A computer science associate degree can help launch a career in technology. If you want a computer science education that teaches you about computer networks, an online associate degree in computer science can help.
Most computer science programs take four years to earn a degree. But with an associate’s degree, you can finish in half the time. This article shows you what computer science associate degree jobs are out there, and what money you can expect to make.
Read on for more information about the different computer science jobs you can get with an associate degree.
Why Get an Associate’s Degree in Computer Science?
Graduates with an associate degree in computer science can enjoy many benefits. For starters, they spend less time in school than those earning a bachelor’s degree. The typical associate degree takes two years to earn. A bachelor’s degree takes four years.
But you can also enjoy other benefits from earning the computer science associate degree.
A computer science associate degree can lead to growth and development in your career. When you earn a degree in computer science, doors open to advancement. You can gain knowledge that lets you take on more responsibilities than you had before. You can move up the ranks and earn higher wages.
After you earn an associate’s, you can continue your training by getting a bachelor’s degree. You can also pick up industry certifications in data science, web development, or another computer science focus. These also include an electronics certificate program or programs that support teaching kids.
Graduates of computer science programs can enjoy plenty of job opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information technology occupations should see a 15% growth over the next eight years.
Your computer science associate degree salary can increase once you finish school. Computer science professionals with computer science associate degrees command higher wages than those without a degree. You also position yourself to go back to school. If you decide to get a bachelor’s degree, your associate degree in computer science salary can double.
Types of Associate Degrees
If you want to work with computers, you need an associate degree in computer science. This degree will get you started as a computer systems apprentice or specialist. It can open doors for analyst roles or a further advanced degree. But there are different types of associate degrees.
- Associate of Arts
- Associate of Science
- Associate of Applied Science
Let’s take a look at each of the computer science associate degrees.
Associate of Arts
An AA CS degree offers well-rounded classes. You take humanities and general education courses. But you can also earn a concentration in computer science. Other specializations for associate degrees computer science offers include:
- Data science
- Personal computer operation
- Software engineering
- Video game design
Associate of Science
An AS degree lays a strong foundation in computer science. You take more STEM-related courses than AA degree students. You graduate prepared to enter the computer science job market or to get your bachelor’s degree.
Associate of Applied Science
The AAS degree prepares students to enter the workforce right after earning a computer science degree.
Associates in Computer Science Admission Requirements
So, you’ve decided on a computer science program for your associate’s degree. Well, the first step after you receive your high school diploma is to apply to a community college. But what do these schools look for in a candidate?
Competitive programs offering a degree in computer science want candidates with strong GPAs. Your high school diploma and transcript should reflect rigor and academic promise. You should have a GPA of at least 3.0 to get into top computer programs.
Some programs also want good scores on standardized tests such as the:
Personal essays and recommendation letters are also needed for acceptance.
Associate in Computer Science Jobs
Here’s a look at the top associates in computer science jobs.
Computer programmers are one of the most popular jobs in the industry. They are also one of the most important. Computer programmers write code for computer programs and applications. They also test codes to make sure the computer and applications does what’s intended.
Some programmers work with operating systems, while others code for software development and video games. They work as an associate software engineer, or alongside one. We need programmers to help create the world’s most popular video games, such as Fortnite and Minecraft. Without a programmer writing code, these games would be less functional for players.
Skills You Need
Computer programmers need a computer science degree. An associate degree with computer science skills can help you qualify for jobs. But you must have skills in at least one major programming language, such as:
Computer Programmer Earnings
Computer programmers earn a median annual wage of $93,000 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is a top associate degree computer science salary for college graduates.
Computer Support Specialist
Computer support specialists are professionals who assist computer users and businesses. Some provide technical help to an individual computer user at home. Others work for large organizations where they test and analyze current network systems to make sure they work.
These trained specialists do many tasks. Their tasks include:
- Backing up files
- Performing routine maintenance
- Providing technical support
- Running virus scans
- Solving information technology issues
- Upgrading hardware and software
Skills You Need
Entry-level work as a computer support specialist demands knowledge and skills. But you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to land a job. Many computer specialists have an associate degree and computer-related skills. But positions that are more technical demand technical skills and training. Some of these jobs want a bachelor’s degree.
Computer Support Specialist Earnings
Computer support specialists earn $62,760/year per the BLS.
Computer Systems Analyst
Associate degree computer science programs can lead to a job as a computer systems analyst. In this role, you oversee the installation and configuration of business computer systems. You analyze the company’s IT needs and research new technologies that can improve business operations. You also:
- Consult with managers on IT-related issues
- Determine cost efficiency
- Devise methods for making computer systems more functional
- Test systems
- Train employees
Your job is to make your company’s computer operations more efficient.
Skills You Need
To work as a computer systems analyst, you need skills and training. Graduating from a computer science program with an associate degree is the first step toward landing a job in this role. But since you need specialized business skills to work in this job, some employers look for candidates with business training. Others want candidates with a bachelor’s degree or MBA.
Computer Systems Analyst Earnings
Computer systems analysts earn median annual wages of $99,270. This associates degree in computer science salary is one of the highest in the field.
Developing software for the Web is a good job for college graduates of an associate degree program. It’s also one of the fastest growing professionals, according to the BLS.
Web developers need to know how to code in different computer languages. These include:
Most Web development tasks are simple and repetitive, but there are unusual jobs that require additional knowledge. One such example is debugging code. When doing this task, you need skills and knowledge of operating systems and development. You should also have experience running computer programs.
Skills You Need
Web developers need skills working with development frameworks such as Django and Ruby on Rails. You also need a strong understanding of how to install a web development stack on a Windows, Linux, or Unix system. You learn many of the skills needed to work in this job while earning your associate degree.
To advance as a web developer, you will need education beyond an associate degree degree in computer science. Some employers want a bachelor’s degree.
Web Developer Earnings
Web developers and digital designers earn a median annual wage of $79,890/year.
Other Job Opportunities
With shifts in the economy, and as new technology emerges, unexpected job opportunities can pop up. Not all computer science careers show up in the usual online searches. You have to be as creative in your searches as the job titles you’re looking for. Why? Because not all jobs are advertised as you’d think. Some aren’t even advertised in online job searches.
From banks to learning institutions, companies look for individuals with an associate degree and computer science skills. News stations hire climate researchers with a computer science associate degree. The military hires white-hat hackers to carry out cybersecurity efforts. Students get a military training certificate to work in these jobs.
But the first step to qualifying for one of these unique computer science positions is to earn an associate degree with a concentration in computer science.
Computer Repair Technician
Repairing computers is big business. Computer repair technicians have expertise in fixing computers. They also know how to repair hardware and software issues.
With refurbished smartphones and laptops sold online, many companies hire computer repair technicians to repair devices. Their tasks include:
- Removing viruses
- Replacing parts
- Troubleshooting software issues
While an associate in computer science won’t offer training in computer hardware repair, it will teach you how to troubleshoot. You learn how to handle software issues and harden system security. The skills you learn in an associate degree computer science program can help you get a job in the computer repair industry.
Forums, websites, and social media startups need human content moderators to ensure new users follow the rules. They hire online moderators who have experience or an associate’s degree in computer science.
Algorithms and AI perform most of this work, but human eyes ensure there are rule enforcements. Online moderators block users from posting racist comments or pushing political agendas. We see online moderators working with social media giants like Facebook and Instagram (Meta). These companies relay on human moderators to check flagged comments for deleting.
With a degree in computer science, you can qualify to work in this role.
Support Technician Specialist
Technical support is a big industry, You find support technicians in a wide range of companies. They provide help for customers with technical questions. Support techs work for many different types of firms, including:
- Cloud software providers
- IT firms
- Web hosting companies
Large companies hire full-time support technicians to work on staff. But you find most technical support over the internet.
To do this job, you need computer proficiency. Most support techs have an associate’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is optional.
Unit Tester Expert
Unit testers work with software developers and programmers to ensure that applications perform the way they should. Software applications can contain millions of lines of code and thousands of functions that work together. Debugging these systems can take years. That’s where a unit tester comes into the picture.
Unit testers put software applications through extreme testing scenarios to find bugs in code. They notify developers and programmers with their results. You learn how to perform these tests in a computer science programs.
User Experience Tester
User experience, or UX, testing is the process of creating an interface and an overall user experience that the end user finds compelling and satisfying. UX testers go through every feature of a software application to judge the functionality and convenience of the program. All kinds of companies hire UX testers.
UX testers work in mobile app development. They work on staff at companies and startups. But they also work freelance gigs. To qualify for this role, you should have a computer science degree.
What an Associate in Computer Science Program Can Teach You
With a high school diploma, you can take the next step and apply to an associate’s degree program in computers. These programs take two years to complete. Online programs can take less time. Computer science students earning their associate’s degree take courses in this discipline. Your courses cover topics like:
- Computer programming
- Computer systems
- Database fundamentals
- Deploy data science
- Information technology
- Introduction to operating systems
- Network security
- Predictive modeling tools
- Web development
Some programs ask students to complete an internship where they can get hands-on training working in a field of computer science. Once you get your degree and training, you can also earn certifications in a specialized area of the computer science field.
Some computer science students get certifications in data science and web development. Others get them in information technology.
Skills You Get in an Associate’s Degree Program
Computer science programs teach you many different skills needed to go to work. You can learn about object-oriented programming. You can also study web and mobile programming. If you’re interested in software debugging or coding, there are courses you can take.
Associate programs help students find jobs after graduation. They put more of a focus on practical training and the development of real-world skills than academic programs do. You not only learn programming skills, but can take advantage of IT training that opens doors to many different jobs in and out of the industry.
We live in a technology-driven world. Computer science and technology changes and evolves. Because of these changes, there are many different employment opportunities.
Earning only an associate degree in computer science is the first step toward landing a job in the industry. Computer science focuses on the skills you need to work in the field. A good degree program can teach you the skills you need and also land you your first internship. Both of which can lead to a fulfilling career in computer science.
This concludes our article on the best associate in computer science jobs.