Computer science jobs are among the top ranking in terms of future job growth, with computer occupations projected to grow by 11% by 2029. What’s more, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that software engineers’ job outlook is expecting 22% growth—which is a much faster growth rate when compared to the national average.
If you have obtained a bachelor’s degree, but are interested in pursuing a career in a computer science field, then a post baccalaureate computer science program might be the right fit for you. Post baccalaureate programs provide fundamental computer science knowledge to help you enter the computer science field and then possibly further advance your education through a master’s degree or a PhD in computer science.
This article covers the common admission requirements, cost of attendance, computer science career outlook, and perspective on a few of the leading post baccalaureate computer science programs in the United States.
Common Admissions Requirements for a Post Baccalaureate Computer Science Program
While admission requirements vary, most Universities require that you have a four-year degree with a satisfactory GPA, mostly of 3.0 and above (although some programs accommodate a GPA of 2.0) from a recognized or accredited University. Your undergraduate major is usually not a meaningful factor in determining your eligibility for a post bacc computer science degree. In addition to the above, other admissions requirements may include:
A bachelor’s degree or an equivalent from accredited institutions
Completed admission application
A personal statement
A letter (s) of reference
All undergraduate and/or prior transcripts
Some post bacc computer science programs allow you to transfer credits from other accredited universities, so be sure to investigate and inquire about this as you are researching programs.
Career Paths for Graduates of a Post Baccalaureate Computer Science Program
A post baccalaureate computer science program expands your career prospects and could increase your salary or earnings potential. Post bacc degrees in computer science can lead to a computer and information technology path which as reported by the BLS has a positive career outlook. As the world becomes more and more digitized and remote work is more common; by completing a post baccalaureate CS program you will be well positioned for a diverse set of career opportunities to apply the skills you learn. A CS post bacc offers a chance to specialize in different fields, including:
Computer and network security
Information management and analytics
Computer science occupations offer an average salary of $91,250 per year. Below we’ve compiled a list of common computer science jobs and their annual median salaries:
Median Salary according to PayScale.com
Computer Systems Analyst
Information Security Analyst
Computer Hardware Engineer
Computer Network Architect
The salary you would expect to earn in one of the fields listed above will depend on your professional experience and your educational background. For example, obtaining a master’s in computer science could result in a salary of approximately $100,000 on average whereas obtaining a Ph.D. could improve your prospects of becoming an associate professor in computer science, or help you secure a position as a computer researcher or computer scientist while earning an approximate average salary of $127,000.
A post baccalaureate computer science degree is a versatile program which could also open doors for specialization roles such as a UI/UX developer or conversion rate optimization manager.
Is a Post Bacc Computer Science Program Worth It?
This section is intended to help you break down whether a post bacc certificate is worth it for you by exploring typical costs of attendance, options to fund your post bacc CS program, and estimated time to complete the degree.
Post Bacc Computer Science Cost of Attendance
Most post bacc CS programs charge by credit hour, ranging between $900 and $2,000 per credit. The simplest way to calculate estimated cost of tuition and attendance is by multiplying the number of credit hours required for your post bacc certificate by the cost per credit hour and factoring in additional fees.
Financing Your Post Bacc Degree
Generally, pursuing a post bacc is less costly than a four-year program. However, if you are already carrying student debt, adding more debt could be financially burdensome. There are options to finance your post bacc CS through private loans, federal student loans, scholarships, and possibly employer tuition reimbursements.
Our recommendation is the first source to explore is financial aid through subsidized work-study programs, tuition grants, and FAFSA. Federal student loans tend to carry lower rates than private student loans and are made available to students pursuing a program from an accredited institution.
To access federal funding, you will need to complete the FAFSA form. Separate from FAFSA, you should explore opportunities for scholarships and apply for grants such as the Pell Grant and other opportunities offered from financial aid departments. In some cases, your current employer may provide tuition reimbursement to cover a portion of your tuition - so make sure to inquire with your HR department. In our opinion, private loans should be considered as the last option and after you have exhausted the above.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a Post Bacc?
Most post baccalaureate computer science programs take between two to three years. As an alternative, you can evaluate accelerated coding bootcamps which are now offered by accredited Universities, which could be completed in six months. These coding bootcamps are ideal when you are seeking to learn a specific skill such as software engineering or still assessing whether a computer science career is for you without the investment in a four-year program. As a comparison to a post bacc CS program, coding bootcamps are typically under $12,000 while also providing career support services to help graduates find full-time employment after graduation. Our recommendation is to approach comparing coding bootcamps and post bacc computer science programs holistically including, to the extent you can, your long-term career aspirations.
Exploring Leading Post Baccalaureate Computer Science Programs
Enter a search on Google for the “best online post baccalaureate computer science programs” and you will find thousands of results – this can be quite overwhelming. Once you narrow down and find the programs, how do you evaluate and compare them and begin to assess which post bacc computer science program is best for you? Below are several traits and features we believe you should consider when researching programs:
Regional, national, or professional accreditation institutions offering post bacc computer science certificates could influence your tuition assistance and financial aid eligibility. Attending a non-accredited school could jeopardize this.
Be mindful to program modality and prioritize institutions which have established programs offering both on-campus (or residential) and online post bacc CS programs.
While not the only consideration, ranking and reputation of the offering institution can factor into the perceived value of the program from hiring managers and the graduate admissions committee.
Inquire about the services, support, and resources provided to current students as well as alumni of the program.
With respect to the post baccalaureate computer science curriculum you can expect:
Computer programming (coding languages, design and testing methods, and computer programming concepts)
Mathematical foundations of computer science
We’ve researched and compiled a short list of post bacc computer science programs offered by leading universities:
Oregon State University College of Engineering
Oregon State University offers a self-paced, online post bacc computer science program. This program is accessible regardless of the bachelor’s degree you have and does not require previous CS experience. With their program, you can learn subjects ranging from:
Fundamentals of networking
You can elect to enroll in the program during any academic terms and take the courses at your own pace. Oregon State University has accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and University (NWCCU) and ABET which specializes in accrediting applied science, computing, engineering, and technology programs.
New York University Tandon School of Engineering
The NYU Tandon School of Engineering bridge computer science post bacc online certificate program will prepare you for a career in computer science and further academic studies in a graduate degree field such as cybersecurity, computer engineering, and computer science. NYU Tandon has accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.Some of the subjects you will learn through the NYU Tandon Bridge program include:
You can complete the program 100% online or on-campus based on your needs and schedule. The program at NYU allows you to pursue a master’s degree in fields such as business intelligence without having to take a GRE.
Harvard Extension School
Harvard Extension School provides four learning options for computer science which each equip students with knowledge and skills in software engineering and information systems. The programs offered at Harvard will also provide you opportunities to learn programming languages and algorithms which prepare you for a career in web development, software engineering or data security. With accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education, Harvard University provides learners a chance to learn the skills they require for their technology career from a world-class institution.
The Drexel University post baccalaureate computer science program is an accelerated online degree program that teaches you the fundamental elements of computer science and the basics of more advanced programming and technical skills.
This program is ideal for students with strong analytical and math skills to understand computer programming basics. The Drexel program prepares you for a career in fields such as artificial intelligence and software engineering. One of the benefits of Drexel’s program is that you can transfer credits from this course to a master’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or artificial intelligence and machine learning.
University of Colorado – Boulder
The University of Colorado offers a flexible online program that allows you to pursue a post bacc certificate in computer science regardless of the field you are coming from. You will learn web development, software design, and different operating systems to help you establish yourself in a technology field.
The program is ideal for students who wish to pursue a computer science career or apply computer science skills in other careers. The flexibility of their online programs allows you to study while working.
A post baccalaureate in computer science can be a worthy investment, considering the high earning potential and promising industry growth. With the flexibility and ease of online CS post bacc programs you can focus on upskilling without putting your career on pause.