You’d be hard-pressed to find a more rapidly evolving industry than computer science today. It seems like new solutions and applications in the field pop up every day, and the market has never been hungrier for talent.
If you’re interested in computer science, you’re in luck. This industry has some of the best-paid jobs worldwide and is full of exciting developments and novel challenges. Of course, many people are competing for those work positions, which is why you must do everything in your power to gain an advantage.
With an online masters computer science program, you can get the edge over other candidates in the market. Completing such a program will provide you with cutting-edge knowledge and equip you with the most relevant skills. In other words, an online MSc computer science program may help you start a career in the field.
But choosing the best online masters computer science program may be more complex than it seems. Numerous institutions offer this type of education, so finding the top options among the crowd could be a challenge.
This article will serve as your complete guide to online masters computer science programs. We’ll explain what to look for, recommend some of the leading options, tell you how to apply, and outline what awaits once you graduate.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Masters in Computer Science Program
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t enroll in a master’s program without closely examining your options. Be sure to pay attention to specific criteria when considering where you’ll get your online MSc computer science degree:
- Accreditation: You’ll want to graduate at an accredited institution with degrees that are recognized worldwide. Other universities and employers won’t consider unaccredited degrees particularly valuable or trustworthy. Plus, accreditation serves as proof that an educational institution meets certain international standards.
- Curriculum and specializations: Your choice of an online masters computer science program will depend on the classes provided. The curriculum should be appropriate for your purposes and goals. And since computer science is a broad field, you’ll want to ensure the program has the right specialization options for you.
- Faculty expertise: A master’s program will often be only as efficient as the people teaching it. Faculty members at your program of choice should, of course, be experts. They should also have extensive experience to provide practical guidance and show you how computer science is applied in real-life.
- Program format and flexibility: Online programs have the major advantage of not requiring you to physically attend classes. This means that a certain level of flexibility is expected, both in terms of day-to-day lectures and deadlines. The flexibility principle often extends to the curriculum itself, with many programs offering a large number of electives.
- Tuition fees and financial aid: Considering the tuition price is always worthwhile. Like everything else in the market, master’s programs can be under- or overpriced. You should take care that you’re getting the right value for a reasonable sum. Plus, there are usually financial aid options available to help soften the financial impact.
- Student support services: Lastly, the best online masters computer science programs will offer extensive support to students. This can represent a massive benefit when you need counseling or extra guidance. Even better, your program might include career support, nurturing you from student to graduate to employee.
Top Online Masters in Computer Science Programs
1. International University of Applied Sciences (IU) – Master’s in Computer Science
This program offers practical education in computer science. Focusing mostly on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and data science, it lasts between two and four years, depending on whether you study full or part-time.
- Dual degree option available
- Accredited according to European standards
- Entirely flexible
To enter this program, you’ll need to provide a computer science-focused undergraduate degree from a recognized institution. English proficiency will also be mandatory. The monthly tuition fee is €278 for full-time, €209 for part-time (three years), and €165 for part-time (four years) students.
2. University of Essex – MSc Computer Science
This two-year program by the University of Essex starts by examining the theoretical fundamentals. Then, it allows you to choose a specific field of focus and study it in detail through lectures and practical applications.
- BCS accreditation
- Tuition fee covers learning tools like programming languages
- Suitable for students from a different background
You can apply for this program with an undergraduate degree or if you’ve worked in a relevant field for a minimum of three years. English language qualification is acceptable from IELTS or a similar school. If lacking such qualifications, the University of Essex also lets you take a free online test. The tuition fees are £12,167 for UK and £12,428 for international students with possibilities of scholarships and discounts.
3. MIA Digital University – Master in Computer Science – Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence
Based in Barcelona, Spain, the MIA Digital University offers a computer science program that tackles some of the most requested profiles in the industry. You’ll learn about the latest developments in cybersecurity, data analytics, and AI, as well as how to apply them in practice. The program lasts for one year.
- Dual degree with Universidad a Distancia de Madrid (Udima)
- Student internships offered
- Heavily project-based
Application for this program will require a previous degree, which doesn’t have to be from the computer science field. You’ll also need to submit a resume or CV and a valid ID. The price of the program is €3,900, with scholarships available.
4. BTH Sweden – Master’s Program in Software Engineering
Somewhat more specific than other programs on the list, this MSc focuses on software engineering. However, the program also leans heavily into data science, machine learning, and AI. For that reason, you may view it as a computer science program with an emphasis on software engineering. The program is two years long.
- Mixed-time structure
- Work in groups and individually
- Based on leading software engineering research
To apply for this program, you’ll need a BSc degree in Engineering with a minimum 15-credit degree project. Professional experience of no less than two years in software development is also required, preferably with programming involved. The program doesn’t have a tuition fee for UK students, while others will need to pay SEK 60,000 for each semester.
How to Apply for an Online Masters in Computer Science Program
Precisely how you apply for an online masters computer science program will depend on the institution. There’s no universal application process, but you can keep certain guidelines in mind.
First, get detailed information about the requirements. Most master’s programs will require previous education in the field, although some may accept provable work experience instead of a degree.
Certain programs will also ask for a letter of recommendation and statement of purpose. But even if these documents aren’t requested, including them in your application will usually be a plus. Also, online MSc computer science programs are commonly held in English, so you’ll need a level of language proficiency and the appropriate certification.
Learning all of the relevant information in time and getting your documents in order will be pivotal. The last thing you’d want to do is miss out on a program by submitting an incomplete application. Additionally, you’ll have the greatest chances of success if you apply for a program with requirements you’re certain you’ll meet.
Every program will have specified deadlines and dates for application, interviews, covering the fees, and enrollment. Naturally, missing those dates would likely result in you not being accepted, so do your best to stay on track.
Career Prospects for Graduates of Online Masters in Computer Science Programs
Computer science graduates have plenty of options in the job market. Experts in this field are needed in various industries, including finance, IT, healthcare, and commerce.
Depending on your specialization, you could work in programming, database management, cybersecurity, robotics, network engineering, etc. The average base yearly salary for a computer science MSc graduate is €56,000. Of course, this will vary widely depending on your field of expertise, industry, and experience.
Your online masters computer science degree will also allow you to continue your education. You can move forward to different specializations, either in a particular field or interdisciplinary. In addition, an MSc may make you eligible for a PhD program, if you’re interested in further academic progress.
Complete an Online MSc Computer Science Program and Start a Rewarding Career
Choosing an online MSc computer science program that fits your goals can be an immensely valuable career and educational move. This degree will give you an advantage in the job market and help you hone your professional skills. Plus, enrolling in a postgraduate program will create networking opportunities that may be of great importance.
If getting an MSc in computer science sounds enticing, there’s no reason not to start working on it right now. Research the programs that suit your needs and don’t hesitate to apply. You’ll be making a worthwhile step in the right direction.
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.