Career Paths With a Computer Science Certificate Online

The advent of computer science has ushered in what is commonly known as a knowledge economy, which employs successful computer engineers all over the world. These technically savvy professionals are behind all of the applications we use for work, life, or leisure. They may create databases or operating systems, study how humans interact with computers, or code the next "killer app." It's not just brainpower that makes a computer science engineer — it's also passion and a lifelong learner mentality. The first step to this career path could be pursuing a computer science certificate online.

Software engineering is a fast-growing and dynamic field,* and computer science professionals are sought out by companies striving for more efficiency in their networking technology, faster computing speeds, better software performance and more airtight information security. All this translates to a boom in computer science and engineering jobs, which is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.* This is driven in part by the fast-growing computer systems design industry, as well as the software publishing industry.

Now, it is possible to earn an online associate, bachelor, or advanced degree in software engineering or software architecture. An associate degree in computer science could prepare students for positions that may require basic computer techniques in Microsoft Office Products, networking, and introductory programming. At a minimum, the online course is designed so that students learn to interpret written programs as well as create and maintain web pages.

For a more in-depth study of computer science, you may want to consider earning an online bachelor degree in computer science. This is designed to be a foundation for those interested in entering the computer science field, by covering database management, network administration and programming, project management, software lifecycles and Internet communications. Some programs include niche courses geared toward shaping your education experience so you become a thought leader: Client networking concepts, Internet networks and database design. Others may be designed to work in conjunction with a student's associate degree of choice.

If you are seeking more advancement opportunities, an online master degree in computer science may be ideal for you, to build on your current abilities and programming languages. Guided by seasoned faculty members, students get up close and personal with computing systems, software structures, algorithms, machine architecture, complex programming and hardware capabilities. The curriculum is designed so that students have a balance between foundational courses and in-depth lab work. In some programs, students may be required to pick a specialization such as computer networking, computer programming and information security.

* The preceding information was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) online resource, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition," available at: