Best Online Degrees in Computer Science and Information Technology

If you have strong analytical skills spiked with a bit of creativity and a deep interest in all-things technology, a degree in computer science and IT may be right for you.

Representing 31 percent of the global market for 2018, the tech industry is one of the largest in the country. It is also one of the top 10 economic contributors in 42 states. A computer science or IT degree can be well worth the investment with average annual wages for tech professionals more than double compared to all other jobs, reports Cyberstates 2018.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an opening of 557,100 tech jobs from 2016 to 2026 with a faster than average job growth of 13 percent. With the job market so hungry for qualified IT professionals and computer scientists, the government has introduced several initiatives that support, sustain and propel technological advances. The initiatives described below are likely to translate to a higher demand for those with an IT or computer science degree:

  • Over $2.5 billion in federal grants are given to over 5,000 businesses each year to help them introduce high-tech products to the market through the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIRM).
  • In September 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding of $1.2 million that would supply advanced technology to improve manufacturing processes.
  • According to U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, millions of dollars in federal funding is being used to prepare students for IT occupations that have not yet even been imagined.

Tim Herbert, senior vice president of research and market intelligence for CompTIA, the world’s leading technology industry association, states:

“Employer demand for tech talent continues to outstrip supply in many markets. Nationally, the number of job postings associated with emerging technologies increased 27 percent year-over-year — further confirmation employers are ramping up hiring in areas such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality, and more.”

Working professionals or high school graduates who want to work part-time and study may find an online degree program in computer science or IT an attractive option allowing you the flexibility to study at your own pace.

Students interested in online computer science and information technology degrees can find a variety of programs to choose from ranging from development to networking, IT maintenance and security.

The sections below can guide you as you consider an education path that can meet with your career goals.

Be sure to click on the buttons under each section to explore the range of online degree program options you have. 

Explore our list of top online colleges, crafted specially for online students, using factors that can play an important role in your online education experience and success.

Online Computer Science Degrees in Development

Ever wonder who is at the forefront of technology, pushing systems beyond current boundaries and creating new applications? It’s often people like computer programmers, software engineers and video game developers, who are finding expanded uses for current technologies. The field of IT development is vast, but requires professionals to be proficient in one or more computer coding languages so that they can create new software, new applications or new interfaces. Jobs for software developers are expected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS.

Click on the buttons below for more detailed information, such as the salary you can expect, career options, and other data-driven information that is likely to be important as you consider a degree .

Online Computer Science Degrees in Networking

Perhaps nothing could be more important to an organization’s IT department than computer networking. Networking promotes efficiency in many ways in the workplace — including the ability to access materials on a shared drive, to print to a color or remote printer and to send emails to one another instead of walking over to see a colleague. Organizations also can find that networking is a money saver because it allows resources to be shared in terms of both hardware and software. Jobs for network and computer systems administrators could grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2016, reports the BLS.

By opening any of the buttons below, you can find information on the career outlook, typical duties, coursework you can expect by degree level, and wages you might be able to earn related to these concentrations.

Online Information Technology Management Degrees

There are so many IT processes occurring in organizations that management of all these moving parts is necessary. This can include someone who manages IT services, assets and strategies within an organization, which could lead to saved money and time. Jobs for computer and information systems managers and database administrators are expected to grow at rates that are faster than average for all other jobs from 2016 to 2026, reports BLS, particularly in states like California, Texas, and New York. Technology educators are also needed for K12 and higher education.

Explore any of the buttons below for information on these degree programs such as jobs you may be eligible for with their expected wages, coursework and other data that can guide you as you consider your various options.

Online Computer Science Degrees in Security and Maintenance

It is never a lighthearted situated when a printer goes down or the wireless network is not working. Business becomes even more troubling, however, when there is a loss of information because a server failed or when there is a breach of a firewall and personal client details are exposed. People with degrees in information systems security, technical management and technical support help maintain equipment and systems from the more mundane to the more essential. Security is a quickly growing field with instances of cybercrime rising. The BLS predicts that jobs for information security analysts are likely to grow by 28 percent from 2016 to 2026.

Click on any of the buttons below for details on online information technology degrees in security, assurance and maintenance such as coursework you might encounter by degree level, career outlook, and typical wages you might be able to expect.

Our list of top 10 online colleges by degree level was crafted using a methodology that includes factors important for you to consider as you choose your online school. Our close scrutiny of online schools factored in a methodology such as average in-state tuition, percentage of financial aid, retention rate, credit offerings for military service or life experience, and more. For a complete list of factors, check out our methodology at the bottom of this page.

Best Online Colleges for Associate In Computer Science and Information Technology

This list of top online colleges in computer science and IT are best geared for people seeking programs about two years of length. Degrees at this level may help graduates to find entry-level positions or to move on toward a four-year degree programs. According to the BLS, one of the highest-paying jobs with an associate degree can be that of a web developer.

Best Online Colleges for Bachelor’s In Computer Science and Information Technology

Bachelor’s degree programs in computer science and IT typically take four years to finish. Computer and information systems managers and database administrators typically require an entry-level education of a bachelor’s degree.

Best Online Colleges for Master’s in Computer Science and Information Technology

Many master’s degree programs take just two years to complete and can prepare graduates for expanded career opportunities or responsibilities. Computer and information research scientists typically require an entry-level education of a master’s degree.

What jobs you can get with information technology degrees? That is a great question, and the potential jobs associated with a computer science and IT degree are numerous. Check out this list of the top IT and computer science occupations, all selected for their employment numbers and average salaries.

Success Story Video: Computer science and IT Graduate

Occupations In-Demand for Technology It
Job Openings
Median Salary
Typical Entry Level Education
Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers99,200$111,620Bachelor’s degree
Computer Systems Analysts53,400$96,160Bachelor’s degree
Computer Occupations, All Other35,700$92,410Bachelor’s degree
Network and Computer Systems Administrators29,300$88,410Bachelor’s degree
Computer Network Support Specialists17,400$68,860Associate’s degree
Computer Programmers15,100$92,610Bachelor’s degree
Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers15,100$82,370Associate’s degree
Information Security Analysts12,800$104,210Bachelor’s degree
Computer Network Architects12,200$115,110Bachelor’s degree
Database Administrators and Architects9,700$96,110Bachelor’s degree

Methodologies and Sources

To be included in our rankings for the top colleges for online degrees in technology and IT by degree level all colleges had to meet the following 4 requirements:

  • Offer a degree or certificate program in that subject, either in an online or hybrid format
  • Have at least 1% of students attending some form of distance education
  • Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2015-16
  • Have reported data for all 19 ranking variables for associate/bachelor’s and 11 ranking variables for master’s (listed below)

We then ranked colleges and universities in the United States that fit our criteria, using 2016-17 data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the weights specified. The final totals were:

  • 202 colleges for online associate degree in technology and IT
  • 121 colleges for online bachelor’s degree in technology and I
  • 114 colleges for online master’s degree in technology and IT

We then scored the final list of colleges by degree level on a 100-point scale using these specific data points:

Associate/Bachelor’s

  1. Associate’s/Bachelor’s Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded via distance education in 2016-2017 were in this particular subject
  2. Ratio of undergraduate students participating fully or partially in Distance Education to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  4. Retention rate
  5. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  6. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students
  7. Student-to-faculty ratio
  8. Variety of Programs, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered via distance education at any level
  9. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  10. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Prepaid, Other)
  11. Services (Academic/Career Counseling, Placement for Completers)
  12. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)

Master’s

  1. Master’s Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded via distance education in 2016-2017 were in this particular subject
  2. Ratio of graduate students participating fully or partially in Distance Education to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for graduates
  4. Credit offerings (Life, Military)
  5. Services (Academic/Career Counseling, Placement for Completers)
  6. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Prepaid, Other)
  7. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media

Methodology Sources

    • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources

    • Computer and Information Science Managers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed November 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm
    • Computer and Information Technology Occupations, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed November 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
    • Cyberstates, CompTIA, https://www.cyberstates.org/, accessed November 2018
    • Database Administrators Occupations, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed November 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm
    • Energy Department Announces $1.2 Million High Performance Computing for Manufacturing Opportunity for Steel and Aluminum Production, September 2018, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/energy-department-announces-12-million-high-performance-computing-manufacturing
    • Government IT Initiatives, U.S. General Services Administration, Accessed November 2018, https://www.gsa.gov/technology/government-it-initiatives
    • Information Security Analysts, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed November 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
    • IT Industry Outlook 2018, CompTIA, https://www.comptia.org/resources/it-industry-trends-analysis, accessed November 2018
    • Master’s Degree, Information Technology Degree, Payscale.com, Accessed November 2018, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Master%27s_Degree%2C_Information_Technology_(IT)/Salary
    • Network and Computer Systems Administrators, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed November 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm
    • Software Developers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed November 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm
    • Starting a High-Tech Business? You May be Eligible for Government Funding, June 2017, U.S. Small Business Administration, https://www.sba.gov/blogs/starting-high-tech-business-you-may-be-eligible-government-funding
    • TechHire Initiative, the Obama White House, Accessed November 2018, https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/issues/technology/techhire
    • The Technology Modernization Fund, the Technology Modernization Fund, Accessed November 2018, https://tmf.cio.gov/
    • Top 10 Technology Trends for 2018: IEEE Computer Society Predicts the Future of Tech, IEEE, Accessed November 2018, Top 10 Technology Trends for 2018: IEEE Computer Society Predicts the Future of Tech
    • U.S. Department of Education Announces STEM, Computer Science Education Grant Opportunities, April, 2018, U.S. Department of Education, https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-stem-computer-science-education-grant-opportunities
Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
 
Methodologies and Sources