Online computer science programs in Massachusetts open doors to a variety of exciting and lucrative careers. Trained professionals living in the state pursue careers in growing fields such as medical informatics, bioinformatics, insurance, and artificial intelligence. Students pursuing a computer science degree often seek jobs in areas such as software engineering, computer architecture, operating systems, and data structures.
Computer science careers in Massachusetts also offer comparatively high-paying salaries. According to CareerOneStop, the median salary for computer science professionals in Boston is $126,540 -- much higher than the national average for all other occupations in the U.S. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the number of computer science positions in the state will increase by 22% by 2026.
On the page below we take a close look at associate, master's, and doctoral programs available for computer science majors in Massachusetts. This information can help prospective students decide which program best fits their academic needs and career aspirations. We also consider popular careers in the field, what it means to pursue these careers in Massachusetts, and their median salaries.
According to CareerOneStop, the median salary for computer science professionals in Boston is $126,540.
Higher Education in Massachusetts
The public higher education system in Massachusetts consists of 29 campuses, including five universities, nine state universities, and 15 community colleges. The private, technical, and for-profit schools under the state’s education system purview add to the diverse higher education offerings in Massachusetts.
Many of the colleges and universities in the state offer both online and on-campus programs, allowing students to tailor their education to their academic goals and individual lifestyle. The University of Massachusetts, for example, has four campuses across the state and offers a large number of online degrees, including several degrees in computer science and related fields.
Massachusetts also offers residents a program called Mass Transfer, or an "A2B degree," which allows students to begin a degree program at a community college and transfer to a state university to complete the program. This option is ideal for students in computer science programs in Massachusetts who want to begin working toward a bachelor’s degree while paying lower tuition at a community college.
Computer Science Careers in Massachusetts
The tech industry is growing and evolving. As people become more attached to devices, demand for professionals who design, maintain, and repair technology increases. Studying computer science in Massachusetts prepares you for careers in different areas of the tech industry.
The BLS projects jobs in software development will grow 24% by 2026, and in Massachusetts, the annual mean salary for these professionals is more than $100,000. Built In Boston, a database for tech jobs and startups in the Boston area, currently lists more than 200 job openings in development and engineering.
Mean Salary for Computer Science Careers in Massachusetts
Computer Science Employers in Massachusetts
- Avid Technology: With an office in Burlington, Massachusetts, this tech company focuses on the entertainment industry. Avid Technology helps clients in music, movies, and television tell their stories through editing, recording, and live broadcasts.
- Bridgeline Digital: Headquartered in Massachusetts, Bridgeline optimizes digital customer relations for its clients by providing a platform to help them manage social media, web content, and software.
- Datawatch: This organization designs products to help clients, particularly large companies, handle and manage data more efficiently. Such products allow clients to manage large amounts of data with simple drag-and-drop operations.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Massachusetts?
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Computer Science Programs in Massachusetts
The best computer science schools in Massachusetts produce graduates who contribute to the state’s growing technology industry. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, located in Cambridge, is one of the most recognizable and respected schools in the country. Massachusetts is also home to 29 public higher-education institutions and many private and vocational schools. Many schools offering on-campus computer science programs in Massachusetts boast historic campus buildings, and UMass Amherst is known for its award-winning on-campus dining. UMass Amherst offers bachelor’s and graduate degrees in computer science, and the College of Information and Computer Sciences has more than 1,000 computing systems.
Students interested in online computer science programs in Massachusetts have plenty of options. Online programs provide scheduling flexibility and allow students to earn a degree while working full time. The UMass system offers online degrees through UMassOnline, including 12 degrees and certificates in computer science. Distance learners at UMassOnline retain access to services such as tech support, libraries, and academic advising.
Whether you pursue an on-campus or online computer science degree in Massachusetts, ensure the institution is accredited. Regional accreditation is the oldest and the most highly regarded type of accreditation, and indicates the quality of the school's programs and courses has been evaluated by an external agency. Massachusetts institutions are regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
Online computer science degrees in Massachusetts expand employment options and increase earning potential. Associate and bachelor's degrees help new professionals gain access to entry-level careers in the industry, and master's and doctoral programs position graduates for advanced positions at large companies and universities, often with leadership responsibilities. Online computer science programs in Massachusetts prepare learners for professional careers as software developers, computer programmers, database administrators, web developers, and more.
Associate programs introduce new students to foundational topics in computer science. Coursework for this program includes databases, programming fundamentals, communications and networking, operating systems, and software engineering. The ideal students for this program have a strong interest in programming and computer operations. Successful computer science students possess strong organizational, communication, and decision-making skills. Depending on their availability, most online students complete their associate degree in two years or less.
An associate degree from an online computer science program in Massachusetts prepares students for entry-level positions in computer science. Professionals with these credentials find themselves with employment as software applications developers, user support specialists, computer system analysts, and database administrators. These professionals can expect to earn a median salary in the $37,000-$49,000 range. While these entry-level positions pay approximately the national median salary or higher, some professionals may wish to pursue further education to increase their earning potential or advance to more senior positions in the workforce.
Prospective bachelor's students find a variety of leading online computer science degrees in Massachusetts. Unlike associate programs, bachelor's degrees help students focus on more advanced skills in a particular area of the field. Popular specializations for undergraduates include robotics and control systems, security architecture, embedded systems, and web development. Additionally, degree titles may vary between schools. The BS in information technology, BA in computer science, bachelor of computing, and bachelor of computer security are all types of computer science degrees with slightly different course requirements.
While coursework varies between schools and concentrations, many programs require similar foundational courses such as programming fundamentals, computer systems, operating systems, and analysis of algorithms. Most students complete requirements for the bachelor's program in four years or less. Upon graduation, degree holders can pursue entry- and mid-level careers as software developers, computer systems analysts, hardware engineers, database administrators, and network administrators.
Graduate degree holders gain access to more mid- and advanced-level positions and typically receive a higher salary. Unlike undergraduate programs, a master's degree in computer science allows students to develop advanced skills in a specialty area. Depending on one's chosen concentration and curriculum, many master's programs include core courses such as concurrent programming, mobile systems and applications, cloud computing, human-computer interaction, and enterprise software architecture and design.
Master's programs provide rigorous, specialized training that most students complete in two years or less. If a school requires a final project or master's thesis for graduation, students may need more time to complete their program. In all scenarios, successful master's students in computer science possess high-level organizational and problem-solving skills. Additionally, graduate students work well on their own, in small groups, and with academic advisers or mentors throughout the duration of their education and careers. Upon completion of the master's program, degree holders seek out computer science careers in Massachusetts as network administrators, computer systems analysts, network architects, and more.
The Ph.D. in computer science is the most advanced and specialized degree available in the field. These highly selective and competitive programs prepare learners for senior positions in their chosen area of expertise. Some popular concentrations for degree seekers at this level include forensic science, biochemistry, and nanotechnology. While coursework varies per program and focus, doctoral programs often require classes in mathematical foundations, programming languages, computer architecture, and advanced computer organization. The strengths of the faculty members strongly dictate a program's course offerings. Prospective students must carefully research each department before applying.
Most doctoral students in online computer science programs in Massachusetts complete their degree in five years or less. Some doctoral curricula include a built-in master's degree. In these cases, incoming students typically need only a bachelor's degree. Upon graduation, doctoral degree holders pursue careers in advanced positions such as college or university professors, computer network architects, electrical engineers, and software developers. Many research-centric companies reserve positions for doctorate-holding professionals with exceptional technical knowledge and high-level research skills.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Massachusetts
Professional organizations provide support and professional development opportunities. These organizations offer job boards, conferences, networking opportunities, and publications for students attending computer science schools in Massachusetts. The organizations below are open to computer science students and professionals in the state.
- MassCUE: The state's top organization for professionals and educators in computer science and related fields, MassCUE strives to connect researchers, students, and professionals from around the world to foster collaboration and the dissemination of research. Users take advantage of annual conferences and online resources such as career coaching, an active job board, and workshops.
- UMass Amherst Association for Computing Machinery Student Chapter: This group strives to connect UMass students in computer science and related fields with professional organizations and new opportunities. The chapter hosts interest groups, member meetings, regular networking and social events, career development opportunities, and collaborative projects. Only undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Massachusetts apply for membership.
- CS Women UMass Amherst: This group for undergraduate and graduate students offers scholarly support, community building and collaborative projects, and online resources. Students from any of the five UMass campuses may participate. The group also offers a travel grant program to help members cover the cost of attending academic conferences on computer science and related fields.
What Schools Offer a Computer Science Degree in Massachusetts?
Many of the schools and universities in Massachusetts offer computer science programs. Students pursuing a computer science degree in Massachusetts should research prospective schools to determine the best fit for their academic and professional goals. The list below includes all accredited on-campus and online computer science programs in Massachusetts.
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