Can You Get a Computer Science Degree Online?

Computer ScienceThanks to the flexibility of distance learning, many students with an interest in technology are currently considering whether or not they can get a computer science degree online instead of utilizing traditional campus-based programs. Growth in online learning over the course of the past two decades has been significantly friendly to computer science programs, which are now offered online by some of the leading names in technology education and computer science coursework. Today, students who wish to burnish their tech interests with skills in computer science, programming, systems design, and network security, can do so without ever setting foot in a traditional classroom or on-campus lab. There are some important things to remember when signing up for one of these programs, however.

Course Materials Go Well Textbooks for Computer Science Students

One of the biggest benefits of enrolling in a campus-based computer science program is the availability of advanced university computer labs that give students the tools they need at no extra expense beyond the cost of tuition. For students who wish to bypass campus attendance and take an online computer science program, this is something to consider. Most courses will require students to master the Windows, Mac, and Linux computing environments, and that means being able to run all three operating systems from home.

Most students will also have to learn how to use programming languages compatible with all three operating systems, which may require them to purchase certain software as well as any textbooks for their classes. Online students typically don’t have the quick convenience of a computer lab. Those who at least have the ability to switch between the three major operating system environments, however, can typically bypass this drawback with ease.

Look for Two Kinds of Accreditation: Regional and ABET

The best online degree programs are accredited by a regional body that has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Regional accreditation ensures the programs overall quality and its adherence to basic academic standards, and it also makes the degree program eligible for federal financial aid programs like Stafford Loans and Pell Grants. Only programs accredited by one of these regional bodies, or a recognized national accrediting agency, should be an option for online learners.

Within the computer science field, it’s also important to look for a program that has been accredited by ABET, or the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. According to the US News and World Report, though not a required accreditation by any means, the ABET seal of approval often means that a problem is highly regarded in the computer science field, with rigorous coursework and strong student outcomes in the workplace. This is a real benefit for students to might graduate into uncertain economic times and who might simply need every possible advantage when they begin scheduling job interviews.

Related Resource: Online Executive MBA

Online Computer Science Programs Are a Great Choice for Most Students

Students who have access to a wealth of high-tech tools and systems, and the desire to further their tech enthusiasm with a variety of skills, can benefit greatly from an online degree in computer science. Opting to pursue a computer science degree online means committing a significant amount of time to compute programming, computer science, network security, professional ethics, and many other fields, but today’s students will benefit almost immediately after they complete the program thanks to a continually strong high-tech job market.