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The demand for new computer software applications continues to fuel job growth, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 24% growth in software development careers and 31% growth of application development jobs through 2026. With an average salary of $112,190 per year, Maryland companies employ more than 12,700 software developers, which far surpasses the state's per capita income of $39,070.
Given Maryland's border with Washington, D.C., the state attracts research and development centers that focus on information security, with more than 28,000 software developers working in the region. Maryland companies and universities, including premier medical institutions, also lead research in areas of applied physics, cryptology, and cybersecurity. Online computer science programs in Maryland prepare graduates to enter these high-demand fields.
Options for online computer science degrees in Maryland include associate degrees and bachelor's degrees, with advanced study and research opportunities for master's and doctoral students, as well.
Higher Education in Maryland
Several on-campus and online computer science programs exist for students in Maryland. Johns Hopkins University, located in Baltimore, offers online and on-campus computer science programs, as well as an applied physics laboratory in partnership with the state's largest computer science industry employers. Towson University boasts a computer science program that allows students to choose between computer security and software engineering specializations.
Computer science programs in Maryland commonly offer opportunities for students to take part in specialized research. The University of Maryland Baltimore County, for example, features 15 research facilities on its main campus, as well as computer science degree offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Many of Maryland's computer science schools offer different specializations, minors, and research opportunities.
Computer Science Programs in Maryland
Many opportunities exist for students interested in Maryland's online computer science degrees. Several universities offer both on-campus and online learning opportunities. Moreover, regionally accredited computer science programs in Maryland allow students to transfer credit to universities with the same accreditation. On-campus options include the University of Maryland's computer science program, which features student organizations that enable students to network outside of the classroom.
Online options include the University of Maryland University College's online computer science program in which students analyze and develop computing systems solutions, identify emerging technology, recognize technological trends, and process algorithms. They take courses in programming, computer systems, and data structures and analysis. Likewise, Johns Hopkins University offers on-campus, online, and hybrid programs in computer science.
The school's program enables students to tailor their degrees in one of 10 computer science degree tracks: bioinformatics, cybersecurity, data communications and networking, data science and cloud computing, database systems and knowledge management, enterprise and web computing, human-computer interaction and visualization, software engineering, systems, and theory.
TYPES OF COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREES
Online computer science programs in Maryland offer students multiple paths to employment. From two-year associate degree programs to doctoral degrees, students can choose the degree that best meets their current interests and career goals. While associate degrees allow students to begin their careers more quickly, professional growth may require additional education. Carefully planning your professional path and choosing accredited programs ensures you can continue to move up the career ladder.
ASSOCIATE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE
An associate degree in computer science provides instruction and hands-on learning opportunities in computer programming and maintenance. Schools may offer associate of arts or science degrees or an associate of applied science degree in fields that include technical studies, information technology, and information systems. The curriculum consists of 60-66 credits, and many students graduate in as little as two years, allowing them to enter the workforce quickly.
Online computer science programs in Maryland provide scheduling flexibility, proving critical for students who balance school and work schedules. These remote programs also allow students to access high-quality instruction without the need to commute to campus. Students planning to continue their education with bachelor's degrees should verify each school's accreditation status and any transfer agreements with four-year colleges.
The curriculum varies depending on the type of associate degree you choose, but most include some general education classes and foundation courses in computer networking, database management, operating systems, and computer programming. Completing an associate degree prepares graduates for computer science careers in Maryland such as computer system analysts, information security analysts, and computer support specialists.
BACHELOR’S IN COMPUTER SCIENCE
Earning a bachelor's degree in computer science prepares graduates for exciting careers in software development, information security, or as network administrators. The curriculum offers a comprehensive overview of computer coding, application of mathematical principles, and application or system design processes. Expect to earn 120-180 credits, depending on your school's format and schedule. You must also complete general education courses in English, science, and history.
Online computer science programs in Maryland offer flexibility in your coursework schedule and how quickly you complete your degree. Many schools utilize accelerated class formats that allow you to focus on one or two courses at a time, yet you can earn more credits than traditional semester courses allow.
Computer science draws on many disciplines. Degree specializations and concentrations allow students to focus on a particular field, such as game design, web development, or bioengineering. Online programs allow students to find degrees that match their interest without the need to relocate or travel great distances for classes. Students should verify each school's accreditation status, especially if they plan to continue their education with master's degrees.
MASTER’S IN COMPUTER SCIENCE
Master's degrees in computer science can prepare students to take on leadership roles within their company, gain technical expertise in a specialty, or allow individuals to enter computer science careers in Maryland after earning a degree in an unrelated discipline. Many schools offer professional master's programs designed specifically for working students.
A master's degree requires 30-45 credits. Full-time students may complete their degree in as little as a year, while part-time students may need up to four years to graduate. Master's students can design their degrees to match their career goals, with practical courses in networking, applied algorithms, and data structures. Concentrations or dual degrees allow for further specialization with master's degrees in business, communications, or engineering.
Earning a master's degree adds prestige to your resume, often allowing you to qualify for senior positions as database administrators, chief information officers, or chief technology officers. Check your school's accreditation and any on-campus requirements as well as the research focus of faculty members to ensure your school matches your career goals.
PH.D. IN COMPUTER SCIENCE
Individuals with an interest in research or technical experimentation may seek Ph.D. degrees in computer science. Many schools also require their faculty members to earn a doctorate before advancing to tenured or full professor status.
Most Ph.D. programs require 4-5 years to complete, and many plans include some on-campus requirements. Often, applicants must complete a master's degree in a related field, submit scores from the GRE, provide examples of research projects, and seek letters of recommendation from colleagues and instructors. Each student must choose a specialty area, such as software engineering, robotics, or language and information technologies.
Coursework often includes classes outside the computer science department, allowing students to develop an understanding of how computer science can incorporate these courses in new technologies, such as nanotechnology or biomechanical engineering. A Ph.D. requires completion of an independent research project and written dissertation outlining your research findings. Many doctoral candidates also seek publication of their work in peer-reviewed journals.
Computer Science Careers in Maryland
The BLS projects the computer science industry to grow 13% between 2016 and 2026 nationwide. Similarly, the annual mean wage of $50,000 for computer science-related positions outpaces the national average.
The high growth rate ensures that professionals can enter a wide range of available positions throughout Maryland. Computer science-related careers include cybersecurity, programming, information technology, and research-based work. Some career paths include work as data analysts, computer network operators, information technology specialists, database developers, and cyberdefense specialists.
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Mean Salary for Computer Science Careers in Maryland
COMPUTER SCIENCE EMPLOYERS IN MARYLAND
- Science Applications International Corporation: SAIC, a technological integrator, focuses on engineering, enterprise information technology, and intelligence markets. With more than 15,000 employees worldwide, SAIC offers a wide range of career opportunities, including positions as computer network defense analysts, computer scientists, and computer information systems engineers.
- Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory: Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory exists as the United States' largest university-affiliated research center. They resolve computer science related challenges through systems engineering and integration, analysis, technology development, and research. They also offer career opportunities for scientists, engineers, and researchers to serve as experts and advisers to the government.
- Vencore: Vencore provides engineering, analysis, and information solutions to the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Intelligence Community, and other federal and civilian agencies. They focus on data analysis and technology, cybersecurity, and research by offering careers in systems engineering, program planning analytics, software testing, and research science.
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Professional Computer Science Organizations in Maryland
Professional organizations in the computer science field provide great opportunities to members, who attend planned networking events, enjoy referrals and access to educational materials, and gain access to job opportunities through connections and job boards. These organizations serve as a support system for computer scientists throughout their careers. Read on for a list of some of these organizations.
- Center for Computing Sciences: The center brings together experts in computer science, mathematics, and engineering to develop new digital technologies to solve information security problems. CCS works with the National Security Agency and industry leaders to build computer platforms capable of handling national security computations. Researchers collaborate with scientists at national laboratories across the country.
- Rockville Science Center: This nonprofit organization connects technical experts with residents interested in engineering, technology, and science careers. The monthly Science Café allows researchers to share their work with members of the public, including individual sessions for youth. Field trips, summer camps, and Rockville Science Day all promote STEM education. Hobbyists and potential businesses receive access to high-tech equipment to design projects and create prototypes.
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