What Are The Different Types of Computer Degrees?

  • Find a bachelor's degree

    Bachelors Degree Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Dif­fer­ent com­put­er-relat­ed degrees include majors such as Com­put­er Sci­ence, Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy, Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems, Com­put­er Engi­neer­ing, and Soft­ware Engineering.
  • Each major has spe­cif­ic areas of focus, for exam­ple, Com­put­er Sci­ence cov­ers broad com­put­ing con­cepts, where­as Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy focus­es on data man­age­ment and net­work security.
  • Depend­ing on the major, grad­u­ates can work in var­i­ous roles such as cyber­se­cu­ri­ty, sys­tems analy­sis, or soft­ware devel­op­ment.
  • Com­put­er degrees are avail­able in dif­fer­ent for­mats like on-cam­pus, online, or hybrid, to accom­mo­date var­i­ous learn­ing pref­er­ences and lifestyles.

There is a wide selec­tion of majors that a stu­dent could choose from for their com­put­er degree, and there are com­put­er degrees avail­able at all lev­els of upper edu­ca­tion from asso­ciate to doc­tor­al degrees. Often there are fur­ther spe­cial­iza­tions with­in each major that allow stu­dents to pre­pare for a spe­cif­ic career path.

This arti­cle was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in Novem­ber 2022 and was updat­ed and revised to reflect the most up-to-date infor­ma­tion avail­able in Jan­u­ary 2024.

Some of the most com­mon majors with­in the field of com­put­er sci­ence are: 

Stu­dents will also be able to choose the for­mat of their degree, as many insti­tu­tions offer com­put­er degrees with class­es on cam­pus, online, or a hybrid of both. Online options are typ­i­cal­ly suit­ed for work­ing pro­fes­sion­als who are look­ing to obtain a com­put­er-based job, or already one and are look­ing to increase their cre­den­tials for career promotion. 

Grad­u­ates with com­put­er degrees are some of the most sought-after employ­ees, as there is a large skills gap between the num­ber of com­put­er jobs and qual­i­fied appli­cants. There­fore, some peo­ple may find that an afford­able com­put­er degree will get their foot in the same door as a degree from a pres­ti­gious Ivy League school, at a heav­i­ly dis­count­ed rate. 

Accord­ing to the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics, com­put­er-relat­ed degree grad­u­ates can expect to earn an aver­age of $100,530 annu­al­ly. The job out­look also is pos­i­tive with a “much faster than aver­age” rate of growth.

For ref­er­ence to some of the most afford­able com­put­er sci­ence degrees, check out our list of the Top 10 Cheap­est Online Bach­e­lors of Com­put­er Sci­ence Degrees.

computer degrees

Let’s take a clos­er look at what dif­fer­en­ti­ates the dif­fer­ent com­put­er degree majors from each other.

Computer Science

Com­put­er Sci­ence is the most com­mon major for com­put­er degrees. The field of com­put­er sci­ence can encom­pass a wide range of sub­jects, giv­ing stu­dents a broad back­ground and basis from which to lat­er choose a specialization. 

In gen­er­al, the field of com­put­er sci­ence teach­es the under­ly­ing sci­en­tif­ic the­o­ries and rea­son­ing that go into the build­ing blocks of com­put­ing. Major­ing in com­put­er sci­ence is the most ver­sa­tile com­put­er degree, as it will not pigeon­hole you to any par­tic­u­lar specialization.

Information Technology

Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy is the sec­ond most com­mon major for com­put­er degrees and focus­es on data archive, retrieval, and trans­mis­sion. This major empha­sizes learn­ing how com­put­ers con­nect through Local Area Net­works (LANs), Wide Area Net­works (WANs), and Ethernets. 

Areas of spe­cial­iza­tion with­in the field of Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy include but are not lim­it­ed to:

  • Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance and Security
  • Net­work Administration
  • Soft­ware Analy­sis and Development

The spe­cial­iza­tion of stu­dents with­in the field of Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy will qual­i­fy them for par­tic­u­lar careers like Infor­ma­tion Secu­ri­ty Ana­lyst, Sys­tems Admin­is­tra­tor, and Soft­ware Developer.

Information Systems

Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems is a very sim­i­lar major to Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy, with the slight dif­fer­ence being that Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems majors will focus on the busi­ness appli­ca­tions of IT prin­ci­ples. This degree con­cen­tra­tion will teach stu­dents how to ana­lyze com­pa­nies, cor­po­ra­tions, gov­ern­ments, and oth­er insti­tu­tions to define and achieve spe­cif­ic goals.

Computer Engineering

Com­put­er Engi­neer­ing majors deal with com­put­er hard­ware, learn­ing how to con­struct and pro­gram moth­er­boards, and design the dif­fer­ent devices that these moth­er­boards oper­ate. They also focus on the inter­face of per­son­al com­put­ing, design­ing seam­less inter­ac­tions between humans and technology. 

Research sci­en­tists and oth­er com­put­er sci­en­tists in com­put­er tech­nol­o­gy often have an engi­neer­ing degree. Engi­neer­ing is also often the high­est-pay­ing online degree, accord­ing to the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics (BLS).

Software Engineering

Soft­ware Engi­neer­ing majors cre­ate the oper­at­ing sys­tems and appli­ca­tions that uti­lize what Com­put­er Engi­neers have cre­at­ed. They will learn how to write code, and will usu­al­ly spe­cial­ize in one of the major com­put­er pro­gram­ming lan­guages like Java, Python, and C+, among many others.

Some of the careers you may take on with one of these degrees include:

  • Com­put­er Sys­tems Programmer
  • Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty
  • Data­base Administrator
  • Web Devel­op­er
  • Sys­tems Analyst
  • Com­put­er Programmer
  • Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems Manager

There are relat­ed, high-demand con­cen­tra­tions stu­dents may want to con­sid­er, such as:

  • project man­age­ment
  • game devel­op­ment
  • web design
  • human-com­put­er interaction
  • arti­fi­cial intelligence/machine learning
  • appli­ca­tion development
  • data­base management
  • big data
  • soft­ware systems
  • data struc­tures
  • algo­rithms

In addi­tion to the fun­da­men­tals, strong, in-demand com­put­er sci­ence pro­grams should also empha­size soft skills like prob­lem-solv­ing, crit­i­cal think­ing, and real-world, hands-on appli­ca­tions in their course­work. Enrolling in a full-time bach­e­lor of sci­ence pro­gram is just the start!