma and certificate programs because their flexibility can allow students to work or attend to other responsibilities while completing classes. Online computer science programs typically allow individuals to view lectures and course materials on their own schedule, though assignments and participation may have a required deadline. Discussion boards and class chat rooms are common methods of interaction between distance learners, their peers and instructors.


Career Information

Students who earn a diploma or certificate in computer science have many professional possibilities. However, career options will depend not only upon the type of diploma or certificate program a student chooses to complete, but also that student's prior experience and education. Many of the jobs listed below require at least an associate's or bachelor's degree. Potential job titles and career areas include the following:

  • Computer Programmer
  • Programs Analyst
  • Software Architect
  • Systems Analyst
  • Network Administrator
  • Information Technology Manager
  • Systems Engineer
  • Web Developer

Certificate and diploma programs in computer science can be earned fully online, allowing maximum schedule flexibility. Students learn about operating systems, software, databases, networking, computer security and more.

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