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Approximately 852,000 students across the U.S. enrolled in computer and information sciences programs during the 2015-2016 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), making computer science one of the most popular academic disciplines.
Earning an online computer science degree in Florida prepares graduates for many high-paying careers. For example, Florida software developers earn an average annual salary of $100,030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Graduates may also find work in network administration, cybersecurity, or computer systems analysis.
This guide discusses the climate of higher education in Florida and explores the state's growing technology industry. We cover details regarding education costs, career options, and professional computer science organizations in Florida.
Florida at a Glance
- Population: 21,944,600
- Per Capita Income: $32,887
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions: 176
- % of Workforce in Tech: 6.4%
- Economic Impact of Tech Industry: $78 billion
Climate: Average Annual Temperature: 70.7 ℉
Annual Precipitation: 54.5 inches
- Major Sports Teams: Miami Marlins, Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Florida Panthers
Top Florida Schools for Computer Science
- University of Florida
- Florida International University
- Florida State University
- Saint Leo University
- Florida Atlantic University
- Florida Institute of Technology
- University of Miami
- Nova Southeastern University
- Stetson University
- St. Thomas University
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Why Go to College for Computer Science in Florida?
Beyond the beautiful weather, beaches, and theme parks, Florida offers impressive learning opportunities for college students. The state ranks first on U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the best states for college. This list considers graduation rates, student debt, educational attainment, and tuition and fees.
In 2018, more than 1 million individuals enrolled in a Florida college or university. The state's 29.9% college graduation rate places it just below the median rate of 31.2%.
Florida offers convenient college locations across the state, with schools clustering near major cities like Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miami. Florida's employers also provide tons of great internships, including opportunities with major companies like Nielsen, NASA, SpaceX, and Walt Disney World.
Several top Florida schools offer online computer science degrees. Attending school online allows students to learn from anywhere, eliminating the need for commutes or on-campus housing.
Education Statistics for Florida
Florida hosts a relatively well-educated population, exceeding the national average for associate degree-holders and falling just short of the national averages at the bachelor's and master's levels.
A total of 128 four-year colleges and 111 two-year colleges operate in the Sunshine State. Florida spends approximately $7,500 per full-time student, compared to the national average of approximately $8,200. The following information compares Florida's education statistics to national figures.
Higher Education in Florida
|Florida Data||National Data|
|Number of Four-Year Colleges||128||2,679|
|Number of Two-Year Colleges||111||1,303|
|Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education||46.2%||36.6%|
|Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student, 2019||$7,542||$8,196|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education, 2017||5.8%||5.8%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree, 2019||9.8%||8.5%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree, 2019||18.9%||19.8%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher, 2019||11%||12.4%|
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey
Accreditation for Florida Schools
Prospective college students in any state should evaluate each prospective school's accreditation status before applying. Accreditation demonstrates that an institution meets certain quality standards set by third-party agencies, ensuring degree-seekers can receive federal financial aid and transfer credits.
Regional accreditation is the older and more prestigious type. State-owned and nonprofit schools tend to hold regional accreditation, while national accreditation is more common with vocational, career, and technical schools.
Accreditation demonstrates that an institution meets certain quality standards set by third-party agencies, ensuring degree-seekers can receive federal financial aid and transfer credits.
In Florida, colleges receive regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Seventy-four Florida institutions held SACSCOC accreditation as of March 2021. This accreditation covers the entire institution, including branch campuses, online programs, and other distance learning programs.
Some computer science degrees in Florida hold additional programmatic accreditation from ABET.
Considerations for a Computer Science Degree in Florida
Choosing the right school and program requires candidates to consider many factors, including cost, location, and academic requirements. A successful college experience begins when you determine your preferred learning format and degree level.
Check out these links to learn more about the requirements for associate, bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. programs, along with available pathways. The following section also compares on-campus and online computer science degrees in Florida.
Computer Science Concentration Options
Computer science degree-seekers in Florida can customize their studies with several concentrations. Concentrations in software engineering, cybersecurity, and computer networking apply to prominent career opportunities in the state.
This concentration equips students with the knowledge and skills to develop and build software. More than 60,000 software developers work in Florida, earning an average annual salary of about $100,000.
A cybersecurity concentration prepares learners to identify, mitigate, and respond to security threats facing computer networks and data. Projections Central data indicates that information security analyst employment in Florida will grow by a projected 44% from 2018-2028.
A computer networking concentration offers a thorough exploration of modern networking and data communication, including security, design, and performance issues. Florida employs the fifth-largest number of network and computer systems administrators in the country.
Paying for Your Computer Science Degree
Although Florida students generally pay less than the national average to attend college, earning an associate or bachelor's in computer science still requires a significant financial investment. You can reduce up-front and out-of-pocket costs by pursuing scholarships, grants, fellowships, and loans. Visit the link below for more financial aid information.
In-State Vs. Out-of-State Tuition
Most Florida undergraduates enjoy significantly lower tuition and fees than the national average. The only learners who pay more than the national average come from out of state and attend public, two-year institutions. In-state students at four-year public schools pay less than half the national average.
Florida's membership in the Academic Common Market enables graduate students in several Southern states to pay in-state tuition for specific Florida graduate programs not available in their home state.
Florida's Cost of Living
Tuition, fees, textbooks, and supplies are the most common costs associated with attending college. However, accurately budgeting for a computer science degree in Florida requires students to look beyond the classroom and consider the overall cost of living.
Florida's overall cost of living index score is 97.9, with 100 being the national average. Florida residents enjoy below-average costs for housing (95.4) and transportation (96.7), but utilities (102.2) and groceries (104) cost slightly more than average.
Selecting Your Computer Science Program
In addition to considering concentration availability and cost, key factors include academic reputation, physical location, school size, and the availability of extracurriculars and support services. The following rankings offer a great place to start your search.
Careers for Computer Science Graduates in Florida
Florida ranks eighth on the list of best state economies, according to U.S. News & World Report. This ranking considers each state's business environment, employment data, and population and GDP growth.
Approximately 6.4% of Florida's total labor pool works in technology jobs. Top tech sectors in the state include aerospace and aviation, research and development, telecommunications, and tech manufacturing. Outside of the tech industry, leading employers of tech professionals include financial and professional services, government, and education.
Florida hosts several bustling tech regions, including Central Florida, where big cities like Orlando and Tampa attract a combined 80,000 tech workers. South Florida's emerging tech hub includes nearly 50,000 tech professionals in Miami alone.
The following information explores popular careers for computer science graduates, highlights three top tech employers, and includes salary and job growth data specific to the state.
Select Computer Science Careers in Florida
Software developers identify user needs, then design, test, and develop software that allows applications and computer systems to function. They typically need a bachelor's in computer science or a related field. Florida employs more software developers than other advanced tech occupations.
Computer Systems Analysts
Computer systems analysts, sometimes called systems architects, study businesses' computer systems and develop solutions to help increase efficiency. Most systems analysts hold bachelor's degrees in computer science, but the job also requires some knowledge of business operations. Top employing sectors include computer systems services, finance and insurance, information, and government.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators
These professionals handle the day-to-day responsibilities of maintaining, upgrading, and troubleshooting organizations' networks and computer systems. An administrator typically holds a bachelor's in computer science, though an associate degree or postsecondary certificate may suffice for entry-level positions. Florida employs nearly 18,000 network and computer systems administrators.
Computer Science Employers in Florida
As the largest aerospace company in the world, Boeing designs and manufactures aircraft, rockets, satellites, telecommunications equipment, and defense products. Boeing operates several locations in Florida and plans to relocate its space and launch division headquarters from Arlington, Virginia, to Titusville, Florida. Boeing employs engineering and computer science professionals for data testing, evaluation, and research.
Jabil offers manufacturing solutions to clients around the world — including its largest customer, Apple, Inc. Headquartered in St. Petersburg, Jabil employs engineering and computer science professionals to drive efforts in research and development, technical design, and automation. The company also hires information security and systems analysis professionals.
Sykes, headquartered in Tampa, offers business process outsourcing services, IT consulting, and customer contact solutions. Sykes provides teams, systems, and technology to optimize the connection between brands and their customers. Computer science professionals can find opportunities at Sykes in data analysis, software testing, and information security.
Florida Employment Trends
|2028 Projected Employment||11,360||232,300|
|Projected Job Growth, 2018-28||+1.9%||-7.2%|
Computer and Information Systems Managers
|2028 Projected Employment||21,230||461,100|
|Projected Job Growth, 2018-28||+20.2%||+11.3%|
|2028 Projected Employment||10,290||181,400|
|Projected Job Growth, 2018-28||+17.9%||+13%|
Source: Projections Central
Network & Computer Systems Administrators
Computer Systems Analysts
Information Security Analysts
Computer Hardware Engineers
Computer and Information Research Scientists
Computer and Information Systems Managers
Florida's tech jobs offer salaries slightly below the national average, but many still reach six figures. The lowest-paying computer science careers in Florida focus on web development and programming. Florida's highest-paying careers emphasize research, management, and software and hardware engineering.
The most common tech job titles in the state include software developer (62,840), computer systems analyst (29,450), and computer and information systems manager (20,050). Florida's degree-seekers looking to work in these sectors after graduation can pursue computer science programs with concentrations in software development or networking.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is computer science a good major in Florida?
Yes. The benefits of studying computer science include learning from expert faculty, internship opportunities with leading tech employers, and excellent job prospects after graduation.
What is the best field in computer science in Florida?
Florida supports a strong computer science industry with diverse career opportunities. Top tech sectors in the state include modeling and simulation, software and computer systems design, and telecommunications and internet services.
What computer science jobs are there in Florida?
College graduates can pursue many rewarding computer science careers in Florida. Popular job titles include software engineer, information security analyst, computer and information systems manager, and computer systems analyst.
Does Florida have online computer science programs?
Yes. Several colleges and universities offer online computer science programs in Florida. These online degrees offer a flexible alternative for learners who cannot attend in-person courses due to location, scheduling, or other obligations.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Florida
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