Applied Computing Degrees: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Class Info

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What kind of job can you get with an associate's or bachelor's degree in applied computing? Find out about degree program requirements, online options and course information and applied computing training programs.
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Study Applied Computing: Degrees at a Glance

Applied computing is the study of how information technology and information systems are used in businesses and industries. Applied computing positions typically teach you how to use hardware, software and the Internet to help keep businesses and organizations running smoothly. Careers in system design, Web development or application development are all possible with a degree in this discipline.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for computer support specialists and computer and information systems managers was estimated to increase an average 18% from 2010-2020. Positions for computer systems analysts, information security analysts, web developers and computer network architects were estimated to grow by 22% during this decade, while the projection for database administrators was 31%. As for software developers, a 30% growth rate was expected.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals who want to work in entry-level applied computing and IT service positions People interested in various applied computing careers in a wide variety of industries
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean salary) - Computer support specialist ($52,000)* - Computer systems analyst ($82,000)*
- Information security analyst, web developer or computer network architect ($82,000)*
- Computer or information systems manager ($126,000)*
- Database administrator ($77,000)*
- Systems software developer ($100,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years, full-time 4-5 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 60-70 credit hours - About 110-183 credit hours
- Internship or co-op some programs
- Capstone project some programs
Prerequisites High school diploma or GED - High school diploma or GED
-SAT/ACT scores
- Prerequisite coursework some programs
Online Availability Hybrid options Hybrid options

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate's Degree in Applied Computing

Although most applied computing careers require at least a bachelor's degree, you may qualify for some entry-level job positions with an associate's degree. Degrees are usually awarded as an Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Business or Associate of Applied Science. Programs can also fall under similar titles, such as computer technology. In some programs, you can choose to concentrate on certain aspects of applied computing, such as applications development or networking.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Few requirements to gain admission into an applied computing associate's program
  • Credits may transfer to a relevant bachelor's program
  • If you get an entry-level position, some employers may accept years of experience rather than a bachelor's degree for higher-level jobs

Cons

  • More career options are available with a bachelor's degree
  • Not all credits may transfer to a bachelor's program
  • Internships that grant professional experience aren't often required

Courses and Requirements

Your curriculum may teach you about troubleshooting various computer-related problems as well as provide you with in-depth study on 1 or more areas of applied computing. Classes often involve classroom lectures and hands-on training. Some common topics you may study include:

  • Programming
  • Databases
  • Networking
  • Statistics

Online Degree Options

Some schools offer associate's programs in this field online in order to meet the scheduling needs of a wider range of students. Additionally, programs that are based on campus may offer some classes online. As with campus-based programs, program titles can vary, but still cover similar topics. When researching programs, check out the core coursework and/or the concentrations and electives offered to ensure the specific skills you want to learn are taught.

Getting Ahead With This Degree

While you're earning your degree, there are measures that you can take to get ahead when you eventually apply for jobs. One option is to acquire certification. A number of IT-related certifications are available at varying levels. CompTIA certifies individuals in a variety of vendor-neutral areas, such as networking, operating systems and security. If you're interested in working with a certain company, manufacturer- specific certifications are also available.

Another option is to acquire computer-related employment or apply for internships. While a few programs may require you to complete an internship, most associate-level programs don't, and having real-world experience can provide you with an edge over the competition.

Alternative Degrees

If you're interested in a more specific computer-related program that still provides useful services to businesses, consider earning an associate's degree in website development. These programs teach you programming languages and basic digital design techniques in order to construct websites. The BLS projected positive job prospects for website developers during 2010-2020 as more companies venture into e-commerce. Look for programs that teach a broad range of programming languages and digital media programs; the BLS noted that employers look for candidates with expertise in these areas.

Bachelor's Degrees in Applied Computing

Bachelor's programs in applied computing are usually offered as either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts. The learning concepts are similar to those taught in an associate's program in applied computing, but they offer more in-depth information. Additionally, concentrations and electives are usually required so that you may specialize in a specific area of this broad field. Many applied computing bachelor's degree programs give you hands-on computing experience that may not only prove useful, but necessary, when applying for jobs.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • More job opportunities available with a bachelor's degree
  • Coursework is very hands-on
  • Most jobs in the field have positive job outlooks

Cons

  • Technical coursework can be difficult
  • Advanced positions in the field may require a master's degree
  • Your job search may be nationwide with a possibility of relocation

Courses and Requirements

The coursework can vary depending on a program's area of specialization and the electives that you choose to take. Concentration areas may include digital media, information security or systems analysis; possible electives may cover website development, systems design, network security, software engineering, computer graphics and much more. Your core coursework may feature topics such as:

  • Computer science fundamentals
  • Operating systems
  • Data structures
  • Databases
  • Programming languages
  • Discrete structures

Some programs require you to complete an internship, co-op or senior project. The purpose of these requirements is to provide you with hands-on training in a professional setting or enable you to deal with potential problems once you enter the workforce.

Online Degree Options

It may be easier to find online programs in similar fields, such as computer science, than in applied computing since it's a more widely offered program. However, some applied computing programs give you a hybrid option by offering specific courses online. Check the school's course schedule to find out if your chosen program has online class options.

Stand Out With This Degree

There are a number of ways that you can stand out in the job market with a bachelor's degree in applied computing. A few suggestions are:

  • Earn 1 or more of the numerous certifications available for computer professionals
  • Join computer-related student organizations for additional learning, networking and experiential opportunities
  • Participate in undergraduate research projects with faculty or graduate students

Alternative Degrees

Computer-related bachelor's degree programs are numerous, but it may be easier to find programs such as computer science or information systems than applied computing. These programs often cover similar topics and may qualify you for similar career options. However, if you have a specific interest in an aspect of the field, such as video game design, software engineering, digital media or e-commerce, you can also find degree programs that focus solely on that subject.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration
      • B.S. - Software Development With No Declared Minor or Concentration
      • B.S. - Software Development: Computer Programming Concentration
      • Bachelor: Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. ECPI University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor's - Network Security
      • Bachelor's - Mechatronics
      • Software Development - Bachelor's
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BSIT - Information Management
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BSIT: Network Admin
      • BS in Information Technology/Multiplatform Software Development
      • BS in Cybersecurity
  • Campus and Online Programs
    4. South University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Information Technology (BS)
  • Online Programs Available
    5. City University of Seattle

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. Applied Computing
      • B.S. Information Systems
      • B.S. Information Technology
      • B.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
  • Online Programs Available
    6. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
      • Bachelor: IT - Network Admin
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Campus and Online Programs
    8. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Mobile Development
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Computer Programming
      • B.S. in Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems
      • Bachelor of Science in Applied Business Information Systems
      • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Business Admin. - Business Intelligence
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Argosy University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Information Technology (BS)

Featured Schools

Herzing University

  • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
  • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
  • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration

What is your highest level of education?

ECPI University

  • Bachelor's - Network Security
  • Bachelor's - Mechatronics
  • Software Development - Bachelor's

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • BSIT - Information Management
  • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology

Which subject are you interested in?

South University

  • Information Technology (BS)

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City University of Seattle

  • B.S. Applied Computing
  • B.S. Information Systems
  • B.S. Information Technology

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American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
  • Bachelor: IT - Network Admin
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology

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Keiser University

  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Mobile Development

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