Looking for best post baccalaureate computer science programs to kickstart your career in tech? Post-bacc programs can be excellent opportunities for career changers to gather foundational knowledge in CS and pivot your career. Here, we will review what post baccalaureate computer science programs are and will present you a list of best programs for you to choose from.
What are Post Baccalaureate Computer Science programs?
A post-baccalaureate program is an educational program for individuals who already possess a Bachelor’s degree in some field. Post-bacc programs are taught at universities, sometimes as a degree program and sometimes as non-degree coursework. Such programs usually take 1-2 years to complete and are awarded a diploma or a certificate upon graduation.
Who are Post Baccalaureate Computer Science programs for?
Post Baccalaureate Computer Science programs are reserved for students who have an undergraduate degree and are looking to expand their knowledge in a related or unrelated subject. These programs are a great choice for career changers who would like to gain expertise in another field without attending another traditional 4-year degree. A post-bacc degree in computer science can help you acquire foundation in CS and pursue a career in technology. As a result, you may qualify for jobs in software engineering, data science, machine learning, and other specialties in computer science.
Another reason to get enrolled in a post-baccalaureate program in computer science is to pursue a graduate degree afterwards. Thus, you may use a post-bacc program as a path to applying for a Master’s or doctoral degree in CS.
What is the difference between Post-Bacc and Bridge programs?
There are many similarities between post baccalaureate computer science programs and Bridge programs. However, the two are different entities with separate aims and properties.
Post-Bacc program is:
- A degree or certificate program
- Either terminal or links to graduate degree
- Takes 1-2 years to complete
- Often sufficient for employment
Bridge program is:
- A non-degree program or part of Master’s coursework
- Mostly links to graduate degree
- Takes 3-12 months to complete
- Sometimes sufficient for employment
Best Post Bacc Computer Science Programs
1. Post Baccalaureate Computer Science Online Degree at Oregon State University
Post baccalaureate computer science online degree program at Oregon State is a fully online degree program geared for students with non-CS background. This rigorous and comprehensive program comprises 15 courses that can be completed in 1.5-2 years. Upon graduation, a student receives a diploma that states Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science. This highly rated program will prepare you for a successful career in CS.
2. Applied Computer Science Post-Baccalaureate at University of Colorado Boulder
Applied Computer Science degree at CU Boulder is a fully online degree for anyone with an existing bachelor’s degree looking to advance in their current career, make a career pivot and/or prepare for a master’s degree. The program culminates in a Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Science diploma, which would, by definition, be your second Bachelor’s degree. The program has a rigorous curriculum, which consists of 45 credit hours and can be completed in 1-3 years.
3. Post-Baccalaureate Certificate at Georgetown University
Post-baccalaureate certificate program in computer science (PBCS) at Georgetown University is also designed for students with no computer science background. The program consists of 12 courses, which include introduction to computer science, data structures and algorithms, math, and electives. This rigorous program takes about 2 years to complete.
4. Post-Baccalaureate Certificate at Tufts University
Tufts University offers both online and on-campus post-baccalaureate certificates in computer science separately. Two tracks are offered to the prospective students. Certificate track is comprised of 5-6 courses and culminates in a graduation certificate. Master’s track consists of 2 courses, after which students continue to the Master’s degree in computer science. Curriculum includes such courses as programming languages, data structures and algorithms, discrete math, and computational theory.
5. Programming Graduate Certificate at Harvard Extension School
Harvard Extension School’s Programming Graduate Certificate is designed for students with little or no prior knowledge in computer programming and language. It consists of 4 courses and has online or on-campus studying options. In this program, you will be able to learn algorithms, data structures, string manipulation, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development in one of the world’s best universities. Moreover, graduates of the Programming Graduate Certificate program are eligible to apply for 12-course Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Software Engineering at Harvard Extension School.
6. Graduate Certificate in Software Design & Development at University of Washington, Bothell
This post-baccalaureate program at UWB involves 6 undergraduate-level courses that can be completed in one academic year. Students may choose to attend the program in order to learn fundamentals of computer science and seek employment or to continue to pursue a Master’s degree at UWB. The learning system involves evening on-campus or online lessons adaptable to working professionals.
7. Computer Science Certificate at Drexel University
This four-course program, offered on-campus or online, provides an in-depth overview of the fundamentals of the computer science field, including courses in programming, algorithms, systems and software design. Graduates of the program may either decide to join the workforce or continue their education at one of Drexel’s Master of Science programs.
8. Programming Post-Baccalaureate Certificate at Northwestern University
Programming Post-Baccalaureate Certificate students at Northwestern University will learn programming and software design skills for application in business and organizational fields. The program focuses on Java and other object-oriented programming languages, data science, and systems design and analysis. No prerequisite knowledge besides general experience with computers is needed for admissions.
9. Computer Programming Certificate at North Carolina State University
Computer Programming Certificate (CPC) at NCSU is an entirely online program open to students with a bachelor’s degree in any field other than computer science or computer engineering. The program is specifically designed to help you gain the fundamental computing skills you need to further your current career or prepare for a career change. Graduates of the program may use their acquired skills for seeking employment or to continue their education at NCSU’s graduate programs.
10. Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Data Science at University of Minnesota
This rigorous program is designed to provide interested students a solid conceptual foundation in data science. The program consists of 4 courses, which are usually completed in 2 semesters. Students take one course in each of the three focus areas (statistics, algorithmics, and infrastructure and large scale computing) plus one elective.
11. Post-Baccalaureate program at University of Houston
This program at University of Houston offers two options for prospective students. Degree-seeking option is for those students who wish to acquire a second Bachelor’s degree, while non-degree option is for those who either want to obtain general foundational knowledge in computer science or to fulfill prerequisite requirements for graduate degree. Coursework focuses on math, object-oriented programming, data structures, computer architecture, and operating systems.
12. Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Science Applications at Hofstra University
The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Science Applications is a pathway program that will teach students with a Bachelor’s degree core knowledge in computer science, including programming, discrete mathematics, data structures, and algorithm analysis. No prior knowledge of programming is required. Students who complete the program with a minimum GPA of 3.0 will automatically be admitted to the MS in Computer Science, the MS in Cybersecurity, or the MS in Data Science program at Hofstra University.
Other options for CS education
Attending a post-baccalaureate program is an excellent way to acquire fundamental knowledge in computer science or transition to a Master’s degree in CS if you already possess a Bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field. However, it is certainly not the only way to get into the industry and kickstart your CS career. You may also wish to consider other options for education to help you break into computer science. These include:
- On-campus MSCS programs for non-CS majors
- Online MSCS programs for non-CS majors
- Bridge to CS programs
- Second Bachelor’s degree
- Coding Bootcamp
Each of these options has different advantages, which we review in 5 Proven Ways To Switch Careers To Computer Science. Also, for those who are interested in tech entrepreneurship, management positions in tech, and business & software development in general, I also recommend you to check out the joint MBA/MSCS programs. They are an excellent opportunity to get education in both the business part and development part of software engineering and increase your salary severalfold!
Post baccalaureate computer science programs are a great way to transition to a career in tech in a practical timeframe while getting all the perks of acquiring comprehensive knowledge base by attending an accredited institution. Flexibility to either apply for jobs directly or pursue a Master’s degree upon competing a post-bacc program in computer science is another advantage, especially for those students who are unsure whether they ultimately want to pursue a Master’s degree. All-in-all, post-bacc programs outlined in this article provide students with rigorous coursework required for breaking into the industry and are a great option for students who possess a Bachelor’s degree in another field.
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Elmar Mammadov is a software developer, tech startup founder, and computer science career specialist. He is the founder of CS Careerline and a true career changer who has previously pursued careers in medicine and neuroscience.
Due to his interest in programming and years of past personal experience in coding, he decided to break into the tech industry by attending a Master’s in Computer Science for career changers at University of Pennsylvania. Elmar passionately writes and coaches about breaking into the tech industry and computer science in general.