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Top Online Computer Education Schools

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Top Online Computer Education Schools

Computer education covers a wide swath of courses and programs which split off into branching professions but are all integrated into the modern world. Professionals with varying computer educations create the circuit boards of cell phones and tablets, write the programming that allows WiFi to work and design the websites the internet shops on. As more of the modern world begins to run on computer circuitry, the more a computer education may be needed.  

SchoolsGalore.com provides a list of online schools which offer a variety of degrees in computer education ranging from computer engineering to information security and including the interdisciplinary degrees of Web design and health informatics. While some degree programs may be available entirely online, there are some which may hands-on training and require on-site attendance. Check with your school to learn how much of the program is available entirely online.

Best Computer Engineering Schools

Each year, U.S. News & World Report publishes rankings of colleges and universities around the world and nationally. The following schools have been ranked as the best graduate schools for computer engineering by U.S. News & World Report in 2012:

1.   Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1.   Stanford University
3.   University of California Berkeley
4.   Carnegie Mellon University
5.   University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
6.   Georgia Institute of Technology
7.   California Institute of Technology
7.   University of Michigan
9.   Cornell University
9.   University of Texas
11. Purdue University

Below are some of the computer education focuses available from online schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com

Computer Engineering

Computer engineering bridges the gap between computer science and electrical engineering (in fact, graduate degrees in computer engineering are referred to as a Master’s of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering) and focus on the relationship between computer software and the circuitry that powers it. Those with degrees in computer engineering design circuit boards and microchips for every aspect of the modern technological world.

Classes may include mathematics, electrical engineering, computer science and physics. Courses can also be paired with other disciplines for degree specialization in the bioengineering, communications, and nanotechnology, aerospace and automotive fields. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012) notes that because the work performed by computer engineers attempts to overcome the limitations of current technological generation, computer engineers may work closely with computer programmers as they develop the next generation of computer technology.

The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) also notes that as a result of automation and advancement in computer technology, more computer advancement comes from computer software rather than computer circuitry and hardware. The field is expected to see employment growth of up to only 9 percent from 2010 to 2020. However, while the number of jobs is not expected to grow as fast as other professions, the national median yearly salary for computer hardware engineers was $98,610 per year in May 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012).

Computer Science

More than just learning a programming language, computer scientists learn to develop new ways to program software and improve the efficiency of older programming languages. They can work with computer engineers to produce the software that runs wireless routers, automobile engines, databases and servers or personal computers. Computer scientists are employed in almost every single technological field in the modern world.

While the education of a computer scientist is grounded strongly in mathematics and electronics (a standard fair for a computer science degree includes analytic geometry, mathematic structures, physics and calculus) there are course specializations for students who intend to work on operating system software, commercial software, information security, website programming or artificial intelligence. The graduate level degrees in computer science may deal with programming theory and the role of computers in society.

Because computer science is a broad field, there is no data for computer science at large. However, because computer scientists often work with programming languages and software, occupational data for software developers can be a useful guideline. The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) reports an expected job growth of up to 30 percent for software developers from 2010 to 2020 and that software developers of applications made a national median yearly salary of $89,280 per year in May 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012).

Web Design and Engineering

While websites can be constructed by students in elementary school, every graphical button on a website, every widget that streams a video, collapsing text and pop-out window are all created by students with degrees in web design and engineering. These students are the architects of website design and are important to the modern digital world.

Unlike the other computer education degrees, a bachelor’s in web design and engineering requires a greater breadth of education. Degrees offered by Chico State and UC Berkeley in web design require courses in mass communications, graphic design and writing.

The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) expect employment of web designers to grow as e-commerce grows (BLS.gov, 2012), especially as retailers move into the online world. Employment opportunities are projected to increase by up to 22 percent from 2010 to 2020. of the BLS also reported that, according to a survey by Robert Half Technology, (BLS.gov, 2012), the yearly salary for a web designer in 2012 was between $61,250 and $99,250.

Health Informatics

Health informatics design and implement the network architecture of a clinic or hospital, establish information security protocols to protect private records and manage the client information database. Graduates with degrees in health informatics, or health information systems, can create programs that merge medical coding, a numerical identifier for conditions and procedures, with medical administration to track patient health or optimize the billing process.

Courses are interdisciplinary and merge health care with computer science and software programming. Students may learn about medical billing and health care processes in addition to programming theory. Classes may also include information security and database architecture to create secure servers for confidential medical records.

While the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) does not provide hiring data for professionals creating health information systems, the BLS does provide occupational data for computer programmers, whose employment is expected to see up to a 12 percent job increase from 2010 to 2020 and earned a national median salary of $72,630 per year in May 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012).

Learn more about accredited computer education programs from online schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com

When researching online colleges and universities, make sure to verify that your choice of school is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council or by another accrediting agency that approved by The U.S. Department of Education or The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or both. DETC and CHEA both provide a searchable list of approved schools.

Programs in computer engineering can be accredited by ABET, formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. ABET provides a searchable list of accredited programs in computer engineering and a detailed list of wholly online accredited programs. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology also provides a searchable list of accredited computer science programs

While accreditation is important, Red & Black reports that many employers are looking for skill and experience over accreditation and internships can provide soon-to-be graduates with the necessary experience. The Computing Community Consortium has a selection of computer science research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students.


Sources and further reading:

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Education

The Distance Education and Training Council

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

O*NET Online


Robert Half Technology

Red & Black: Professionals say computer science accreditation not required for hire

US News, Best Engineering Schools

Online Computer Education Schools