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The technology field is evolving rapidly, creating a variety of possible career trajectories. Software development, web developers, and database administrator exemplify just three of many potential computer science careers in Virginia.
Jobs in the tech industry continue to grow in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 22% job growth for software developers from 2019-2029. Virginia offers several computer science programs that prospective students can take classes online, on campus, or in a hybrid format.
Computer science majors are projected to earn the highest starting salaries of $68,668 per year, according to a 2020 salary survey by the National Association of College and Employers.
With its proximity to the nation's Capitol, Virginia constitutes the highest number of technology workers in the nation. Everything from manufacturing computer chips to developing nanotechnology occurs within the state.
Computer science majors are projected to earn the highest starting salaries of $68,668 per year, according to a 2020 salary survey by the National Association of College and Employers. Earning an online computer science degree in Virginia means graduates enter into a booming job market with high salaries.
Keep reading for a deep dive into computer science programs in Virginia.
Virginia at a Glance
- Population: 8,603,985
- Per Capita Income: $40,635
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions: 17
- % of Workforce in Tech: 11.1%
- Economic Impact of Tech Industry: $67 billion
- Climate: Average Annual Temperature: 55.1℉, Annual Precipitation: 44.3 inches
- Major Sports Teams: Salem Red Sox (baseball), Richmond Kickers (soccer), Norfolk Admirals (hockey), and Norfolk Tides (baseball). *Virginia is one of the most populated states without a professional sports team.
Top Virginia Schools for Computer Science
- Old Dominion University
- Regent University
- Washington and Lee University
- College of William and Mary
- Virginia Military Institute
- George Mason University
- Hampden-Sydney College
- Roanoke College
- Christopher Newport University
- Eastern Mennonite University
Why Go to College for Computer Science in Virginia?
Computer science graduates in Virginia can pursue a wealth of job opportunities. Prospective students join the almost 175,000 undergraduates in the state's collegiate system. Virginia schools have an average graduation rate of 54.81% and a retention rate of roughly 70%.
Most schools in Virginia offer some level of online schooling for their students. Online computer science degrees in Virginia are ideal for degree-seekers whose work schedule or other factors may not allow for relocation or time in the classroom.
Virginia schools have an average graduation rate of 54.81% and a retention rate of roughly 70%.
Top-ranking schools like Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia offer computer science programs. These institutions reflect six-year graduation rates of 84.2% and 93.8%, respectively. State schools provide in-state tuition for state residents, while private schools, like William & Mary, sometimes maintain flat tuition for both in- and out-of-state students.
Earning an online computer science degree in Virginia provides the freedom to live anywhere in the state while maintaining access to quality education.
Education Statistics for Virginia
With over 71 four-year colleges, Virginia provides plenty of opportunities for degree-seekers to find their ideal online computer science program. Over 40% of students are enrolled in distance learning, making earning a degree even more accessible.
Nearly one quarter of Virginians over the age of 25 have their bachelor’s degree, a higher percentage than the national average. Review the chart below to see how higher education in Virginia compares nationwide.
|Higher Education in Virginia|
|Virginia Data||National Data|
|Number of Four-Year Colleges||71||2,679|
|Number of Two-Year Colleges||40||1,303|
|Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education||41.6%||36.6%|
|Higher Education Appropriations per Full-Time Enrollment, 2020||$6,519||$8,636|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education, 2018||4.7%||5.6%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree, 2019||7.8%||8.5%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree, 2019||22.0%||19.8%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher, 2019||16.8%||12.4%|
Accreditation for Virginia Schools
A college earns accreditation after a group of experts assesses the institution for the quality and accessibility of its courses. Recognizing the difference between national and regional accreditation provides insight.
Schools that are nationally accredited focus on trade and vocational schools, whereas regional accreditation includes most four-year universities. About 85% of schools fall into the latter category. Those who attend a regionally accredited school can transfer their credits to another regionally accredited school if they decide to transfer.
Each of the six regions of accreditation contains its own set of standards that schools in that region must abide by. Virginia's accredited universities are part of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOC).
Students can search the SACSOC database for a comprehensive list of accredited schools in Virginia. Both the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education recognize accredited schools for their adherence to educational quality standards.
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Considerations for a Computer Science Degree in Virginia
Several factors go into considering any college or program. Degree-seekers must first determine which degree level they wish to pursue. Virginia offers options from an associate to a PH.D. degree in computer science. Explore the links below to learn more about computer science degrees at each level.
Almost a quarter of Virginia students are enrolled in distance learning education, meaning prospective students can decide whether to complete their degree entirely online, in person, or as a part of a hybrid model. Check out the distance learning statistics below.
Computer Science Concentration Options
Students can often select a concentration as part of their computer science programs in Virginia. Below are three popular options among the many computer science concentrations available in Virginia.
Artificial intelligence shows rapid growth as a technology subfield, with an increasing demand for employees. Careers in AI network security or AI technology development are available to students with this concentration.
A concentration in business intelligence teaches students the nuances of analyzing complex data. Students will learn how this data can be applied to solve industry problems and facilitate growth.
Most data analytics concentrations are part of graduate-level degrees. However, few are available at the undergraduate level. This concentration gives students hands-on experience with data mining tools, cloud services, and other data-centric software.
Paying for Your Computer Science Degree
Each university offers unique financial aid programs and accepts students' federal aid. Online computer science programs in Virginia may cost less than some in-person computer science programs. The chart below compares average tuition rates in Virginia to the rest of the nation at different degree levels and school types.
In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition
Average out-of-state tuition in Virginia amounts to over twice the in-state tuition cost. Students must live in Virginia for one year to be considered residents and receive in-state tuition.
However, a program called the Academic Common Market (ACM) allows out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition if they seek a degree not offered in their home state. The state must hold membership within the 15 Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) states.
As an SREB state, Virginia awards in-state tuition to any prospective student from another state within the SREB program. Visit the SREB website to search for programs that are eligible for the ACM exchange.
Virginia's Cost of Living
Virginia’s overall cost of living falls right below the national average, but housing in the state exceeds the national average. Students should factor in these expenses when budgeting for their education.
Selecting Your Computer Science Program
Choosing a computer science program in Virginia can be daunting. Prospective students should first consider the reputation and length of the program. Are the professors well-known in the field? What are the program’s graduation and retention rates? Consulting rankings lists might also be a good starting point to kick off the search.
Explore Our Rankings for the Best Computer Science Programs
Careers for Computer Science Graduates in Virginia
The BLS projects that computer science jobs will grow 22% from 2019-2029, which is much faster than average. Virginia ranks number five on U.S. News & World Report's best states for economy list. The state enjoys a low unemployment rate with an increasing number of jobs yearly.
Over 11% of Virginia's workforce is in the technology industry, making Virginia the third-highest tech employer nationwide. High-demand computer science careers in Virginia include software programmers and cybersecurity professionals.
Over 11% of Virginia's workforce is in the technology industry, making Virginia the third-highest tech employer nationwide.
Companies that need software developers also require managers, data scientists, and marketers. A growing number of tech companies are moving their headquarters and employees to Northern Virginia to enjoy a more affordable cost of living.
Select Computer Science Careers in Virginia
Software developers create programs and systems for computers using the latest and most efficient technology. They analyze user needs, problem solve software installation, and help coordinate web design elements.
Salary for software developers in VA: $116,850 | Job Outlook in VA: +30.9%
Computer systems analysts maintain computer system installation and maintenance. They improve the function of computer systems by analyzing engineering, science, and business elements to find creative solutions.
Salary for computer systems analysts in VA: $113,340 | Job Outlook in VA: +15.4%
Web developers will create and deliver websites and applications built from quality code that meets industry standards. They optimize web performance through the tools they build while improving server-side code and processing.
Salary for web developers in VA: $87,210 | Job Outlook in VA: +15.1%
Computer Science Employers in Virginia
University of Virginia
Nearly 30,000 Virginia residents are employed by the University of Virginia. Professionals at the university include computer science professors, researchers, and IT support specialists.
As one of the nation's largest defense contractors, General Dynamics specializes in aerospace and defense. The company works with its clients to streamline processes using leading technology. Headquartered in Falls Church, it employs over 100,000 people.
An independent IT service company, DXC Technology employs over 130,000 people in a variety of tech subfields. Its IT services help clients outsource security and engineering. McLean, VA serves as the base of operations.
Projected Job Growth for Computer Programmers, Computer and Information Systems Managers, and Web Developers
|Virginia Employment Trends|
|2028 Projected Employment||7,420||232,300|
|Projected Job Growth, 2018-28||-2.9%||-7.2%|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers|
|2028 Projected Employment||15,990||461,100|
|Projected Job Growth, 2018-28||+14.4%||+11.3%|
|2028 Projected Employment||5,330||181,400|
|Projected Job Growth, 2018-28||+15.1%||+13%|
- Web Developers: 5,490
- Network and Computer Systems Administrators: 18,060
- Computer Programmers: 6,750
- Database Administrators: 7,580
- Computer Systems Analysts: 23,230
- Information Security Analysts: 16,160
- Software Developers: 77,260
- Computer Hardware Engineers: 2,330
- Computer and Information Research Scientists: 3,430
- Computer and Information Systems Managers: 14,900
Each of the tech subfields employs several thousand people in Virginia alone. Those who pursue a career in management or information research can expect to earn some of the highest wages in the field. Virginia boasts no shortage of careers for computer science majors and ensures a favorable, liveable wage.
Curious About Other Computer Science Jobs? Explore More Here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is computer science a good major in Virginia?
Virginia is the 22nd most popular state for students pursuing a computer science degree. The job market in Virginia is plentiful, making it a good place to begin a career.
What is the best field in computer science in Virginia?
The highest-paying computer science careers in Virginia are research scientists and management roles.
What computer science jobs are there in Virginia?
Virginia, especially Northern Virginia, is witnessing extensive growth in the tech industry. Companies moving their headquarters to the area means more jobs in various computer science fields.
Does Virginia have online computer science programs?
Virginia has over 70 schools, several of which offer online computer science programs.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Virginia
The Virginia Department of Education offers an array of courses to help students learn the skills necessary to excel in their computer science programs. It prepares students for their higher education coursework.
Virginia’s statewide coding advocacy group supports students interested in pursuing a degree in computer science. It provides students with opportunities to get hands-on experience in coding before earning their degree. The organization also helps students find the best schools for their interests.
ACM is a global organization with chapters in countless communities. The program brings together computer science professionals, with students earning their computer science degrees.
The CSTA allows teachers to network with peers and learn more about computer science to improve their classroom lessons. The association also helps promote computer science education to K-12 students.
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