Computer science is one of the fastest growing fields in today’s economy, and many students wonder whether a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree is their best option when taking advantage of this growth and planning their educational investment. The good news for students is that both of these degrees are a great way to take advantage of the high-tech job market, although one degree is leaps and bounds ahead of the other. Some students, however, will actually be able to get the best of both worlds by pursuing both an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in a money-saving move that will certainly reduce their student loan balances and long-term debt.
- Online Technical Degrees: 10 Best Values 2016
- Technical Degrees Online: More Best Values
- Online IT Degree: 10 Best College Values 2016
- Computer Science Degrees for International Students: Top 50
The Best Degree for Computer Science is a Bachelor’s Degree
When it comes to maximizing the value of a computer science degree, students stand the best chance of accomplishing this goal by opting for a four-year program. An associate’s degree in computer technology is still an excellent choice for several other reasons, which will be covered later. Before considering such a degree, however, keep in mind the key benefits of a B.S. in the field. First and foremost, the vast majority of entry-level jobs require a four-year computer science degree in order for graduates to be so much as reviewed for the position. Without this degree, it is considerably harder to get a foot in the door and develop a rewarding, long-term career.
Due to the extended length of the four-year degree, students will also learn a far greater number of programming languages, best practices, and advanced skills. They will also be ready to study at the graduate level, further enhancing their understanding of computers and programming. The longer program also permits a greater number of professional internships that will provide students with instrumental, entry-level experience. Few things bolster a candidate’s resume quite as effectively as demonstrated experience in the field, so this should be a top consideration for many prospective students.
The Associate’s Degree: When Does It Make Sense?
The two-year computer technology degree is not without its merits, even if its four-year counterpart is more valuable in the workplace. Many students opt to pursue an associate’s degree in a computer-related field before transferring into a four-year program. The reason they do this is simple: Two-year programs at community colleges are often a fraction of the cost when compared to university tuition charges. This allows the student to work toward their degree without incurring a significant amount of student loan debt, effectively giving them more flexibility in the future when they consider potential jobs and salaries.
A two-year program is also a good choice for students who aren’t entirely sure that computer science is going to be their future career. Due to the lower costs and more basic required courses of an associate’s degree program at most community colleges, there is a far lesser risk associated with paying the cost of tuition and experimenting with required computer courses. Students may end up liking the curriculum and sticking with it through a four-year degree program, or this introduction to computer science may push them into other majors that are a better long-term fit.
Both Programs Are a Great Choice for Tech-Minded Students
Whether two years or four years in length, a program in computer science is almost certain to benefit students as they begin a career. The real choice is between two-year programs that focus on basic skills, and their more advanced counterparts at major universities. Before enrolling in a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree program in this field, however, students should simply take a moment to honestly assess their skills, motivation, and financial resources; a careful thought process will lead to the best possible outcome in either program.