Computer Science and IT studies remain some of the most popular study choices in the world. But, in light of the current pandemic and limited international mobility, is studying an online Masters in Computer Science a good idea? And, if it’s a good idea, how do you know which online degrees are good enough?
In the following article, we’ll explore the advantages and potential pitfalls of studying a Master’s in Computer Science online. We’ll also cover what you need to get started on your online programme and make some recommendations of accredited online Computer Science Masters you should consider applying for.
So, are online Masters in Computer Science worth your time and money? Here are the main points you should take into consideration before deciding:
1. Cheaper study costs
Online Masters in Computer Science can be significantly cheaper compared to on-campus ones. On-campus graduate Computer Science programmes average ar around 20,000 EUR/year and can reach as high as 37,000 EUR/year depending on the university providing them and the type of programme. While online Computer Science Masters can be as high as on-campus ones, others can cost half of that or even one third.
In short, an online Masters in Computer Science can range between 6000 EUR/year to 30,000 EUR/ year, but the average is around 10,000 to 15,000 EUR/year.
Here is a list of a few online Masters in Computer Science that cost nothing for students coming from the European Union. Non-EU students will still have to pay for their online studies at these programmes:
- M.Sc. in Software Engineering – Blekinge Institute of Technology
- M.Sc. in Open eGovernment – Stockholm University
- M.Eng. in Full Stack Software Development – JAMK University of Applied Sciences
- M.Sc. in Decision Analysis and Data Science – Stockholm University
- M.Sc. in Geographical Information Systems – Lund University
- M.Sc. in Information Systems – Linnaeus University
- M.Sc. in Social Media and Web Technologies – Linnaeus University
2. Zero travel costs
Obviously, you won’t have to pay anything for travelling to your university or on-campus accommodation. However, if you choose a blended programme mixing on-campus with online studies, you may have to do some regular travelling to the university location, but most likely not during a pandemic.
3. Technology can fill in for the lack of direct class interaction
There are downsides to studying online. You will miss the direct contact with fellow students and teachers and the class interaction. But depending on the teaching style and tools, technology can compensate a lot for this. And the only alternative at this time is doing nothing.
4. Making the best out of a bad (global) situation
What better time to spend your time at home productively by advancing very lucrative skills? By studying online, you will make the best out of a tough situation, and coming out on top, ready for a well-paid job.
5. An online degree can be as strong as a regular one
Many students worry that an online degree is not equally regarded by employers compared to a regular on-campus one. But especially in more recent years, online studies have become more credible and professional, and some of the most famous universities in the world offer online Computer Science Masters.
All you need to do to make sure your diploma will be recognized is check if the university you are applying for had proper accreditation, recognized by the government of the country. If you are studying in Europe, you should also check if the accreditation is recognized in the EU, as this will offer you the opportunity to apply to a job anywhere in the European Union.
Especially during COVID times, employers won’t dismiss your online diploma – after all, most people in the world right now are studying and working online. In fact, committing and finishing your studies during these times is proof of determination and self-discipline. And employers love those.
6. The IT industry relies a lot on your skills and less on your diploma
Yes, the IT industry relies heavily on results. So, a key component in your career will be you actual knowledge and skills, not as much a diploma. You could argue that you can learn the skills you need and still get a good job, without having to graduate. Sure, it may be a bit tougher, but doable.
7. Your salary does depend on your diploma
While employers do look at skills first when it comes to hiring, the salary they will pay you does depend on the academic level you’ve graduated. You will clearly earn well in an IT career, but you will earn more with an actual degree, weather studied on campus or online. This applies especially when it comes to more experienced roles in a Computer Science career. While you can make do just fine without a degree or with online a Bachelor’s, you may want to think ahead and make a plan for graduating a Master’s degree as well.
8. An online degree is more time-effective
Some online programmes are more time effective because you can start them as fast as you decide. You don’t have to wait for the start of the academic year to begin your classes. Online Masters may have rolling admissions meaning you can apply anytime and classes start as soon as the required number of students is met. But not always!
There are also online Masters in Computer Science that have strict application deadlines you should monitor so you don’t miss the start date. Either way, once you start your studies, your programme will be more efficient and flexible, because you will be taking it from home.
Computer Science specializations you can study online
Computer Science studies include a broad range of courses that offer a wide range of potential specializations, especially at the Master’s level. If you want to study more specialized Masters in Computer Science, you can find plenty of options you can study online. Here is just a shortlist of them:
- Online Masters in Artificial Intelligence
- Online Masters in Health Informatics
- Online Masters in Cyber Security
- Online Masters in Software Engineering
- Online Masters in Web Technologies
Top online Masters in Computer Science to consider studying in 2021
- M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence – University of Liverpool online
- M.Sc. in Digital Transformation – University of Hull
- M.Sc. in Computer Science – IUBH University of Applied Sciences Online
- M.Sc. in Geographical Information Science – University of Leeds
- M.Sc. in Computer Science – University of Bath Online
- M.Sc. in Data Analytics and Finance – Arden University
- M.Sc. in Management Information Systems – The University of Arizona
- M.Sc. in Data Analytics – University of Portsmouth Online
- M.Sc. in Cyber Studies and Investigations – Charles Sturt University
- M.Sc. in Computer Science – Georgia Institute of Technology
Online short courses in Computer Science
If the financial or time commitment is too much, and you want to learn something very specific and specialized in Computer Science you can also consider online short courses. Here are just a few Computer Science short course providers:
- EIT Digital Summer School
- Engineering Institute of Technology
- International Career Institute (ICI) - UK
Start studying your online Computer Science degree
This should cover the essentials you need to start studying your online Computer Science Master’s. So even if 2021 will still be a challenging year, there should be no excuse for postponing your education dreams. Either way, we’ve got your back with our full lists of online degrees and on-campus international Masters.