How hard is it to gain admission to brick-and-mortar or online graduate programs in computer science?
It can be quite difficult to gain admission to the top computer science graduate schools, though that should not discourage you from applying if a computer science graduate degree is something you want to pursue.
The most important admission criteria you must meet in your application for a traditional or online masters in computer science or online PhD in computer science is a good score on the quantitative section of the GRE, a GPA of at least 3.0, particularly in mathematics or computer science courses, and a letter of recommendation from a professor or researcher, preferably from a computer science department. In addition, many accredited graduate programs in computer science prefer students who are able to secure funding through scholarships or fellowships in advance of their application.
Of course, the most competitive universities have the most demanding requirements and lowest acceptance rates; for example, the acceptance rate at MIT’s and Stanford University’s computer science PhD programs is about 10%. But with the vast number of computer science graduate programs available, there is likely a computer science graduate school that is a good match for you. One option to consider is computer science online graduate programs, as online programs are still fairly new and fewer students consider them when applying.
What are the average salaries for computer science degree graduates?
The good news is that if you get a masters or PhD from a computer science graduate program, you are likely to find a high-paying job in computer science or related fields, even in a bad economy.
Median salaries begin at about $70,000 for network and computer systems administrators, are slightly higher for database administrators and are significantly higher (about $90,000) for software developers. Most of these careers require only a bachelors degree for entry-level positions, but the salaries rise for employees who earn advanced degrees.
One of the highest-paying jobs a computer scientist can hold is as a computer and information research scientist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for this position is $100,000, though it does require a PhD.
Students who receive degrees from computer science graduate schools online should have an equal chance of finding a job as graduates of brick-and-mortar colleges as long as the programs are accredited.
If I am interested in pursuing a graduate degree in computer science, what related graduate programs should I consider?
There are several fields that are closely related to computer science and often also offered at the best computer science grad schools. You may even find them more interesting than continuing to study computer science itself.
Chances are, if you majored in computer science as an undergraduate, you took a lot of math classes. If you particularly enjoyed them, you may want to consider a masters or PhD in computational mathematical sciences, which focuses on the use of mathematical models and algorithms in computing and programming. This program may be a part of the mathematics or computer science departments of a university.
If you enjoy working on computer hardware, you may want to consider an advanced degree in computer engineering. Computer engineering graduate programs involve a mix of computer science and electrical engineering. You would learn the fundamentals of circuits, systems and software associated with the design of computers used for various purposes.
If you find the idea of programming everyday computers boring and prefer something a bit more out of science fiction, like building machines to do things for you, you should consider a masters or PhD in robotics or artificial intelligence. Such a program would put you on the cutting edge of many fields of research.
Are there any iPhone or iPad apps that would benefit me while I am completing my on-campus or online computer science graduate degree?
If you have an iPhone or iPad, there are several apps that you may find helpful while you are completing your computer science graduate program online or on-campus. One app designed especially for computer science students is Computer Science & MIS by Quizmine.com. This helpful app is full of tutorials, quizzes and flashcards on various topics in computer science, and though it also covers the basics of computer science, there are more advanced topics as well, making it suitable for graduates as well as undergraduates.
If you are studying programming, the OpenGL ES Programming app will teach you to use OpenGL, a program used to generate computer graphics. Other programming apps include python-Programming language and Learn Java Programming. Both apps provide quick references and may teach programming students new techniques.
Finally, if you just need some hints while programming on the web, there are apps like the CSS Cheat Sheet and the PHP Cheat Sheet that are excellent resources for remembering those elusive properties.
Although this list includes apps for your iPhone or iPad exclusively, there are many other apps available for mobile devices that operate on other platforms, including Android. In fact, many apps are designed for use on several kinds of mobile devices.