Computer science may sound like a new concept but it dates back centuries to 2700-2300 BCE when the Abacus was invented. This little “computer” consisted of wires and beads, and formed a simple calculator that’s still used by some people today. And, even though it may seem basic, especially compared to the computers we have now, the concept of computer science remains largely the same – to make calculations quicker than the human brain.
There’s no denying that computer science has evolved dramatically over the years to provide us with all the mod cons we’re used to, including mobile phones and tablet devices. But the perception of computer scientists is also changing. Previously, one may have pictured a computer scientist as someone wearing thick-rimmed glasses and who can only communicate through code. But today, computer scientists are becoming the cool kids on the block. This is because computer science is being increasingly recognized as a fundamental part of the world, both for business and personal reasons.
So, if you want to be a part of this revolution, a course in computer science may be the ideal choice for you!
Types of Work: In stark contrast to the traditional perception, a computer scientist has to be incredibly adept at communicating with others. They’ll be heavily involved in working with others to invent and design new ways of using computers, while also finding innovative new ways to use existing technologies. Solving computing problems is required in most industries, which is why you’ll find computer scientists working in all niches, from medicine to science and from business to leisure.
On a day-to-day basis, computer scientists will be exploring computing’s fundamental issues, helping engineers and scientists to solve these. They’ll look to invent new computing methods, tools, and languages alongside developing and improving current software systems. Once they find a solution, they’ll design an experiment so they can test their theory and analyze the results of this test. If their findings are significant, they’ll then discuss these in academic journals, perhaps even presenting their discoveries at a relevant conference.
As a computer scientist, your career path can vary significantly, depending what you want to specialize in. You may work in an academic setting, focusing most of your efforts on research and development, or you may be hired by an organization to work on a project that will generate more revenue for the company. Alternatively, you may decide to teach others about computer science, as many people from this type of background become postsecondary teachers.
Career Outlook Statistics: Because computer science is becoming an increasingly important role, the demand for computer scientists from 2014 to 2024 is expected to rise by 11%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is 4% higher than the average for all jobs, providing you with added security when pursuing this type of career. Furthermore, the financial rewards are also bountiful with the average computer scientist earning $110,620 per year. And to succeed in this role a professional or doctoral degree is recommended.
Types of Courses: Computer science courses can vary according to the type of work you want to get involved in afterwards. For example, you may want to focus on cyber security or web development. However, most computer science courses will cover a wide range of topics, including programming (which will be done in several different languages); database management; operating systems; computer architecture and systems; and object-oriented programming.
Learning computer science isn’t for the faint of heart; becoming a pro with computers and computer systems takes hard work and dedication. Oftentimes many successful developers are strong self-learners. If you want to excel in computer science you’ll need a strong math background as well as a knack for understanding logic within complex systems.
While earning a computer science degree you can expect to take courses in Algorithms, Operating Systems, Advanced Mathematics, Cryptography and Security, Networking, Artificial Intelligence, Software Development and many other exciting courses. You will also learn the ins and outs of multiple computer coding languages, and many platforms for developing amazing programs. In addition to your computer science coursework, you’ll be learning advanced level mathematics.
Some computer science related careers include: Computer Network Architect, Computer Programmer, App Developer, Web Developer, Software Developer, Network Systems Administrator, Information Security Analyst, Database Administrator, Systems Analyst, Cryptographer, and many other amazing careers.
Online Computer Science Degrees & Certificates
Georgia Tech (Masters): Georgia Tech is changing the way universities offer education and you should be excited about this. Consistently ranked as one of the top 5 Computer Science programs in the world, Georgia Tech offers its Online Master’s of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS) in partnership with open course provider Udacity. This means instead of paying exorbitant amounts of money for graduate school, you can earn a Master’s degree for under $10,000. Furthermore, you can learn at your convenience—the program of study may be completed in 1 to 4 years.
At Georgia Tech you will receive the same instruction as those choosing to attend the physical campus, as well as all the benefits and resources as a typical master’s student. You can expect to take courses in Advance Operating Systems, Computer Networks, Software Development, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Algorithms, Computer Vision, and other phenomenal courses.
Additionally, you can earn specializations in Computational Perception & Robotics, Databases & Software Engineering, High-Performance Computing, Interactive Intelligence, Machine Learning, Networking, Social Computing, and Systems.
This program isn’t for everyone; the rigors and expectations of the OMS CS program hold students to high standards. One must still apply for the program, hold a bachelor’s degree, submit official transcripts, and meet all of Georgia Tech’s standards to be considered for matriculation. For more information and admissions standards, please visit Georgia Tech’s OMS CS program page.
Oregon State (BS): If you have a prior BA or BS, meet Oregon State’s admissions standards, and want to earn a high-quality computer science degree, OSU’s program might be right for you! Oregon State offers a one of a kind post-baccalaureate program in computer science that combines the skills and knowledge of your previous degree(s) that will be sure to enhance your resume. At OSU, you will gain access to a wide-variety of career options, as well as prepare you to earn more money than you previously could have imagined in another field.
OSU’s program is a total immersion program—you will only take classes in computer science. OSU’s program may be completed in as little as 1 year, or at most, 3 years, depending on your busy life and schedule. Online students will receive the same degree as on-campus students, and have access to OSU’s phenomenal instructors. Coursework includes the following areas: Programming, Software Engineering, Computer Systems and Networking, Databases, Usability, and Mobile and Web Development.
If you are prepared to learn new computing skills, enter a highly lucrative field, OSU’s post-baccalaureate program might be right for you!
Dakota State (BS): Dakota State is a leader in online technology degrees and offer a competitive online computer science degree that will equip you to take on the most difficult of computer development challenges. Offering online bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science, Computer Game Design, Cyber Operations, Information Systems, Mathematics for Information Systems, and Network and Security Administration, Dakota State takes its technology seriously. In fact, you may even want to consider a dual degree, since many degrees have overlapping coursework.
At $301 per credit hour, this is an affordable degree for those looking to gain invaluable skills and knowledge in preparation for a computer-related career. In addition to normal coursework, students are given research opportunities in data mining, artificial intelligence, network security, high performance computing, cryptography, and parallel computing. Coursework at Dakota State includes advanced level classes in computer development that are often part of a graduate level course. Additionally, this program qualifies for Dakota State’s Fast Track program, which mean you could earn one year of a graduate degree as you finish your bachelor’s degree.
Colorado Tech (Master’s): Available online, Colorado Technical University’s M.S. in Computer Science involves 24 hours worth of core classes, 20 hours of concentration on your chosen credits, and 4 hours of Computer Science Capstone, all of which earn you a total of 48 credits.
U.S. News has also ranked this University, with its online program in computer science being one of the ones that made the list. This is just one of the many accolades that CTU has earned due to the personalized learning system which enables you to control your work according to your schedule. A Fast Track is also available where you can save up to 30% on your tuition fees by passing relevant assessments on the content that you already know.
At the heart of this Bachelor of Science program is the foundation of computer science practices, theories, and concepts. These include system engineering methods, analysis and design of algorithms, and modern operating systems. And if you’re keen to specialize in a specific topic, the areas of concentration offered by CTU are software engineering, computer systems security, general computer science, and database systems. And, to finish it all off in style, the last quarter of the program sees you putting your newfound skills to the test by applying them in a software development, networking, or computer science scenario.
Saint Leo University – Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems: Run by the online School of Business at Saint Leo University, the B.S. in Computer Information Systems explores a number of areas, including project management, information technology, systems design and analysis, network design and theory, data programming and concepts, decision support systems, information security, JAVA, and visual basic. However, the course doesn’t just revolve around the technologies and tools needed to pursue a career as a computer scientist. It also emphasizes leadership and critical thinking skills, which are fundamental when working in a business environment.
As a leading provider of online courses, Saint Leo University’s computer information systems course is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). And the course has been designed to meet with the demands of modern life, enabling students to combine their program with their day-to-day lives while still benefiting from traditional classroom education through modern technology.
The course is targeted towards those who want a career in areas such as IT management, technical support, web programming and design, IT project management, network administration, system analysis, and programming. The University also offers a specific Bachelor of Science Computer Science course which specializes in information assurance. Taught by experts from IBM, Texas Instruments, and other industry-leading organizations, this course is ideal if you’re wanting to grasp computer forensics and security.
Georgia Institute of Technology – Master of Science in Computer Science: If you’re looking to gain your master’s in computer science but don’t want to stop working in order to achieve this, Georgia Tech may have the answer for you. Offering a top-ranked degree but without the hefty price tag, this master’s can be completely entirely online, giving you the chance to juggle it with your work and lifestyle.
To offer this degree, Georgia Tech teamed up with AT&T and Udacity, becoming the first to offer an accredited degree in computer science – online. And with a total cost of approximately $7,000, you can see why it’s already attracted thousands of students from all over the world (in 86 countries to be exact).
Currently, some of the courses on offer within this master’s program include software analysis, network security, computer networks, educational technology, high-performance computer architecture, and computer vision. However, in the not too distant future, Georgia Tech also hope to offer courses in biomedical analytics, data visualization, and computational journalism. These courses are currently in the development phase, so keep your eyes peeled for them entering the curriculum as they’ll give your degree even more panache!
Brandman University – Bachelor of Science in Computing Technology, Information Technology: With an emphasis on Information Technology, this B.S. in Computing Technology helps to prepare you for a career in IT. It teaches you how to adhere to the industry’s code of ethics, what impact the economy is having on information technology, and how to communicate effectively. You’re also offered the choice of concentrating on one of two areas in your degree – project management or business system administration.
From 2012-15, Brandman University’s online programs were ranked the best in the U.S. by U.S. News. As an accredited institution, Brandman allows you to plan your classes and coursework around your schedule while still reaping all the benefits that classroom-based students gain.
At the end of the program, you can expect to be able to communicate effectively in a range of settings, both professional and organizational; be able to analyze data and determine probability to make critical business decisions; be able to analyze IT problems by applying logical reasoning; and be able to analyze, design, and implement a set of systems based on a specific area.
Self-Guided Online Computer Science Courses
Courses will test your abilities by using screencasts and coding challenges in order for you to move on to the next lesson. Code School’s course offerings provide fun and challenging exercises that will help you enjoy learning new coding languages. Courses increase in difficulty and will prepare you with a comprehensive knowledge of how to tackle demanding problems.
Plans start at $29/month or save a little cash and pay for extended month memberships. Courses are taught by established and professional developers. You will be sure to love these courses! Find out why people are raving about these courses and try out a lesson for free!
Codeacademy presents information in an intuitive, easy to use platform that will appease the most basic of learner and the most knowledgeable programming wizard. Codeacademy offers tutorials in interactive projects that require you to progressively learn more and more until you don’t even realize you have a command of coding language. One of our writers who had never even dared to deal with HTML before started messing around with Codeacademy’s platform and quickly learned the basics of HTML in no time flat! We’re big fans of Codeacademy and think you should be too!
|Codecademy Online Tutorials||Learn HTML & CSS Programming|
|Codecademy Online Tutorials||Learn jQuery Programming|
|Codecademy Online Tutorials||Learn PHP Programming|
|Codecademy Online Tutorials||Learn Python Programming|
|Codecademy Online Tutorials||Learn Ruby Programming|
Udacity: Partnering with Georgia Tech, Google, and other major players to provide affordable, high-quality online computer science courses, Udacity offers a wide range of courses that will be sure to accommodate any aptitude of learning. Whether it’s a beginning Intro to Computer Science course or an advanced level cryptography course, Udacity has something for everyone.
Courses are hands on and taught by credentialed instructors who provide critical feedback and guidance. You will learn through live, video, and interactive tutorials designed for you to retain expert knowledge. These popular courses are either free or offered as part of a subscription, which costs $150/month. Join thousands of people that love these courses and sign up today!
Courses may be taken at your own pace and include tests to gauge your level of understanding. Additionally, W3Schools serves as an incredible reference that you may return to at any point. Certificates of completion and mastery over a given topic are available for a fee.
udemy: This global marketplace of online courses is a must-visit for anyone who’s interested in computer science. Whether you’re looking to start your computer science learning from scratch or you’re wanting to perfect some of your skills, udemy is sure to have a course that’s tailored to your specific requirements.
From Java programming essentials to computer science basics, these courses are targeted at all levels, allowing you to find something that will enrich and expand your existing knowledge. Each of the courses have been rated by previous students, allowing you to find one that’s been recommended by like-minded individuals. And you can also find specific IT sections if you’re wanting to delve deeper into one particular area – such as network and security, operating systems, or IT certification.
ed2go: If you’re keen to start learning about computer science but under your own initiative and in your own time, ed2go should be one of your first points of call. Boasting a network that contains hundreds of organizations, including top colleges and universities, you can find courses that are led by experts and provide you with lots of information that you can put into practice. As an up-and-coming computer scientist, you may be interested to discover the courses on advanced PC security or cloud networking. Already a computer scientist? Then you might want to explore the courses that are aimed towards those who want to start teaching computer science to others.
Envato Tuts+: On this extensive learning platform you won’t find many online courses for computer science (there’s one on programming with Java) but you will find a plethora of how-to tutorials and eBooks. This makes it a go-to place for furthering your learnings and finding practical information that you can tie in with other courses.
For example, the how-to tutorials cover everything from internet security to running your own business, providing you with a rounded learning scheme. But the true value lies in the eBooks that are provided by Envato Tuts+ as these are in-depth guides that will help you to get to grips with machine learning, Big Data analytics, NumPy essentials, regression analysis with Python, and how to design a machine learning system with Python. The most expensive of these books is $70 (the others are around $40) but with 901 pages to go at – we’d consider that a bargain!
Lynda.com: From understanding data science to building a foundation of knowledge on programming, Lynda.com offers an eclectic range of courses that are centered around computer science. And the beauty of this learning platform is it guides you in the right direction, offering you learning paths that will take you from one level to the next.
For example, as a computer scientist, you may find the learning paths in IT beneficial, such as operating systems or cloud computing. Whatever your choice, you can be confident in the people who are teaching you as they’ve been specially selected as recognized experts within a particular field. And, as a platform that’s run by LinkedIn, it’s easy to update your portfolio with the courses you’ve completed.
: The guys at Codecademy realized that traditional education doesn’t work for everyone, which is why they started to bring it to people’s homes. Students can learn to code on this website for free. For example, there’s a Python programming lesson, which provides you with an interactive course that will enable you to get your head around this key programming language. On this course there are a total of 8 projects, 9 quizzes and 1 final project. You can also upgrade to Cocademy Pro for $19.99 per month, which gives you access to advisors, projects, quizzes, and learning plans
Computer Science MOOCs (Open College Courses)
MIT OpenCourseWare: Consistently ranked as the top Computer Science program in the world, MIT has archived hundreds of its top undergraduate and graduate courses. OpenCourseWare provides you with access to these courses as well as a plethora of course materials, lectures, assignments, and oftentimes, much more. These remarkable courses will equip you with the theoretical, analytical, and hands-on tools to tackle many divergent computer challenges.
Courses cover almost every basic topic you can think of, as well as many advanced-level subjects and issues. Some of the top courses include: Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, Circuits and Electronics, Introduction to C and C++, and Introduction to Algorithms. If you are interested in learning useful and technical skills, MIT OpenCourseWare might have a course perfect for you!
|MIT OpenCourseWare||Electrical Engineering and Computer Science|
|MIT OpenCourseWare||Introduction to Computer Science and Programming|
|MIT OpenCourseWare||Circuits and Electronics|
|MIT OpenCourseWare||Introduction to C and C++|
|MIT OpenCourseWare||Introduction to MATLAB|
|MIT OpenCourseWare||Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs|
|MIT OpenCourseWare||Introduction to Algorithms|
Stanford OpenEd: Are you interested in taking a course from one of the top universities in the world? Stanford OpenEd offers many exciting, self-paced courses that will be sure to allow you to demonstrate complex and challenging computing skills. These courses are led by professors at Stanford and will help you learn about many facets and aspects of computer science.
Covering a wide range of beginning, intermediate, and advanced-level subjects, Stanford’s courses will test your knowledge with interactive programming exercises and exams. These courses usually take 6 weeks to complete, but you will learn vast amounts of knowledge about computers, programming, and development. Don’t miss out on these phenomenal courses!
Coursera: Are you interested in taking some of the best online courses that thousands of people recommend? Coursera offers computer science classes that will give you expertise in basic and intermediate computing concepts and skills. Taught by credentialed instructors from top universities around the world, these courses will help you gain invaluable skills and allow you test your newly found knowledge. Additionally, these courses will provide you with a certificate of completion attesting to your new found aptitudes!
Some of Coursera’s top courses include: Learn to Program, An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python, and Linear and Integer Programming. In fact, An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python is one of the best online classes you can take! This 9 week course is designed to help you learn the basics of building simple, interactive applications. You will learn how to program simple interactive games such as Pong, Blackjack, and Asteroids! If you want to gain new computing proficiencies, check out Coursera!
This subject is at the heart of computer science, which makes this course a must for anyone who’s just starting out in this niche. Aimed at those who have got a little bit of programming experience, this course will introduce you to algorithms throughout four courses, all of which take place over four weeks. The course is run by Stanford University with the instructor being Tim Roughgarden – a professor who has been specializing in computer science (and algorithms in particular) at the university since 2004.
Run by the University of Michigan, this five-course program helps to introduce you to data science through the programming language of Python. It’s ideal if you’ve got a basic knowledge of programming or Python and are looking for help applying, information visualization, machine learning, statistical, social network analysis, and text analysis through Python toolkits such as networkx, nltk, scikit-learn, matplotlib, and pandas. After you’ve completed all five of these courses, a certificate is issued.
: Founded in 2012 by MIT and Harvard University, edX is an MOOC provider and great online destination for those who want to learn. Computer science is one of the chosen topics on offer with a great range of courses available which cover aspects such as Big Data, software engineering, cyber security, and artificial intelligence (AI). Free courses are available but you’re also able to add a certification to the course for $49. And when you’re being taught by industry-leading experts from the likes of Microsoft, this is definitely money well spent!
ALISON: Offering courses from some of the world’s top publishers, ALISON gives you access to every subject imaginable. For the budding computer scientist there is a range of IT courses available, including networking, databases, programming, and statistics. You may also want to check out the diploma courses on offer, as these provide you with a recognized certification that will help to improve your career prospects. Of note are the diplomas in Information Technology Management and Computer Networking – both of which are free!
Harvard University Online Learning: On Harvard University’s website you’ll find a number of online courses, including free ones that are run in conjunction with edX. While these don’t come with any credentials, a course that’s offered by those at Harvard University has got to be worth taking, especially when it’s free! For example, they currently offer two free courses which are Using Python for Research and CS50: Introduction to Computer Science. These courses will also give you a better understanding of what you can expect if you want to pay for a course with Harvard University. Some of the paid courses (which are run through the Extension School) include Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science and Introduction to the Theory of Computation.
: Created out of Stanford University, Udacity’s ambition is to bring free courses to all types of students. Built by esteemed companies such as Google, these free courses cover everything from Java programming to theoretical computer science. They even offer “nanodegrees”, which help you to master in-demand skills while also earning a valued credential. For example, you could gain a nanodegree in programming, which teaches you a foundation of programming skills that can then be used to analyze data, create web pages, or program apps.
Computer Science Resources
Invent with Python: This book (available to read online for free) offers you a step-by-step guide on the programming language, Python. Explaining code in laymen’s terms, this book is very easy to follow and understand, making it a great resource for all those who are starting out in computer science. You can even take a course on udemy once you’ve finished to make sure you’ve grasped all of the key aspects of this book.
The author’s also written a number of other books, including Game Programming for Young Adults, Develop Video Games, and Encrypt Messages and Hack Ciphers – again, all of these are available to read online for free; or, if you prefer a hard copy, you can order them on Amazon.
Computer Science Teachers Association: If you’re interested in teaching others about computer science, you may want to look at joining the CSTA. This membership organization supports teachers, helping them to better understand computer science and the best ways of passing their knowledge onto others. They also offer a Cyber Teacher Certificate, which is an online professional development program that enables teachers to bring cyber security to the classroom.
Google Computer Science Learning Opportunities: For those who are interested in computer science, Google has developed a range of scholarships, programs, and resources. The scholarships include financial aid that will help to support you at every stage of your learning, the programs include career resources and competitions, and the resources provide you with enriching materials that will enhance your time as a student.
Computing in Science Engineering: Co-published by the American Institute of Physics and the IEEE Computer Society, this magazine brings you all the latest news, trends, book reviews, conference reports, and more, helping you to stay on top of everything. Fancy yourself as a computer science journalist? Then you might want to have a go at writing for CiSE as they have regular calls for papers.