5 Online Computer Science Degree Specializations

With a growing job market, computer science is a popular major for college students. Computer science majors can enhance their employment potential by choosing a specific computer science specialization. While many of these fields overlap with each other, they allow students to focus on a specific interest area. After graduation, students can use their computer science specialization to attain jobs that match their interests.


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1. Artificial Intelligence

Science fiction films often use artificial intelligence machines to drive along the story line, but in the real world AI is a hot specialization.

Courses about artificial intelligence cover the main principles and techniques. Students may study machine learning, logical reasoning, natural language processing, probabilistic modeling and knowledge representation. Each course is designed to help students learn potential applications for artificial intelligence in fields like text processing and biology.

2. Computer and Network Security

Considering the threat of hacking from individuals and foreign governments, it makes sense that technology companies want specialists in computer and network security.

In this specialty, students may study how networks and network security works. They may learn about secure databases, advanced operating systems and cryptography as they explore this field. Throughout the process, students will work toward creating safety-critical systems that are secure from potential attacks.

3. Human-Computer Interaction

As more products and programs work toward enhancing human-computer interactions, this field will receive a growing focus. Ranging from wall-size computers to smart watches, this specialty focuses on helping students visualize how humans will interact with the technology.

Students must learn how to design user-centered processes and products. As they study these courses, students may take classes on tangible computing, collaborative work, information visualization, real-world computing and artificial intelligence.

4. Software Theory

Software theory combines many branches of computer science to show students how to write secure code. Students are expected to learn programming languages and software applications that they will use in the real world. Unlike theoretical computer science courses, software theory focuses on how computer science applies to databases, programming languages and compilers.

5. Systems

While programming a mobile application may receive the media’s attention, someone has to create the devices that run these programs. In a systems specialization, students learn tasks like building an operating system or a router. By specializing in systems, students will learn hard-programming skills to develop new security techniques and a next-generation Internet. Due to the design of courses on systems, students will easily be able to take this specialization in an online format.

Computer science is a growing industry that offers some of the top salaries available for entry-level workers. Due to this, many schools are focusing on ways to improve their computer science departments. With the advanced technology available today, undergraduate and graduate students may need to choose specializations to differentiate their resume in the job market. In addition, a specialization allows students to gain a deeper understanding of a specific field. While some jobs do not require a specialized major, obtaining this enhanced knowledge will make the student a more marketable employee to a prospective employer.