A recent survey offered sobering numbers on the nation’s tech talent shortage: 86% of tech recruiters surveyed said it was a challenge finding qualified candidates to fill open technology positions. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this challenge is only set to grow. Over the next decade, BLS projects job growth for computer scientists will be 19% — well above the national average. Fortunately, help is on the way, as increasing numbers of first- and second-year students declare computer science as their major. In the short-term, however, those with a CS degree are joining a robust job market.
From corporations to startups, finding (and hiring) tech talent is a challenge across all sectors and states. However, Georgia is a state that’s on the economic rise, and companies in the state need to hire the right people to make sure innovation keeps pace. Atlanta — also known as Silicon Peach — is leading the way, with a flock of entrepreneurs choosing the capital city to build their businesses. As this startup boom continues, so will opportunities for people who can thrive in a mobile-ready, cloud-based, digital world.
Over the next decade, BLS projects job growth for computer scientists will be 19% — well above the national average.
Higher Education in Georgia
The Empire State of the South is home to 52 four-year colleges and universities, including 28 from the University System of Georgia (USG). Founded in 1931, the state’s higher education system boasts eight research and comprehensive universities, 10 state universities and 10 state colleges, and students from nearly 160 countries. Among the 31 private colleges and universities in Georgia, Emory University is the largest, with a full-time enrollment of more than 12,700.
Despite numerous colleges and universities, just 11.7% of Georgia’s residents hold graduate degrees, ranking it in the bottom half of all U.S. states. To encourage academic excellence, the Peach State established the HOPE scholarship in 1993 to provide tuition support to high achievers, many of whom go on to major in medicine, business, or computer science.
Each year, 60,000 students graduate from the state’s public university system. Atlanta, among the nation’s major market leaders in private-sector growth, attracts many of these degree-holders. About one-third of Atlanta residents have a college degree — above the national average of 28% — and the area ranks third in the nation when it comes to graduating engineers. Major colleges and universities in the state include Emory, Georgia Tech, Morehouse College, the University of Georgia, and the liberal arts colleges of Spelman University and Agnes Scott College.
Computer Science Careers in Georgia
Computer science features elements of all four STEM categories — science, technology, engineering, math — and while it is a relatively new discipline, it is also a comprehensive one. The skills and knowledge gained from a CS degree in Georgia are in high demand in today’s economy, as businesses try to gain a competitive edge. Algorithms, cloud-based computing, mobile ads, and data mining are just some of the areas where computer scientists are needed the most.
Computer science majors will enter a job market facing a severe shortage in talent. Georgia, and specifically the Atlanta metro area, is experiencing the 10th fastest-growing economy in the nation amidst a surge in entrepreneurship. It is also an early favorite to land Amazon’s second headquarters, which would create even more demand for tech jobs — from coders to data analysts to systems architects — and possibly even higher enrollment in Georgia computer science schools.
Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree
Computer Science Employers in Georgia
- UPS: Headquartered in Atlanta, the world’s largest multinational package delivery company must keep its enormous supply chain running like clockwork. CS professionals ensure the efficiency of the process by assisting with code reviews, data analysis, and developing software platforms.
- Rev.io: This company helps businesses of all sizes with usage-based billing needs and customer management systems. Computer science majors, like those enrolled in online computer science programs in Georgia, have the problem-solving skills to support Rev.io with analytics, business informatics, and software design. They also work in collaboration with data miners, product managers, computer programmers, and database architects.
- Manhattan Associates: Led by its research and development team, this company provides scalable supply chain solutions. Leaning on the expertise of operations research analysts, coders, and other CS professionals, Manhattan carries out optimization, tuning, and validation of data on new and existing products.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Georgia
Given the high demand for tech talent, computer science professionals are well-positioned to earn great money. In fact, the median annual salary for professionals in a computer/mathematics field is nearly $30,000 more than the national average.
The field of computer science impacts nearly every industry, and though CS talent is in high demand, salaries vary by experience, location, and education levels. In Georgia, wages are close to the national average; however, with the recent rise in the number of startups in the area, the state anticipates salaries to grow.
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Computer Science Programs in Georgia
Prospective CS professionals can earn degrees at all levels in Georgia, from an associate to a doctorate. Most Ph.D. holders assume teaching positions, where a terminal degree is required for tenure-track positions; some CS roles, such as information research scientists, require a minimum of a master’s degree. There are many positions, however, where only a bachelor’s or associate degree is sufficient to begin a career.
Nearly every school in Georgia — public and private — offer some kind of computer science degree. At the undergraduate level, students learn the principles behind CS, like machine learning, Java, and program construction. As students continue their studies in a master’s or Ph.D. program, they may narrow their focus to a specific concentration or CS sub-field.
Computer science programs in Georgia are available on-campus, via hybrid format, or 100% online. The latter affords students a more flexible schedule and greater affordability, while still offering a rigorous curriculum. Online programs also make CS degrees accessible to those who live outside of Georgia. The Georgia Tech College of Computing, for example, offers an online master of science in computer science (OMS CS) that features students from over 90 countries, and a 25.9% international enrollment.
It’s important that students searching for a computer science program in Georgia check for regional accreditation (SACSCOC) and ABET accreditation, which is a specialized accreditation recognized by CHEA for programs in applied science, computing, engineering, or engineering technology. While ABET accreditation is voluntary for schools, some professions like engineering and surveying require it for licensure.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
There are many types of degrees students can choose when pursuing education in computer science: associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate degree. In general, further formal education within a field results in a higher salary. In addition, some positions require a certain level of degree. For instance, many research positions or teaching positions at the university level require at least a master’s or doctorate degree. The table below features descriptions and basic data about each degree type.
An associate in computer science provides students with foundational knowledge in computer languages and programming. In addition to learning about computer systems, students will emerge with general education courses usually required by four year colleges. Graduates with an associate degree qualify for entry-level computer science positions in the job market.
Average Program Length – 2 Years
Median Salary – $32,897
A bachelor’s in computer science provides students with knowledge of operating systems, a variety of programming languages, database management, and computer systems and architecture. These programs typically require 120 credit hours of coursework and a capstone project. Many employers in the industry are increasingly hiring individuals with a bachelor’s degree.
Average Program Length – 4 Years
Median Salary – $60,835
A master’s in computer science provides students with a deeper understanding of computer systems, design, and programming languages. Some master’s programs may provide specializations for those who wish to concentrate further in a specific area. Individuals with a master’s degree typically earn a higher salary upon graduation than those with a bachelor’s.
Average Program Length – 1-2 Years
Median Salary – $104,269
A doctorate degree in computer science is designed for individuals who wish to pursue research in the field. These intensive programs often require students to narrow their field of study and design and carry out a specific research project that culminates in a dissertation. Graduates with a Ph.D in computer science often go into academia as computer science professors.
Average Program Length – 4+ Years
Median Salary – $126,744
What Schools Offer a Computer Science Degree in Georgia?
Georgia offers numerous computer science degree programs. The following list shows, side-by-side, the best accredited, online CS degrees in the state.
schools that match your search
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Georgia
Becoming a member of a professional organization gives you access to everything from industry codes of ethics to trends and updates. For students, there are scholarships and resources; for recent grads, there are mentorships, workshops, continuing education opportunities, and career services. For all, there is access to annual conferences, presentations, and networking.
- Association for Computing Machinery: As the world’s largest computing society, with 100,000 members and counting, ACM acts as an advocate for computing — both as a profession and science. Members gain access to global events, annual conferences, speaker engagements, and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for networking.
- IEEE Computer Society: IEEE counts researchers, educators, engineers, IT professionals, and students among its 60,000 members. The society sponsors more than 200 technical conferences annually and its publications are peer-reviewed and authored by industry leaders.
- Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility: Founded in 1981, this organization educates policymakers and the public on the responsible use of computer technology. Among its projects include Privaterra, EPIC (the Electronic Privacy Information Center), and the Public Sphere Project.
Additional Computer Science Resources in Georgia
- TechTutorials: Computer reference of more than 6,500 free tutorials on information technology, including applications, databases, UNIX, programming, and virtualization; also hosts discussion forums, job search tools, subscriptions, access to white papers, and articles for IT professionals, hobbyists, and home users.
- Codango: Collection of resources, links, reviews, and articles related to coding and coders. From here, students can find a trove of online artifacts on coding, its evolution, and its impact on web development, databases, and related technologies. For web development, read about JSP, PHP, Flash, CGI, XML, and Perl.
- Introduction to Computer Languages: Provides a high-level overview of the different computer languages, as well as a primer for those new to programming and thinking of pursuing a CS major. Offers instruction about object-oriented languages; procedural, functional, logic, and stack languages; and their implementation and representation of different paradigms.
- Computing Research Association: Slide presentation (PDF) listing various reasons to earn a Ph.D. in computer science. For those considering an online science degree in Georgia or another state, this provides an argument on why it would be a good academic/career path to choose.