10 Best Masters & Graduate Degrees Online in Technology, Software, Hardware, Computer Field
At the Masters level, many college departments of computer science have just one or two degree designations: Masters in Computer Science or Masters in Computer Engineering. Within those programs however are many areas of concentration, several of which are listed here as separate degrees. It's all a matter of semantics; what matters is the area of expertise you can claim when you complete your masters program.
- Masters in Computer Science: According to Forbes Magazine computer science is the second-best advanced degree for entry level salary. Median pay for these grads is $111,000. A bachelors in computer science still provides great entry level opportunities. A masters provides a shot at managing a project, a product development department, or an information systems department within a corporation.
- Masters in Electronics and Computer Engineering: This is one of the principal degrees now being granted by engineering schools that have merged computer design into their electrical engineering programs. North Carolina State offers a program that covers computer architecture in depth along with the electronics and engineering theories that make the machinery function.
- Masters in Systems and Information Engineering: The University of Virginia has a degree program that applies the principles of systems engineering to IT management as part of a specialization program within their engineering department. As the complexity of networks and information systems grows, the trend is toward additional education beyond a bachelor's degree. The median salary for computer systems software engineers in 2008 was $92,430.
- Masters in Computer Science/Informatics The University of California at Irvine offers this degree with four informatics tracks that can lead to careers in software design, general information management, and two more research oriented options. Informatics is quickly specializing into healthcare, medical research and several other areas where sophisticated data management is vital.
- Masters in Software Engineering: The IEEE Computer Society defines software engineering as "the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, operation, and maintenance of software, and the study of these approaches; that is, the application of engineering to software." It's a systematized approach to software development, which it turn opens the way to using software programs as systems development tools.
- Masters in Network Engineering: Network architects and engineers perform network modeling, analysis, and planning, which often require both hardware and software solutions. It also requires a lot of math, and application of systems engineering principles. The University of Southern California Engineering Department offers this degree on campus and online.
- Masters in Systems Management: A degree in this field will lead to a career in network or database administration and management. Systems administrators are responsible for maintaining system efficiency and to ensure that all components are going to mesh properly. The median salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was about $73,000 in the commercial sector.
- Masters in Information Systems Security: James Madison University has an online Masters in Information Security program that has been in existence since 1999. The school is in Virginia and half of the enrolled students in the program are government employees. Cyber security is one of the fastest growing job opportunities in the country.
- Masters in Bioinformatics: This field requires substantial understanding of medical research or pharmaceutical research as well as the management of data. The University of California at San Diego has a course description that says, in part:"The course focuses on algorithmic aspects of modern bioinformatics and covers the following topics: computational gene hunting, sequencing, DNA arrays...genome rearrangements, molecular evolution, computational proteomics, and others."
- Masters in Enterprise Information Management: This degree and others with similar titles teach the business of managing business information. The University of Oregon looks on it as a form of applied science within their graduate MIS program. Enterprise information management is a step up from simply managing data flow and supervising access to a closed intranet. With the role that CRM software plays in business today, enterprise information flow can be something of a science.