Demand for computer scientists continues to grow both in Arizona and the U.S. as a whole. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects strong job growth for research scientists, programmers, developers, and network architects through 2026. Additionally, the Arizona Stem Network projects that jobs in STEM, including computing jobs, will increase by 23% through 2024.
Arizona faces a shortage of workers in several computer science areas. For instance, the state needs more than 7,000 cybersecurity workers and contains few professionals in this field.
The robust job outlook and continued demand make now an ideal time to enter an online computer science program in Arizona. These programs result in an online computer science degree at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate level.
Computer science courses in Arizona offer different specializations that allow students to focus on their desired interest. Specialties in software development, computer hardware, and information technology provide a range of options.
Higher Education in Arizona
Home to more than 130 colleges and universities, the state provides plenty of options for students pursuing online computer science degrees in Arizona. Arizona State University is the state’s most prominent public university system and features campus locations throughout Arizona.
Although students can explore public and private institutions across Arizona, Phoenix boasts the greatest concentration of colleges and universities. Phoenix’s population of more than 1.6 million people enjoys access to educational, cultural, and recreational experiences. Phoenix also holds professional networking events that prove advantageous for students in computer science schools in Arizona, as many of the state’s top computing companies maintain offices in the city.
Students residing in other states can still attend Arizona computer science schools. Online computer science programs in Arizona allow distance learners to complete coursework from anywhere. Online degree programs closely mimic on-campus programs and provide the same quality education.
Mean Salary for Computer Science Careers in Arizona
|Position||Mean Salary in Arizona||Mean Salary in U.S.|
|Computer Network Architects||$101,760||$107,870|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$88,010||$92,740|
|Software Developers, Applications||$96,120||$106,710|
|Software Developers, Systems Software||$103,990||$111,780|
Computer Science Employers in Arizona
- IBM: IBM manufactures machines such as the famous Watson learning platform. Many private companies and hospital systems rely on IBM for cloud-based services and software design. IBM employs computer science professionals to staff its Arizona programming and research departments.
- Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo, a national banking chain, offers cloud-based services to help customers manage their accounts and work through complex financial planning. The company recruits Arizona computer science professionals to design, build, and maintain the bank’s online services.
- Oracle: This global technology company is known for its database management systems. The company also builds cloud-based systems and enterprise software packages. Oracle stands out as one of Arizona’s highest-paying computing companies.
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Computer Science Programs in Arizona
Arizona institutions offer a variety of on-campus and online computer science programs. Students who prefer in-person interaction with professors and peers typically enjoy learning in a structured classroom environment. Students can pursue several prominent on-campus computer science programs, including programs at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.
Online programs remain ideal for students balancing professional or personal commitments with education. Pursuing a computer science degree online eliminates expenses associated with commuting or living near campus, saving students money and time. The same professors who teach on campus also teach most online courses, providing distance learners with the same quality education. Advanced learning technology allows online students to receive support from dedicated advisers and connect with professors and peers through video conferences and live chat rooms.
The best computer science schools in Arizona hold accreditation. During the accreditation process, external agencies review schools and programs to ensure they meet set academic standards. The two most common types of accreditation are regional and national. Regional accreditation is the oldest and most prestigious type and is granted by six accrediting bodies. National accreditation typically focuses on vocational programs. Credits earned from nationally accredited institutions rarely transfer to regionally accredited schools. Computer science students should also look for field-specific accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
Arizona college and universities offer a range of online computer science degrees. Students can choose from information technology, applied computer science, cloud computing, security, and network administration.
The degree you choose depends on your interest. Science-based computer degrees such as a bachelor of science contain more math and science coursework, while arts-based programs such as a bachelor of arts provide a broader learning experience. While course names and content differ, students in both programs often learn the same key concepts during their studies.
An online computer science associate degree provides an excellent starting point in the computer science field. From there, students continue their education with more advanced degrees that qualify them for additional positions.
Associate in Computer Science
Computer science careers in Arizona require college degrees. The associate program serves as the starting point for students to continue their education or find low-level entry jobs. These two-year degrees provide students with basic computer science knowledge. Coursework includes basic coding, database design and use, and basic operating systems. Students learn programming languages and how computers communicate. These online computer science programs in Arizona provide a foundation for future learning.
An online computer science associate degree can qualify students for positions as web developers, a job the BLS projects will experience 15% job growth through 2026. Students can also find jobs as information security analysts who protect systems from hackers, programmers who write software and applications code, and support personnel who troubleshoot and fix computer issues.
Associate students can pursue online computer science degrees in computer information systems, computer technologies, and information sciences and technology. Graduates can pursue higher-level online computer science programs in Arizona, including at the bachelor’s level.
Bachelor’s in Computer Science
Most computer programmers hold bachelor’s degrees, according to the BLS. Companies seek network architects, software developers, and computer system analysts with bachelor’s degrees. Students can earn an online computer science degree in computer security, computer science, or information technology.
At the bachelor’s level, computer science programs in Arizona begin to offer specializations. Students take a series of standard core courses and then move into their specialty area. Learners often take courses in a specific programming language, anti-hacking techniques, or operating system design. Coursework includes software system design and development, software and hardware interaction, computer architecture concepts, and algorithm analysis. Students can specialize in areas such as data mining, systems development, or robotics and control systems.
A bachelor’s degree takes 3-5 years to complete. The job market remains strong, as the BLS projects 24% job growth for software developers through 2026. An online computer science bachelor’s degree can open additional opportunities for job seekers that would not be available only with an associate degree.
Master’s in Computer Science
Online computer science programs in Arizona also offer master’s degrees. After graduation, graduate students qualify for advanced computer science careers in Arizona, including options in artificial intelligence and robotics system development. These professionals oversee computer networks, build interactive applications, and design innovative software systems. Companies seek master’s candidates for management and leadership positions.
Coursework includes the design, implementation, and maintenance of computer networks; computer operating systems and their structures; and advanced database systems. Full-time students complete their degree in 1-2 years, while part-time students may take up to four years. Job prospects remain promising. The BLS projects a 19% increase in computer and information research scientists through 2026. Job candidates must possess a master’s degree.
Master’s graduates with a computer science degree enjoy higher earning potential. According to PayScale, master’s degree holders earn an average of $100,000 a year. By comparison, a bachelor’s graduate earns on average $82,000 and an associate graduate earns approximately $58,000.
Ph.D. in Computer Science
A Ph.D. is the top level for online computer science degrees. Ph.D. computer science graduates earn, on average, $125,000 a year, according to PayScale. Graduates find careers in research, academia, or upper-level positions in private companies. By 2022, the BLS projects a 15.3% increase in jobs that require a Ph.D., showing the degree’s importance.
Ph.D. students examine the fundamentals of chemistry, nuclear magnet resonance, and physical biochemistry. Degree specialization options include biochemistry, nanotechnology, human-computer interaction, computational biology, and machine learning. Students interested in crime analysis and investigations may specialize in forensic science.
A Ph.D. prepares graduates for the most exclusive computer science careers in Arizona. For example, computer hardware engineers with a Ph.D. may design and test cutting-edge technologies. Graduates may also work as university faculty members to instruct other students in their area of study.
Students must possess at least a bachelor’s degree before applying for a Ph.D. program. Learners study for up to five years.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Arizona
Professional associations provide continuing education and networking opportunities to help members advance their careers. Organizations keep professionals updated on the latest computing innovations and trends. Additionally, conferences and networking events connect members with like-minded individuals and employment opportunities. Given the prevalence of technology professionals across industries, many computer science professional associations maintain a national or international presence, including in Arizona.
- Arizona Technology Council: AZTC connects technology companies throughout Arizona. The organization holds seminars, networking events, an annual conference. Members can also attend events on photonics, cybersecurity, and marketing technology. AZTC publishes TechConnect magazine, which covers innovation and technology issues, and hosts a job board and a small business network. Members can participate in a CEO and executive roundtable.
- Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence: AAAI promotes artificial intelligence research and increases the public’s understanding of AI. The organization provides guidance for researchers and funders. AAAI hosts an annual conference, a symposia series, and workshops. The association also awards scholarships, grants, fellowships, and awards. AAAI sponsors journals, offers a digital library of past publications, and publishes a magazine and books.
- Association for Women in Computing: AWC advocates for women in the computing profession by providing in-person and digital networking opportunities. The association hosts programs to help women advance their careers. Members can access continuing education, scholarships for women pursuing a tech-related degree, and a mentoring program. The group also offers volunteer and leadership opportunities.
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