With your BSc in Computer Science completed you have a ton of technical skills (ranging from coding to an in-depth understanding of computer architecture) to add to your resume. But post-graduate education looms and you’re tossing around various options, including doing an MCA (Master of computer applications).
An MCA builds on what you learned in your BSc, with fields of study including computational theory, algorithm design, and a host of mathematical subjects. Knowing that, you’re asking yourself “Can I do MCA after BSc Computer Science?” Let’s answer that question.
Eligibility for MCA After BSc Computer Science
The question of eligibility inevitably comes up when applying to study for an MCA, with three core areas you need to consider:
- The minimum requirements
- Entrance exams and admissions processes
- Your performance in your BSc in Computer Science
Starting with the basics, this is what you need to apply for to study for your MCA:
- A Bachelor’s degree in a relevant computing subject (like computer science or computer applications.)
- Some institutions accept equivalent courses and external courses as evidence of your understanding of computers
- If you’re an international student, you’ll likely need to pass an English proficiency test
- IELTS and TOEFL are the most popular of these tests, though some universities require a passing grade in a PTE test.
- Evidence that you have the necessary financial resources to cover the cost of your MCA
- Costs vary but can be as much as $40,000 for a one or two-year course.
Entrance Exams and Admission Processes
Some universities require you to take entrance exams, which can fall into the following categories:
- National Level – You may have to take a national-level exam (such as India’s NIMCET) to demonstrate your basic computing ability.
- State-Level – Most American universities don’t require state-level entrance exams, though some international universities do. For instance, India has several potential exams you may need to take, including the previously-mentioned NIMCET, the WBJECA, and the MAH MCA CET. All measure your computing competence, with most also requiring you to have completed your BSc in Computer Science before you can take the exam.
- University-Specific – Many colleges, at least in the United States, require students to have passing grades in either the ACT or SATs, both of which you take at the high school level. Some colleges have also started accepting the CLT, which is a new test that positions itself as an alternative to the ACT or SAT. The good news is that you’ll have taken these tests already (assuming you study in the U.S.), so you don’t have to take them again to study for your MCA.
Your Performance Matters
How well you do in your computer science degree matters, as universities have limited intakes and will always favor the highest-performing students (mitigating circumstances notwithstanding). For example, many Indian universities that offer MCAs ask students to achieve at least a 50% or 60% CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) across all modules before considering the student for their programs.
Benefits of Pursuing MCA After BSc Computer Science
Now you know the answer to “Can I do MCA after BSc Computer Science,” is that you can (assuming you meet all other criteria), you’re likely asking yourself if it’s worth it. These three core benefits make pursuing an MCA a great use of your time:
- Enhanced Knowledge and Skills – If your BSc in Computer Science is like the foundation that you lay before building a house, an MCA is the house itself. You’ll be building up the basic skills you’ve developed, which includes getting to grips with more advanced programming languages and learning the intricacies of software development. Those who are more interested in the hardware side of things can dig into the specifics of networking.
- Improved Career Prospects – Your career prospects enjoy a decent bump if you have an MCA, with Pay Scale noting the average base salary of an MCA graduate in the United States to be $118,000 per year. That’s about $15,000 more per year than the $103,719 salary Indeed says a computer scientist earns. Add in the prospect of assuming higher (or more senior) roles in a company and the increased opportunities for specialization that come with post-graduate studies and your career prospects look good.
- Networking Opportunities – An MCA lets you delve deeper into the computing industry, exposing you to industry trends courtesy of working with people who are already embedded within the field. Your interactions with existing professionals work wonders for networking, giving you access to connections that could enhance your future career. Plus, you open the door to internships with more prestigious companies, in addition to participating in study projects that look attractive on a resume.
Career Prospects after MCA
After you’ve completed your MCA, the path ahead of you branches out, opening up the possibilities of entering the workforce or continuing your studies.
Job Roles and Positions
If you want to jump straight into the workforce once you have your MCA, there are several roles that will welcome you with open arms:
- Software Developer/Engineer – Equipped with the advanced programming skills an MCA provides, you’re in a great position to take a junior software development role that can quickly evolve into a senior position.
- Systems Analyst – Organization is the name of the game when you’re a systems analyst. These professionals focus on how existing computer systems are organized, coming up with ways to streamline IT operations to get companies operating more efficiently.
- Database Administrator – Almost any software (or website) you care to mention has databases running behind the scenes. Database administrators organize these virtual “filing systems,” which can cover everything from basic login details for websites to complex financial information for major companies.
- Network Engineer – Even the most basic office has a computer network (taking in desktops, laptops, printers, servers, and more) that requires management. A Network engineer provides that management, with a sprinkling of systems analysis that may help with the implementation of new networks.
- IT Consultant – If you don’t want to be tied down to one company, you can take your talents on the road to serve as an IT consultant for companies that don’t have in-house IT teams. You’ll be a “Jack of all trades” in this role, though many consultants choose to specialize in either the hardware or software sides.
Industries and Sectors
Moving away from specific roles, the skills you earn through an MCA makes you desirable in a host of industries and sectors:
- IT and Software Companies – The obvious choice for an MCA graduate, IT and software focus on hardware and software respectively. It’s here where you’ll find the software development and networking roles, though whether you work for an agency, as a solo consultant, or in-house for a business is up to you.
- Government Organizations – In addition to the standard software and networking needs that government agencies face (like most workplaces), cybersecurity is critical in this field. According to Security Intelligence, 106 government or state agencies faced ransomware attacks in 2022, marking nearly 30 more attacks than they faced the year prior. You may be able to turn your knowledge to thwarting this rising tide of cyber-threats, though there are many less security-focused roles available in government organizations.
- Educational Institutions – The very institutions from which you earn your MCA have need of the skills they teach. You’ll know this yourself from working first-hand with the complex networks of computing hardware the average university or school has. Throw software into the mix and your expertise can help educational institutions save money and provide better services to students.
- E-Commerce and Startups – Entrepreneurs with big ideas need technical people to help them build the foundations of their businesses, meaning MCAs are always in demand at startups. The same applies to e-commerce companies, which make heavy use of databases to store customer and financial details.
Further Education and Research Opportunities
You’ve already taken a big step into further education by completing an MCA (which is a post-graduate course), so you’re in the perfect place to take another step. Choosing to work on getting your doctorate in computer science requires a large time commitment, with most programs taking between four and five years, but it allows for more independent study and research. The financial benefits may also be attractive, with Salary.com pointing to an average base salary of $120,884 (before bonuses and benefits) for those who take their studies to the Ph.D. level.
Top MCA Colleges and Universities
Drawing from data provided by College Rank, the following are the top three colleges for those interested in an MCA:
- The University of Washington – A 2.5-year course that is based in the college’s Seattle campus, the University of Washington’s MCA is a part-time program that accepts about 60% of the 120 applicants it receives each year.
- University of California-Berkeley (UCB) – UCB’s program is a tough one to get into, with students needing to achieve a minimum 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) on top of having three letters of recommendation. But once you’re in, you’ll join a small group of students focused on research into AI, database management, and cybersecurity, among other areas.
- University of Illinois – Another course that has stringent entry requirements, the University of Illinois’s MCA program requires you to have a 3.2 GPA in your BSc studies to apply. It’s also great for those who wish to specialize, as you get a choice of 11 study areas to focus on for your thesis.
Pursuing an MCA after completing your BSc in Computer Science allows you to build up from your foundational knowledge. Your career prospects open up, meaning you’ll spend less time “working through the ranks” than you would if you enter the workforce without an MCA. Plus, the data shows that those with MCAs earn an average of about $15,000 per year more than those with a BSc in Computer Science.
If you’re pondering the question, “Can I do MCA after BSc Computer Science,” the answer comes down to what you hope to achieve in your career. Those interested in positions of seniority, higher pay scales, and the ability to specialize in specific research areas may find an MCA attractive.
Soon, we will be launching four new Degrees for AY24-25 at OPIT – Open Institute of Technology
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Product Definition process that has shaped these upcoming programs.
🚀 Phase 1: Discovery (Late May – End of July)
Our journey began with intensive brainstorming sessions with OPIT’s Academic Board (Francesco Profumo, Lorenzo Livi, Alexiei Dingli, Andrea Pescino, Rosario Maccarrone) . We also conducted 50+ interviews with tech and digital entrepreneurs (both from startups and established firms), academics and students. Finally, we deep-dived into the “Future of Jobs 2023” report by the World Economic Forum and other valuable research.
🔍 Phase 2: Selection – Crafting Our Roadmap (July – August)
Our focus? Introducing new degrees addressing critical workforce shortages and upskilling/reskilling needs for the next 5-10 years, promising significant societal impact and a broad market reach.
Our decision? To channel our energies on full BScs and MScs, and steer away from shorter courses or corporate-focused offerings. This aligns perfectly with our core mission.
💡 Focus Areas Unveiled!
We’re thrilled to concentrate on pivotal fields like:
- Advanced AI
- Digital Business
- Metaverse & Gaming
- Cloud Computing (less “glamorous”, but market demand is undeniable).
🎓 Phase 3: Definition – Shaping the Degrees (August – November)
With an expert in each of the above fields, and with the strong collaboration of our Academic Director, Prof. Lorenzo Livi , we embarked on a rigorous “drill-down process”. Our goal? To meld modern theoretical knowledge with cutting-edge competencies and skills. This phase included interviewing over 60+ top academics, industry professionals, and students and get valuable, program-specific, insights from our Marketing department.
🌟 Phase 4: Accreditation and Launch – The Final Stretch
We’re currently in the accreditation process, gearing up for the launch. The focus is now shifting towards marketing, working closely with Greta Maiocchi and her Marketing and Admissions team. Together, we’re translating our new academic offering into a compelling value proposition for the market.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Far from being a temporary educational measure that came into its own during the pandemic, online education is providing students from all over the world with new ways to learn. That’s proven by statistics from Oxford Learning College, which point out that over 100 million students are now enrolled in some form of online course.
The demand for these types of courses clearly exists.
In fact, the same organization indicates that educational facilities that introduce online learning see a 42% increase in income – on average – suggesting that the demand is there.
Enter the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT).
Delivering three online courses – a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and two Master’s degrees – with more to come, OPIT is positioning itself as a leader in the online education space. But why is that? After all, many institutions are making the jump to e-learning, so what separates OPIT from the pack?
Here, you’ll discover the answers as you delve into the five reasons why you should trust OPIT for your online education.
Reason 1 – A Practical Approach
OPIT focuses on computer science education – a field in which theory often dominates the educational landscape. The organization’s Rector, Professor Francesco Profumo, makes this clear in a press release from June 2023. He points to a misalignment between what educators are teaching computer science students and what the labor market actually needs from those students as a key problem.
“The starting point is the awareness of the misalignment,” he says when talking about how OPIT structures its online courses. “That so-called mismatch is generated by too much theory and too little practical approach.” In other words, students in many classes spend far too much time learning the “hows” and “whys” behind computerized systems without actually getting their hands dirty with real work that gives them practical experience in using those systems.
OPIT takes a different approach.
It has developed a didactic approach that focuses far more on the practical element than other courses. That approach is delivered through a combination of classroom sessions – such as live lessons and masterclasses – and practical work offered through quizzes and exercises that mimic real-world situations.
An OPIT student doesn’t simply learn how computers work. They put their skills into practice through direct programming and application, equipping them with skills that are extremely attractive to major employers in the tech field and beyond.
Reason 2 – Flexibility Combined With Support
Flexibility in how you study is one of the main benefits of any online course.
You control when you learn and how you do it, creating an environment that’s beneficial to your education rather than being forced into a classroom setting with which you may not feel comfortable. This is hardly new ground. Any online educational platform can claim that it offers “flexibility” simply because it provides courses via the web.
Where OPIT differs is that it combines that flexibility with unparalleled support bolstered by the experiences of teachers employed from all over the world. The founder and director of OPIT, Riccardo Ocleppo, sheds more light on this difference in approach when he says, “We believe that education, even if it takes place physically at a distance, must guarantee closeness on all other aspects.” That closeness starts with the support offered to students throughout their entire study period.
Tutors are accessible to students at all times. Plus, every participant benefits from weekly professor interactions, ensuring they aren’t left feeling stuck on an educational “island” and have to rely solely on themselves for their education. OPIT further counters the potential isolation that comes with online learning with a Student Support team to guide students through any difficulties they may have with their courses.
In this focus on support, OPIT showcases one of its main differences from other online platforms.
You don’t simply receive course material before being told to “get on with it.” You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace while also having a support structure that serves as a foundation for that learning.
Reason 3 – OPIT Can Adapt to Change Quickly
The field of computer science is constantly evolving.
In the 2020s alone, we’ve seen the rise of generative AI – spurred on by the explosive success of services like ChatGPT – and how those new technologies have changed the way that people use computers.
Riccardo Ocleppo has seen the impact that these constant evolutions have had on students. Before founding OPIT, he was an entrepreneur who received first-hand experience of the fact that many traditional educational institutions struggle to adapt to change.
“Traditional educational institutions are very slow to adapt to this wave of new technologies and trends within the educational sector,” he says. He points to computer science as a particular issue, highlighting the example of a board in Italy of which he is a member. That board – packed with some of the country’s most prestigious tech universities – spent three years eventually deciding to add just two modules on new and emerging technologies to their study programs.
That left Ocleppo feeling frustrated.
When he founded OPIT, he did so intending to make it an adaptable institution in which courses were informed by what the industry needs. Every member of its faculty is not only a superb teacher but also somebody with experience working in industry. Speaking of industry, OPIT collaborates with major companies in the tech field to ensure its courses deliver the skills that those organizations expect from new candidates.
This confronts frustration on both sides. For companies, an OPIT graduate is one for which they don’t need to bridge a “skill gap” between what they’ve learned and what the company needs. For you, as a student, it means that you’re developing skills that make you a more desirable prospect once you have your degree.
Reason 4 – OPIT Delivers Tier One Education
Despite their popularity, online courses can still carry a stigma of not being “legitimate” in the face of more traditional degrees. Ocleppo is acutely aware of this fact, which is why he’s quick to point out that OPIT always aims to deliver a Tier One education in the computer science field.
“That means putting together the best professors who create superb learning material, all brought together with a teaching methodology that leverages the advancements made in online teaching,” he says.
OPIT’s degrees are all accredited by the European Union to support this approach, ensuring they carry as much weight as any other European degree. It’s accredited by both the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF), with all of its courses having full legal value throughout Europe.
It’s also here where we see OPIT’s approach to practicality come into play via its course structuring.
Take its Bachelor’s degree in computer science as an example.
Yes, that course starts with a focus on theoretical and foundational knowledge. Building a computer and understanding how the device processes instructions is vital information from a programming perspective. But once those foundations are in place, OPIT delivers on its promises of covering the most current topics in the field.
Machine learning, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity – all valuable to employers – are taught at the undergraduate level. Students benefit from a broader approach to computer science than most institutions are capable of, rather than bogging them down in theory that serves little practical purpose.
Reason 5 – The Learning Experience
Let’s wrap up by honing in on what it’s actually like for students to learn with OPIT.
After all, as Ocleppo points out, one of the main challenges with online education is that students rarely have defined checkpoints to follow. They can start feeling lost in the process, confronted with a metaphorical ocean of information they need to learn, all in service of one big exam at the end.
Alternatively, some students may feel the temptation to not work through the materials thoroughly, focusing instead on passing a final exam. The result is that those students may pass, but they do so without a full grasp of what they’ve learned – a nightmare for employers who already have skill gaps to handle.
OPIT confronts both challenges by focusing on a continuous learning methodology. Assessments – primarily practical – take place throughout the course, serving as much-needed checkpoints for evaluating progress. When combined with the previously mentioned support that OPIT offers, this approach has led to courses that are created from scratch in service of the student’s actual needs.
Choose OPIT for Your Computer Science Education
At OPIT, the focus lies as much on helping students to achieve their dream careers as it does on teaching them. All courses are built collaboratively. With a dedicated faculty combined with major industry players, such as Google and Microsoft, it delivers materials that bridge the skill gap seen in the computer science field today.
There’s also more to come.
Beyond the three degrees OPIT offers, the institution plans to add more. Game development, data science, and cloud computing, to name a few, will receive dedicated degrees in the coming months, accentuating OPIT’s dedication to adapting to the continuous evolution of the computer science industry. Discover OPIT today – your journey into computing starts with the best online education institution available.