Earning a degree in computer science can open the door to satisfying and lucrative professional opportunities. Although some computer science jobs require a four-year degree or even a master’s, there are jobs available for those with a two-year degree.
Earning your two-year computer science degree online has several benefits. Learning online offers flexibility, as you can often attend classes when it’s convenient for you rather than on a set schedule. This makes online degrees a good choice for those with jobs or family commitments.
You can also attend your courses wherever you have an internet connection, from your dining room table to the local coffee shop. There may also be some financial benefits to earning your degree online.
In this article, we’ll discuss whether a two-year online computer science degree program is worth it and look at some further certification options that can increase your marketability when you are looking for the perfect job.
Is This Degree Worth It?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment in computer and information technology jobs is expected to increase by 15 percent over the next decade. This is much faster than the economy in general, which means there is likely to be an excellent selection of jobs available for those graduating with their two-year degree in the coming years.
Computer and IT jobs tend to pay well. Database administrators, for example, earn a median pay of $101,000, according to the BLS. Even computer support specialists, who need only a two-year degree to enter the field, make a median salary of $57,910, with the opportunity for advancement to higher pay grades.
The BLS states that there are roughly 418,500 new positions in the industry opening up every year, so your chances of landing that dream job are high.
Beyond Your Degree: Certifications to Consider
Earning a certification beyond your two-year online degree in computer science may help you advance in your career and take on leadership positions with increased responsibilities and a higher pay rate. Earning a certification can expand your skill set and allow you to enhance your resume or CV with additional credentials.
Here are some of the most common certifications available in the computer and IT industry:
Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications validate an individual’s expertise and knowledge in using AWS cloud services. You earn these certifications by taking a series of exams that assess your understanding of AWS services, best practices, and real-world scenarios. Certificates are available for both beginners and more advanced practitioners and cover a range of topics, including computer architecture, development, operations, security, and data analytics.
For example, to earn professional status as a cloud security architect, you would earn certification first as a cloud practitioner, which is a foundational certificate, followed by solutions architect and security certification, culminating in a professional-level certificate as a solutions architect.
Earning an AWS certificate establishes your credibility, demonstrating your competence with cloud computing. Certificates are widely recognized and enhance your job opportunities with any company that uses AWS. They also allow you to stay up-to-date with the latest advances in cloud technologies, ensuring you have the skills to excel in this rapidly evolving world.
Microsoft has certifications for many technical roles and requirements that use Microsoft technologies, products, and services. These include certificates for AI engineers, data scientists, functional consultants, and more. The certificates are available from entry-level to expert and are aligned with specific job roles and responsibilities. To earn a certification, you must pass a series of exams that test your knowledge and practical abilities.
You can prepare for certification either by using Microsoft Learn to master the concepts that will be tested or by using Microsoft Learning Partners, which offer instructor-led training opportunities to learn at your own pace. These are available in several languages, including Chinese, Arabic, and German, and they cover Microsoft products such as Azure, Dynamics 365, and Windows.
Microsoft credentials are recognized globally, and adding one or more to your resume expands your career prospects. Certified IT professionals also gain access to Microsoft resources, such as training materials and online communities, to facilitate learning and skill development.
Cisco has certified more than four million people through the Cisco Networking Academy. The company’s certificates validate the knowledge of individuals in designing, implementing, and managing Cisco networking and IT infrastructure solutions. Certifications are available at four levels: entry, associate, professional, and expert. Certificates are valid for three years, although the exams can be taken again to be recertified.
Certifications include topics such as service provider, enterprise, and Cisco Certified Technician (CCT). They prepare individuals for careers as network engineers, systems engineers, cyber ops analysts, and network security analysts, among other positions.
Cisco certifications are highly sought after by IT employers. With a Cisco certificate, you have proven that you are adept at understanding networking principles and architectures and can design and troubleshoot complex network infrastructures.
CompTIA has an IT certification series that includes IT Fundamentals, A+, Network+, and Security+. IT Fundamentals is for entry-level professionals and covers a range of IT topics. The series gradually increases in complexity, with Security+ providing a global certification for baseline skills in IT security. Other options include Cloud Essentials+ and CTT+, which test your knowledge of tools and techniques used in learning environments.
Unlike the other certifications we’ve looked at, CompTIA is vendor-neutral and not tied to a specific platform or technology. That makes these certificates very versatile and applicable for professionals across a broad range of industries and positions.
CompTIA certificates increase your employability and allow you to be seen in a positive light by an increased number of potential employers. These certificates are widely respected and can provide a solid foundation for professional growth.
This list features some of the best online 2-year computer science degree programs in the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions.
We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.
Next, we compared this comprehensive list of the best online 2-year computer science degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.