Why major in data or computer science online?
Stay up to date with trends in a career that will stay relevant.
Build analysis skills
Learn to approach tech challenges with creative solutions supported by your work.
Learn diverse topics
Tackle today’s technology challenges through comprehensive online coursework.
Browse online data and computer science programs
Accredited Data Science and Computer Science Bachelor's Programs
Admissions for computer and data science undergraduate programs
Admissions requirements and prerequisites for online bachelor’s degrees in computer and data sciences will vary based on the university and program. In general, most undergraduate-level computer and data science programs require a high school diploma or GED, academic transcripts, a minimum GPA score, ACT or SAT scores, personal essays or a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and a resume or CV.
Some programs accept transferable college credits. Submit your university or community college transcripts to fulfill core program requirements. Many online programs will also consider your computer- and data science-related work experience during the application review process.
Data and computer science curriculums
An online bachelor’s in data or computer science can take four years or less to complete. Timelines vary depending on your program of choice as well as your preferred schedule — full time or part time — and if you enroll with prior college credits.
In addition to foundational coursework, some programs may allow you to specialize your online bachelor’s degree in a variety of immersive topics.
Data science curriculum
Statistics and Advanced Statistics
Introduction to Economics
Business and Management in Global Context
Programming for Data Science
Computer science curriculum
Foundations of Computer Science
Algorithms and Data Structures
Introduction to Machine Learning
Privacy and Technology
Mathematics for Computer Science
Computer and Network Security
Data science career paths and skills
Data and computer scientists are conduits for innovation. They tackle real-world problems with sophisticated solutions, algorithms, and technologies.
As a data scientist, you will analyze and interpret complex datasets to create practical strategies for companies and organizations. Data scientists are active in a range of industries, from finance to marketing. Potential job titles include:
Data scientist: Collect, analyze, and compile data to better understand business outcomes. Build research-backed plans to advance your company in the competitive marketplace.
Data analyst: Utilize your technical expertise to guarantee the validity and quality of data from various sources. Design and present easy-to-follow charts and graphs to help business stakeholders make better decisions.
Data engineer: Locate hidden trends in raw datasets with modern algorithms and techniques.
Data architect: Build, maintain, and secure your company’s data framework, the digital structure that ensures data flow and organization.
Data storyteller: Leverage your data literacy to communicate new insights as clear narratives and visualizations.
Machine learning scientist: Blend data insights and algorithms to create machine learning models.
Database administrator: Manage and monitor high volumes of data with cutting-edge software.
Data scientists need to understand topics like data mining and machine learning to perform at their highest potential. Other important skills include:
Communication: Utilize accessible language and visuals to clearly express your data findings to other business stakeholders.
Empathy: Build trust with your fellow stakeholders and identify biases hidden within your data research.
Teamwork: Collaborate with teams from diverse segments of business to achieve company goals.
Business mindset: Understand business goals and operations to present your data insights more accurately.
As a computer scientist, you will leverage conceptual ideas and mathematical theory to create high-powered computer systems and software. Potential job titles include:
Computer scientist: Develop conceptual ideas and conduct experiments to design advanced software and technology.
Web developer: Ensure website functionality, collaborate with designers, and meet technical problems with expert solutions.
Computer systems analyst: Teach companies to efficiently use their current technology and introduce them to new, cost-effective alternatives.
Network architect: Design and maintain local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets for your company or organization.
Software engineer: Leverage your creativity and technical abilities to develop innovative software or to modify existing applications.
Software tester: Analyze software quality through manual and automated tests. Remove bugs and develop preventative measures to reduce future hiccups.
Full-stack developer: Design, develop, and maintain the front end and back end of computer systems and processes.
To excel as a computer scientist, you need to leverage programming languages and other technical skills to solve problems as they arise. Other important qualities include:
Creativity: Leverage your creativity to build streamlined software and hardware.
Curiosity: Develop new algorithms and explore fresh conceptual ideas to push innovation forward.
Collaboration: Collaborate with team members and consider their ideas and methods to strengthen your projects.
Independence: Take the initiative to solve problems, fix bugs, and monitor security threats as a confident professional.
What are average data and computer science salaries?
A career in data or computer science could feature six-figure salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, data scientists’ overall median salary was $100,910 in 2021.¹ In comparison, computer scientists’ overall median salary was $131,490 that same year.² Join these fast-paced industries and jumpstart your career as a future-focused innovator.
Median salary in data science settings (2021)³
Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing: $148,290
Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing: $142,150
Other information services: $139,600
Data processing, hosting, and related services: $126,160
Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services: $124,440
Median pay in computer and information research settings (2021)⁴
Computer systems design and related services: $161,870
Software publishers: $152,940
Research and development in physical, engineering, and life sciences: $132,810
Federal government, excluding postal service: $112,310
Colleges, universities, and professional school: state, local, and private: $79,510
How long does it take to become a data or computer scientist online?
Everyone’s path to graduation is different. In general, it will take you four years or less to complete your online Bachelor’s in Data or Computer Science. Some degree-completion programs offer even shorter timelines. However, they require previous, transferable college credits to apply.
You may also be wondering: Do you need a degree to become a data or computer scientist? The short answer is no. Some employers will hire you if you have the right work experience and previous training. However, if you prefer a more structured learning atmosphere, an online degree may be the path for you. Some employers will only consider your application if you have a bachelor’s degree and, in some instances, a master’s degree in a field like data science, depending on the job requirements.
Find the best online data or computer science program for you
Discover an online data or computer science program that checks every box. You may consider these factors along with others when you’re evaluating which program is best for you:
School prestige: Explore top-ranked universities and accredited programs that will challenge you and develop you into a world-class data or computer science professional.
Length of study: Choose an online bachelor’s program with a length of study that best suits your busy schedule: full time or part time.
Degree-completion programs: Want to complete your online bachelor’s degree? Pick up where you left off and discover robust degree-completion programs online.
Graduation rates: Review graduation rates to better understand the quality of an online bachelor’s program.
Career outcomes: Learn what to expect from the job market and research post-graduation employment rates of program alumni.
Frequently asked questions
Data scientists collect, analyze, and interpret data to help business stakeholder’s make informed strategies and better decisions. Typically, data scientists share their insights in charts and/or graphs for clarity and accessibility. On the other hand, computer scientists blend conceptual ideas with complex algorithms to design or modify technology, from software to hardware.
Yes, you can earn your online bachelor’s in data or computer science entirely online. Many online programs feature live, digital classrooms and immersive coursework that match their on-campus equivalents. Unlike traditional alternatives, you will likely experience a more flexible schedule and notice a lower overall cost.
While data scientists must leverage mathematical comprehension in their field, computer scientists have a more math-oriented career. They must meet math-driven challenges with complex conceptual ideas, algorithms, numerical models, and codes.
Both degrees offer opportunities and lucrative salaries. Consider these questions when deciding your career path: Am I more math-oriented or business-oriented? Do I want to create seamless person-computer interaction, or do I want to help businesses thrive? Do I want to use my creativity to build websites, or do I want to use it to tell the stories hidden within data? Regardless, choose the career that naturally suits your skillset and goals.
Salaries for data and computer science depend on years of experience, professional setting, and education level. However, in general, you can expect to potentially make six-figure salaries.
Please research the school you’re interested in for exact costs and fees. For example, according to U.S. News & World Report, an online bachelor’s in computer science ranges from about $15,000 to $80,000 total.⁵
¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, Data Scientists, at https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes152051.htm#(3 ) (visited May 2022).
² Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer and Information Research Scientists, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm (visited May 2022).
³ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, Data Scientists, at https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes152051.htm#(3 ) (visited May 2022).
⁴ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer and Information Research Scientists, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm (visited May 2022).
⁵ U.S. News and World Report, Online Computer Science Bachelor's Degree, at https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/computer-science-bachelors-degree (visited May 2022).