With the domestic demand for capable programmers still strong and only set to grow further, many of those preparing for their future careers are looking into the viability of an online computer science degree. Such programs at traditional, brick-and-mortar colleges and universities are more popular than ever, and most of these are boasting of especially solid job placement rates for their graduates. When it comes to online programs of this sort, though, many understandably wonder if the same can be said. Although these programs are often much less expensive and much more flexible than traditional ones, they still represent still investments in time and money, for which students would like to be repaid.
The Job Market for Programmers: Not a Traditional White-Collar Sector
With regard to many of the most popular and sought-after career-track, white-collar jobs, particular undergraduate or advanced degrees have often been considered a minimum requirement for any hopeful applicant. When it comes to finding capable, talented computer programmers, however, the situation has historically been quite a bit different, and doesn’t look to change much in the near future.
To a much greater degree than is true of most other positions in the corporate world, positions of this sort have generally been available to those capable of demonstrating merit, regardless of educational or other static credentials. Today’s computer programmers expect to be grilled intensely in interviews designed to tease out everything a company’s existing programmers can hope to find out about their skills and theoretical knowledge. They come prepared to these interviews with extensive samples of their past work, whether these take the form of contributions to open-source projects, or startups or web services they have launched on their own.
For these reasons, educational credentials are somewhat less of an issue for hopeful computer programmers than for many others looking for security and comfortable salaries. Online computer science degrees might still meet with a bit of skepticism from HR departments, particularly at the stage where automated tools are used to winnow piles of resumes, but are likely to have nothing but positive potential impact as an applicant proceeds further in the process.
Online Learning Delivers Great Value to Motivated Programmers
Those pursuing computer science degrees, as opposed to any of a variety of other programming-related and -relevant fields of study, mark themselves as interested in the underlying theory. Programs of this sort impart more in the way of abstract knowledge about algorithms, data structures, and processor design than most others in the field, so that they prepare their graduates with the ability to handle big-picture issues, instead of merely more concrete ones.
Online computer science programs, it turns out, are very well suited to providing this kind of education, particularly to the most focused students and those who have extensive prior programming experience. The best and brightest often benefit from these programs, then, just as much as they would from real-world ones, so that clued-in employers can see such a credential as a real asset for a candidate who has demonstrated programming skill as well. Truly motivated students with a love of, and experience with, programming, then, might well find an online computer science degree to be a great investment, while others might benefit from the more traditional “in” that a diploma from a well-known college presents.