Why choose an online master’s degree in computer science?

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Jan 17, 2024

The United Kingdom is in the midst of a critical digital skills shortage.

According to Forbes’ IT Skills Gap Report 2023, 93% of UK businesses surveyed reported a IT skills gap in the current job market. Judging by how closely computer technology skills are aligned with business growth – artificial intelligence (AI), for example, is hailed for delivering the biggest bottom-line returns and increasing business productivity by 25% – it’s easy to see why it’s a major priority for many business leaders.

Are you a keen problem-solver and innovator who’s interested in how the world around us can be enhanced by information technology? Want to study from the comfort of your home and in a way that suits you? If so, an online, master’s-level computer science degree could be the ideal way to kickstart your future career – and use the digital skills gap to your advantage.

What are the benefits of studying an online MSc Computer Science degree?

Clearly, there is high demand for computer scientists with the skills to harness technology’s potential and use it to develop impactful, creative and robust solutions to problems facing modern businesses.

Studying an MSc Computer Science degree can equip you with the skills, expertise and tools to enhance your competitiveness – and job prospects – in our increasingly tech-driven world. And, with a wide range of engaging, interactive online courses and certifications to choose from, you can find the ideal course to help you break into the industry. Online master’s degrees in computer science can offer a more flexible, accessible, and cost-effective alternative to studying computing and information technology in traditional, on-campus settings.

There are numerous benefits to studying an online computer science degree:

  • cutting-edge, industry-relevant knowledge
  • higher starting salaries than other sectors
  • excellent job prospects in a high-growth field
  • increased competitiveness
  • opportunities to specialise in alignment with career goals
  • transferable skills valued by a huge range of industries.

Online master’s degrees in computer science can offer a more flexible, accessible, and cost-effective alternative to studying computing and information technology in traditional, on-campus settings.

What topics are covered on a distance learning computing course?

Most courses will provide a solid grounding in the fundamental aspects of computer systems and computer sciences, as well as offering opportunities for specialisation.

Common topics covered include:

  • web development
  • artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
  • data science, data analytics and data visualisation
  • statistical models
  • software engineering and software development
  • cybersecurity and network security
  • data structures and database management
  • cloud computing
  • programming languages – including Python

Specific course content differs between programmes. It’s important to check out the variety of modules offered by different online providers to ensure they line up with your career aspirations and individual interests.

What entry requirements are needed to study a master’s in computer science?

Entry requirements for computer science master’s programmes will vary between universities and providers, but you’ll generally need to have a bachelor’s degree/undergraduate degree as a minimum. While some providers require your first degree to be in computer science or a related subject, there are many others designed specifically for individuals from diverse disciplines and professional backgrounds. Relevant industry or work experience, in professional, managerial or supervisory roles, is often accepted in lieu of qualifications.

International students may also need to meet specific IELTS requirements to check that their level of English is sufficient to fully engage with the learning experience.

What factors should be used to identify the right computer science online courses?

Naturally, what content is taught will play a major role in deciding between computer science online courses. However, there are several other factors to bear in mind when finding the ideal degree programme for your needs.

As well as ensuring you meet the necessary entry and admission requirements, you might want to evaluate:

  • University rankings – how do universities compare in national and international league tables for computer science?
  • Study options – are full-time and part-time options available?
  • Learning assessment – will there be exams or coursework to assess your knowledge and skills?
  • Online learning environment – what platform will you be required to use and is it user-friendly and intuitive?
  • Start dates – if there are several starts across the academic year, which one best suits you?
  • Tuition fees – will the degree programme be affordable and is any financial support available?

Overall, ensure your chosen online computer science programme builds towards your individual career goals and aspirations. For example, if you want to work as a big data analyst, cybersecurity specialist, computer programmer, or app developer, find a course that will equip you with knowledge and tools to succeed.

What career paths are available with a computer science master’s degree?

Business leaders are always on the lookout for computer science specialists with the skillsets they need to help achieve organisational goals – from developing state-of-the-art cybersecurity defences to ensuring seamless remote networking capabilities. This, together with the shift towards tech-driven and tech-reliant approaches, means computer science master’s graduates have excellent employability prospects and options.

Job roles that are popular among individuals with computer science expertise and experience include:

  • web developer solutions architect
  • cloud engineer
  • IT project manager
  • artificial intelligence engineer
  • machine learning engineer
  • web designer
  • information systems analyst
  • software developer
  • business intelligence analyst
  • data analyst
  • information security specialist
  • cybersecurity officer.

Some of these roles may require further training or specialisation.

Boost your employability with an online postgraduate computer science degree

Develop and maintain computer systems and solutions that meet real-world needs with the University of Abertay’s online MSc Computer Science programme.

Our Master of Science computing degree is designed for individuals from all academic backgrounds and disciplines – making it ideal for career-changers seeking roles in this exciting, in-demand, fast-paced sector. You’ll develop a solid understanding of computer science fundamentals – from computational thinking to data mining to software development – that translate across any number of industries and applications. Explore key areas such as algorithms and AI, big data, and information security techniques, and study programming languages from beginner’s level and above. Throughout your online learning experience, you’ll be supported by our experts who will help you reach your potential and graduate with the theoretical and practical expertise to capitalise on the current IT skills shortage.