Computer Science Programs in South Carolina

It probably isn’t surprising to learn that the technology industry expands at a faster rate than many fields. As more people turn to computers and devices to carry out day-to-day functions, the demand for skilled professionals in areas like software development, information technology, and web development continue to grow.

An ongoing gap between the number of graduates from computer science in South Carolina and the number of job openings in the field means the state requires qualified employees to fill these positions. Earning an online computer science degree in South Carolina will help you obtain the skills and credentials needed for this growing industry.

An ongoing gap between the number of graduates from computer science in South Carolina and the number of job openings in the field means the state requires qualified employees

Higher Education in South Carolina

The state of South Carolina has an expansive higher education system with a number of public, private, and independent colleges and universities around the state. The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education reported a total enrollment of 185,618 undergraduate students across the state’s 33 public institutions in the fall of 2014. The same report revealed that enrollment in higher education in South Carolina grew 62% between 1990 and 2014, with steady growth expected to continue. The state’s two largest public research institutions, Clemson University and USC Columbia, report the highest enrollment numbers of any college or university in the state. Students interested in earning their computer science degree South Carolina from a smaller institution may want to consider Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, or Winthrop University.

South Carolina offers incentives and initiatives for improving quality and access to higher education in the state, such as free tuition at public institutions for residents over 60, and special state-based scholarships and grants for resident students. The state works to improve access to computer science education, beginning in high school, in order to prepare students to potentially study computer science at a college level.

Computer Science Careers in South Carolina

The computer science industry shows substantial growth on both a national and state level, with South Carolina projecting a job market increase of 17.7% by 2022. With a gap already existing between the number of job openings and the number of qualified graduates from the best computer science schools in South Carolina, this means that the need for more professionals in this field will only continue to grow. The South Carolina Department of Commerce reports that the state ranks 11th in the U.S. for employment growth in the tech industry, with a $1.3 billion capital investment between 2011 and 2016. The state’s metropolitan areas, including Charleston and Columbia, have shown increased job openings in the information technology field.

Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Senior Software Engineer $104,662
Software Developer $65,648
Software Engineer $76,738

Master's Degree

Senior Software Engineer $114,413
Software Developer $76,945
Software Engineer $90,240

Computer Science Employers in South Carolina

  • Blackbaud, Inc: Blackbaud develops software for nonprofit organizations. They are an international company with regional offices around both the U.S. and other countries, with central headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina. They employ over 1,000 people in the state.
  • Boeing South Carolina: A major branch of the Boeing air company, the locations in South Carolina emphasize assembly and completion of some of the company’s largest and most important aircrafts. The Boeing company employs computer science professionals to work in areas like cybersecurity and information technology to meet the various tech-centered needs of its massive operation.
  • General Electric: GE employs over 4,000 people in the state of South Carolina within four research and development facilities. The company plans to invest $400 million to open a facility in Greenville, SC that emphasizes advanced technologies in manufacturing, like 3D printing and robotics.

How Much do Computer Scientists Make in South Carolina?

The computer science and information technology industries offer many diverse career opportunities in South Carolina. Geographical location, individual credentials, and experience can all play a role in salary for these computer science professions. The table below compares the mean hourly and annual wages for computer science professionals in South Carolina to the national average.

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
South Carolina 37,660 $34.49 $71,730
United States 4,165,140 $42.25 $87,880

Source: BLS

Computer Science Programs in South Carolina

South Carolina offers a wide range of options for anyone considering a degree in computer science. The 2016 South Carolina Higher Education Statistical Abstract reported a total enrollment of 202,487 students across the state’s 84 postsecondary institutions in the fall of 2015. Between 2006 and 2015, enrollment in public and independent institutions grew by 12.6% with more growth expected in the coming years. Many computer science colleges in South Carolina offer degrees both on campus and online. On campus programs in the state offer students an opportunity to utilize campus resources, such as state-of-the-art computer labs and tech facilities, while earning an online degree comes with its own unique set of advantages. Some schools, like the University of South Carolina, require online students to have already completed 60 hours of coursework before entering the distance learning programs; others offer exclusive online options.

Online learning comes with the benefit of flexibility for students working full time or those who wish to pursue a degree at their own pace. Online computer science programs in South Carolina receive accreditation regionally by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and within the major by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

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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.

Associate in Computer Science

 

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

Bachelor’s in Computer Science

 

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

Master’s in Computer Science

 

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

Computer Science Ph.D

 

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

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What Schools Offer a Computer Science Degree in South Carolina?

Now that you’ve learned about higher education in South Carolina, and the employment prospects for graduates with computer science degrees, you can make an informed choice regarding your career path in computer science. The following list includes online, accredited computer science programs in the state.

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Professional Computer Science Organizations in South Carolina

While earning a computer science degree, students should consider joining a professional organization in South Carolina. These organizations benefit both current students and professionals already working in the field. They offer members a range of benefits and opportunities, including access to job boards, networking, annual conferences, continuing education programs, career services, and legal advocacy.

  • Association for Computing Machinery – USC: This student-led branch of the national Association for Computing Machinery emphasizes advancement in the computer science field, both scientifically and professionally.
  • Computer Science Teachers Association – South Carolina: This state branch of the Computer Science Teachers Association upholds the same mission as the national chapter—to advocate for and assist those who teach computer science. Computer science students looking to become teachers should consider joining this association.
  • Women in Technology: Women in Technology works to increase the presence of women in all tech industries, including computer science. This national organization with regional chapters holds annual events around the country and hosts online job boards available to all members.

Additional Computer Science Resources in South Carolina

  • South Carolina Commission on Higher Education: The Commission on Higher Education provides valuable tools and resources for students in different fields of study. Their website gives information on funding opportunities and financial aid for state residents and details about other postsecondary institutions across the state.
  • USC Computer Science & Engineering: The website for the department of computer science and engineering at the University of South Carolina provides useful information to students, both current and prospective. The sites posts upcoming events and a job board for local openings in the field. There is also a news feed to stay up to date on the latest computer science advances.
  • Exploring Computer Science – Student Resources: This website provides a lengthy list of resources for students studying computer science. These resources include platforms for building applications, developing websites, and learning more about the field in general. The website also provides a directory of STEM programs in the area and information on professional development.
  • NASA Computer Science Educational Resources: NASA’s website provides resources on different topics for students studying computer science at any level, including coding, source programming, and search tools. A blog shares industry updates and current news about computer science within NASA.