Computer Degrees You Can Pursue and the Skills You Need

By Indeed Editorial Team

November 24, 2021

Obtaining a computer degree can help you thrive in the technology industry. You can choose between associate, bachelor, master, or doctoral degrees, depending on the type of career you're interested in. Understanding each degree can help you determine which career path is the best option for you. In this article, we discuss eight computer degrees you can pursue, explain the advantages of pursuing one, tell you the skills to consider developing while you're in school, and answer frequently asked questions you may have about the process.

8 computer degrees to pursue

Computer degrees are a popular choice for students interested in technology. These degrees are suitable for people who have strong problem-solving and analytical skills. To help you determine if this is the right field for you, consider the following eight degrees you can pursue:

1. Internet security

Students in an internet security degree program concentrate on learning about common threats, risks, and attacks to computers and other types of technology. The program explores the procedures and technologies used to design secure and usable information systems. An internet security student also knows different ways to provide appropriate security to existing information systems such as databases, networks, and applications.

2. Computer science

Enrolling in a computer science program teaches students to create, test, and maintain the computer programming language needed to make devices work. They can learn how to create and use new languages to program computers. Computer science students also learn about different computer networks, database management, cybersecurity, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

3. Software engineering

Pursuing a computer degree specialized in software engineering offers students the knowledge and skills they can use to build and maintain software systems that organizations depend upon today. A software engineer evaluates their client's needs and prioritizes them when creating new and advanced software. They ensure the software is free of errors and updated consistently so users can access it easily.

4. Information science

Information science students discover the way computers and people work together by looking at how consumers engage with, sell, and use information. Then, they use this information to develop systems for storing and finding data. In the program, students focus on front-end web design, systems analysis, information architecture, and database management to develop the skills they can use to be successful.

5. Computer engineering

Computer engineering combines computer science and electrical engineering as computer engineers create hardware and firmware. Students who specialize in computer engineering develop, research, and test computer systems and components to advance technology, such as new processors or microchips. Computer engineers are the main contributors to innovative developments in network and communication technology.

6. Information technology

A degree in information technology, better known as IT, teaches students the fundamentals of computer networking. Students explore the applications of computer networking in business telecommunications and learn how to troubleshoot common errors. Students learn about computer hardware and software, databases, and networks so they can easily identify and solve the problems people are having with their technology.

7. Computer programming

Students studying this degree learn skills required to build, test, and maintain the computer programming language that dictates how the computer works. These students also learn how to make new computer programming languages. Students who graduate with a degree in computer programming typically find jobs in software development.

8. Systems engineering

A systems engineering computer degree prepares students to address technological systems, including analysis, modelling, and design. Students may learn to install, commission, maintain, calibrate, and repair nuanced systems. Systems engineering also enables students to build, manage, and analyze different types of systems, such as biological, chemical, or mechanical ones.

Related: Top Computer Science Jobs to Consider

5 crucial skills to develop as a computer major

Thriving as a computer major and setting yourself up for success begins with having the proper skill set. Here are the essential skills that most successful computer majors possess:

1. Resilience

One of the essential principles of programming is knowing that you are going to experience challenges before you succeed. In computer science, resilience is your ability to produce great work, regardless of the challenges you faced. Programming involves trying out various code elements until you find the ideal solution, and learning to be humble, resilient, and determined is part of the process.

2. Critical thinking

Critical thinking is a vital skill in any major, but it's essential when pursuing a computer degree. This is because you're likely going to be working with new concepts when creating and updating technology, so you may encounter situations that require you to come up with solutions and ideas on your own. Critical thinking allows you to test why particular solutions might not work and saves time when coming up with the best approach.

3. Problem-solving skills

Another essential skill for computer majors is to solve complicated problems logically and systematically. Many of the projects you work on need you to think of a concept or solution and apply it to your work. To do that, it's crucial to think about the ideal way to implement the concept and outline the steps required to complete it.

4. Creativity

Creativity goes together with problem-solving and is one of the other vital skills you need as a computer major. Coming up with solutions to problems is a complex process. You need creative thinking to make sure you are presenting the most effective and innovative solutions.

5. Analytical skills

Another skill that goes along with problem-solving is analytical skills. You may need strong analytical skills that enable you to understand the issues you are dealing with as a computer major. It's essential to evaluate various solutions to find the one that best fits your project's requirements.

Related: The Best Computer Skills to Develop for Work

Frequently asked questions about pursuing a computer degree

To help you determine which computer degree to pursue, consider the following answers to frequently asked questions you may have:

What can I expect when pursuing a computer degree?

Students pursuing a computer degree need a variety of skills and in-depth technical knowledge. To help you prepare for a computer degree, you may find it beneficial to take courses in either analysis or statistics as many computing concepts have mathematical foundations. It's also important to know that being a computer major requires dedication to mastering and learning these concepts.

It's essential to overcome a steep learning period for those with little to no experience working with computers. Computer science is a competitive major and you can expect to devote long hours to learning concepts and applying them in coding projects.

What jobs can I pursue with a computer degree?

There are many jobs you can pursue with a computer degree, from entry-level to managerial positions. The exact role you can pursue depends on your specialty and level of experience, but here are some common roles you can consider:

  • Systems administrator

  • Systems analyst

  • IT manager

  • Information security analyst

  • Database administrator

Related: 13 Jobs You Can Get with a Computer Science Degree

What are the advantages of earning a computer degree?

Here are some of the advantages to consider when deciding whether to pursue a computer degree:

  • It prepares you for a wide range of jobs: Computer degree holders have transferable skills that apply to a wide array of occupations. Skills such as problem-solving and creativity allow you to explore a varied range of opportunities in different industries.

  • It opens the door to high-paying careers: Computer degree graduates earn some of the highest starting salaries of any major. Median salaries that approach or exceed six figures are typical in the industry, such as software architect, software engineer, or computer scientist.

  • Become part of a growing industry: The number of careers for math and computer majors is increasing much faster than in other fields. This growth makes a computer degree one of the most viable degree options.

  • Location is not an issue: Many jobs you can pursue with a computer degree allow you to work remotely, giving you more freedom when searching for jobs.

Related: 14 Computer Science Salaries and Jobs (With Common Duties)

Are there complementary majors or fields to a computer degree?

Entrepreneurship, management, and business are good options for minors or certifications when pursuing a computer degree. They help you realize the broader topic and market context of what you are doing, offer leadership skills, and provide you with the confidence you may need as a tech business owner.

For areas like programming and web design, a selection of design and fine art classes can help provide you with a perspective on form, structure, and imagery beyond what you receive in digital design courses. Communications, writing, and English courses can be critical in helping build your ability to convey your ideas.