5 Best Post Baccalaureate Computer Science Online Programs [2021 Guide]
If you already have a four-year degree but want to capitalize on new opportunities in one of today’s fastest growing fields, a post baccalaureate computer science online degree program may be just what you’re looking for.
A great feature of a post bacc program in computer science is that you get to jump right in to an exciting and specialized curriculum, without repeating general education courses required for most 4-year degrees.
Since these programs are for post bacc students, they are designed to be easy to apply to and quick to complete. They are also affordable, especially if you factor in your future earning potential. Upon completing your degree you’ll find yourself in a great position to apply for high-paying jobs in a field whose growth is just getting started!
In this article, we’ll answer questions you may have about the best online post bacc programs in computer science, the kinds of courses you’ll take, jobs prospects, and how to get started.
Jump to the section that interests you most:
- Computer Science Careers & Salaries
- Computer Science Curriculum & Courses
- Admissions requirements
- Financial Aid
- List of schools offering online post-baccalaureate computer science programs
Best Online Post Baccalaureate Computer Science Programs
An online post baccalaureate course of study will put you on a career path filled with opportunities.
You will learn about the already busy fields of computer networking, web design, software, and computer engineering. You’ll also get exposure to cutting edge technology skills in machine learning, computer graphics, and artificial intelligence.
These skills open doors for jobs in computer software development, professional IT support, management, and consulting, cloud networks management, digital marketing and web design, cybersecurity, big data analytics and more.
As more and more professional services and day-to-day infrastructure (self-driving cars, navigation networks, integrated communication tools, industrial monitoring systems, and even big data tools) become digitally automated, we believe professionals with qualified college degrees will command higher salaries than ever before and enjoy a wide range of job and promotion opportunities.
Ready to get started? The best online computer science post bacc programs make it relatively easy and affordable for you to get started whatever your prior college background and interests, although you may want to pay special attention to prerequisite knowledge in mathematics and consider if you enjoy technical subjects in general.
Computer Science Careers & Salaries
Job opportunities in the computer sciences sector rank among the highest for future job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Entry level jobs such as Computer User Support Specialist are forecast to grow at a rate of 10% between now and 2028, while jobs in Software Development are anticipated to grow 25%.
The broad computer and information technology sector, slated for 12% growth between now and 2028, offers lots of areas for specialization based on your interests and aptitudes.
Growth drivers include IT support and management, office automation, digital gaming, the internet of things, cloud computing, big data, and managing for growing cybersecurity threats.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the annual median wage in this sector is $88,240.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some careers in the computer science field include:
|Careers||Annual Median Salary|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$146,360|
|Computer Network Architects||$112,690|
|Information Security Analysts||$99,730|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$90,920|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$83,510|
|Computer Support Specialists||$54,760|
What makes a computer science degree worth it for many students is that whether your aptitudes lean toward engineering or toward management and consulting, you will find a large number of computer science jobs that match your professional interests and work styles.
Computer Science Curriculum & Courses
Having a degree from an accredited college or university is a great way to demonstrate your qualifications to prospective employers. By completing an accredited online post bacc degree or certificate program in computer science you can feel confident you are getting training in the skills employers are counting on.
Just taking a look at the kinds of topics you will learn about in a typical computer science program will help explain why applicants with degrees have a leg up. The best online programs will offer courses exposing you to the many branches of computer science that make up today’s complex network of digital systems.
Looking at the specific kinds of courses students might take is one more way to think about whether an online program in computer science is right for you. Here’s an outline of the kinds of courses you will encounter and the information they cover.
- Computer Programming. Learn about computer programming concepts and coding functions and operations, including discrete coding languages and conventions, and methods for design, testing, and problem-solving.
- Mathematical Foundations of Computer Programming. Learn about relationships between computer programs and logical propositions, rules, and structures.
- Systems Architecture. Teaches students the internal functions and organization of digital computers, including central processor organization, machine language, and assembly language.
- Web Development. Provides an understanding of how to design complex applications using web technologies and develop code for building software architectures.
- Study of Algorithms. Learn about mathematical methods used to design and analyze computer algorithms.
- Introduction to Databases. Get experience designing and operating relational databases while learning about relational diagramming, SQL queries, user interfaces, and database administration.
- Operating Systems. Introduces students to operating systems processes and utilities and the fundamentals of inter-process communications.
- Software Engineering. Students learn how to map out software requirements and specifications and other design techniques and work processes for creating new software tools.
- Mobile Applications. In this course students learn to apply information system applications in the context of real-time operating systems and wireless networking systems.
- Artificial Intelligence. Students learn about new trends and techniques for applying artificial intelligence to problem-solving, data retrieval, and search optimization.
With courses like these, you can see why employers are likely to value candidates who complete degree programs over those who don’t.
Also notice that a feature of most post bacc programs is that you aren’t required to re-take the general courses required for traditional four-year degrees (courses in composition, government, or foreign languages, for example).
You can also see that getting a post bacc computer science degree requires a readiness to take some challenging courses. For some computer science courses you will also need to be ready to apply some more advanced math concepts.
While admissions’ requirements will vary by school, a quick look at school websites should help you gauge if you can easily satisfy the requirements.
If you have completed a 4 year degree at an accredited college or university and maintained a satisfactory GPA, you should find many schools ready to accept you into a post bacc program.
For most schools, it doesn’t matter what you majored in when you got that first bachelor’s degree either. In fact, most schools expect post bacc applicants will be making just such a career change.
Worried about your past college grades? Don’t worry too much because you’ll find some programs have less stringent GPA requirements than others.
If you meet the basic requirements, you should also find that most schools offer a fairly streamlined application process. Here’s a sample list of what’s required when applying to a typical post bacc program in computer science online:
- Records of all prior college transcripts
- A four-year baccalaureate degree or the equivalent from an accredited college or university
- A satisfactory GPA (2.0 or higher, varies by college)
- An admissions application
- A personal statement or essay (check the guidelines provided by the school you are applying to)
- One or two letters of reference
Also, for online programs, many schools offer multiple enrollment windows in every school year. If you missed traditional fall application deadlines and you want to get started right away, look for online programs that offer flexible enrollment dates.
You may be wondering “How can I know if the online program I’m interested in is credible?” That’s a good question to ask! We suggest you make sure the school is accredited by a registered accreditation agency.
When you earn credits and a degree from a properly accredited school, you should increase the odds that your course credits and degree are transferrable to other schools and degree programs. You also get the benefit of being confident prospective employers will honor your qualifications and achievements.
As CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation) points out, attending a school that is not accredited can affect your eligibility for any number of government loans and other tuition assistance programs. In fact, check out the CHEA website to find out if the school you are considering is fully accredited.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
As long as you are applying to a properly accredited school, you may want to see what kinds of tuition assistance or educational loans you might qualify for. High quality programs, including online degree programs, that give you a head start in a field with fast job growth are a good investment, but you will want to plan on how to finance them.
Scholarships and loans are the most common forms of aid. In some cases, students can offset educational expenses by working part time as part of a federally subsidized “work study” program.
When checking out programs or after selecting one, you should inquire about both scholarships and loans, just in case you qualify and wish to apply. If you are currently employed, does your employer offer any tuition assistance programs for employees?
Keep in mind that financial aid and scholarship options available for traditional four-year degrees may not always be available in the same way when you’re applying for a post bacc program.
If you do decide to apply for federal aid, in the form of student loans, for example, filling out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), required for all federal student loan applications, is a good place to start.
How Much Does a Post Bacc Computer Science Online Program Cost?
Part of making your career change calculation is gauging how much your post bacc program is going to cost you.
Keep in mind that tuition costs vary from school to school, program to program. Tuition costs are typically estimated by multiplying the number of credit hours required for your selected school’s computer science online degree program by the tuition cost per credit hour.
Some programs may let you opt out of certain courses if you fulfilled those prerequisites or program requirements when earning your first college degree. So, while there are variables based on schools and programs, expect that your program will cost anywhere from $200 to $500 per credit hour.
When considering your options, be sure to take into account the cost per credit hour and the approximate number of credit hours required (for your specific online program). Most schools will provide you information about both on their websites.
You will probably want to take the cost into account with other factors when deciding which online programs to consider.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Post Baccalaureate Degree in Computer Science?
The goods news is that a post bacc degree program typically takes less than four years, which is normally how long it takes to get a computer science degree, or any other traditional bachelors program. Online courses will often allow for more courses to be available to more students more of the time, meaning less delays in completing courses.
In addition, a post bacc program focuses in most cases only on your specialized course work, in this case computer science courses, unless there any relevant pre-requisite skills you need to acquire.
You will find that how long it takes you to finish a post bacc program varies by school and program and whether you are earning a certificate or a second baccalaureate degree. In general, you should expect it will take two to three years to finish. Some programs may have more accelerated options.
If you are considering programs that allow you to earn the degree more quickly, you may want to ask yourself not only how long this program takes, but how many courses and topics will I know about when I finish the degree and start looking for work.
Time is one thing, but you also want to make sure the program you settle on provides you the breadth and depth of computer science learning you want to have when you begin applying for jobs.
Cutting corners is not always the best strategy… As you compare programs, we suggest you think about your what future job and career goals you have in mind!
Are There Any Affordable Online Post Bacc Computer Science Programs?
Yes, there are affordable programs. But remember, keep costs in perspective. If tuition seems like a lot at first, remember to calculate it against the return from professional wages you will likely be able to earn over several decades as you enter a growing career field and gradually advance in skill and seniority.
Online post bacc programs in computer science typically cost between $300 and $600 per credit hour.
If the program you are considering costs, for example, $450 per credit hour and requires, let’s say, 70 credits for completion, your total tuition cost would be ($450 x 70 credit hours) in the neighborhood of $32,000.
Keep in mind how much you will save by completing your course online, and be sure to evaluate your investment in terms of the earning power you hope to achieve over time in your new job or career.
Is a Post Baccalaureate Computer Science Degree Worth it?
Yes, a bachelor’s in computer science is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $88,240 and 12% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a degree in computer science can help you launch a career in this cutting-edge industry.
Common computer science careers include IT Associate and Director, Software Developer, Software Product Manager, Web Developer, and Software Engineer, just to name a few.
Remember, when you calculate your “return on investment” you will probably make that calculation based on entry-level job salaries.
Keep in mind, however, that your post bacc degree combined with a few years of on-the-job learning and industry experience can boost your earnings potential significantly. As the digital revolution accelerates, demand for software and information technology skills will remain strong.
Once your new career gets started, you may find it hard to predict just how much you might be able to earn! Finally, great computer jobs will be available across a wide range of sectors and an equally wide range of cities, states, and countries.
Universities Offering Online Post-Baccalaureate Computer Science Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Drexel University’s Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Science program is a five-course experience tailored for professionals and recent graduates looking to learn the theoretical and technical foundations propelling the latest industry innovations.
Courses covering web services, mobile architectures, software design, programming languages, computer networks, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are designed for students in different disciplines looking to develop specific skills.
- Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Science
Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Harvard University’s Programming Certificate is designed for students looking to build a foundation in computer science programming via algorithms, data structures, string manipulation, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development.
- Programming Graduate Certificate
Harvard University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
In addition to being an on ramp to a master’s in computer science, the NYU Tandon Bridge tech program also equips learners with tools to help them in their careers. The program is offered in the winter (January), spring (March), and summer (July) semesters in 17-week or 24-week tracks.
Topics covered include computer programming in C++, object oriented design, discrete math, data structures and algorithms, principles of operating systems, and introduction to computer networks.
- Certificate in Computer Science
New York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Oregon State University’s online post-baccalaureate computer science program is open to students from any field without any previous training in computer science. The program’s flexibility allows students to choose how many courses they’d like to take each term.
Topics covered include data structures, analysis of algorithms, databases, operating systems, software projects, computer architecture, and web development.
- Postbaccalaureate in Computer Science
Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The University of Colorado Boulder’s post-baccalaureate degree in Applied Computer Science is for professionals with prior bachelor’s degrees seeking to pivot their careers toward tech. Offered during the spring, summer a fall terms, this flexible online program equips students to work in the realm of data science.
- Postbaccalaureate in Applied Computer Science
The University of Colorado Boulder is accredited by Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Post Bacc Computer Science Degree Online
Congratulations on learning so much already about how to get enrolled soon in a post bacc computer science online program. Do you feel like the degree you have just isn’t right for the jobs you want or for the industry you want to get into?
We encourage you to find out more about convenient, affordable, and easy-to-access online programs in computer science. Take advantage of the resources we’ve provided to find an accredited program that best fits your goals and start the journey today!