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The increasing complexity of computing means that many employers who were previously willing to hire anyone with the skills necessary, even those who taught themselves computers, are now requiring applicants to have computer science degrees. Fortunately, a larger number of colleges and universities are offering flexible degrees that can allow you to continue working while earning the degree that you need to move forward in your career.

Earning a computer science degree can be a great way to work on innovative projects while learning from and collaborating with other computing enthusiasts. Many programs can be completed on the evenings or weekends. Also, the number of programs that are fully online is growing. An online program might be the right opportunity for you as you can be more specific in choosing a program that best suits your needs without worrying about changing jobs or relocating.

Pursuing a degree in computer science is academically challenging, and most traditional students actually drop out, declare different majors, and then return a second time to computer science before eventually earning their degrees. It is an intellectually intense academic path, and taking full-time courses can simply be overwhelming. Choosing a part-time or evening/weekend program in computer science can give you the opportunity to pace yourself through your degree. This can be especially important for people who are seeking a graduate degree in computer science, and you might want to look at programs tailored to working professionals. Nearly half of the students enrolled in Florida Institute of Technology’s (FIT) prestigious graduate program in computer science are attending part-time.

Another option is an online degree. Online programs can lower your overall education costs and allow you to earn your degree from a more respected school without having to relocate. Perhaps the most radical is Georgia Institute of Technology’s collaboration with Udacity to offer a completely online degree that can be completed in three years and only costs about $7,000. However, other traditional schools such as Drexel University, the University of Illinois and the University of Maryland, College Park offer students the opportunity to complete the program online. When looking for an online program, consider whether the program has a set pace or allows students to complete the program at their own pace, and then pick the one that’s right for you.

Computer science degree programs are becoming as diverse and innovative as computer science itself. Whether you choose a traditional, part-time or online degree, there is a program that is a match for your education goals, finances, location, and schedule.