The Universities with the Best Tech Programs in the US
Tech professionals contribute a lot to today’s economy, and the demand for them is quickly growing. Universities are constantly competing to provide the best programs in computer technology, making it hard for some students to find the right match.
This guide explores the best tech programs in the United States based on education quality, tuition cost, and outcomes.
Why You Should Choose a Career in Computer and Information Technology
Technology is constantly evolving, and the demand for tech workers increases. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for IT and computer science workers is expected to increase by 11 percent by 2029. This is significantly higher than the national growth rate of other occupations.
Tech professionals have an average salary of $91,250, according to BLS. This is more than double the average salary for all occupations in the United States, which is $41,950.
You should choose a tech career if you are prepared for intensive and technical training. Most tech professionals get a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology before they enter the workforce.
The 10 Best Tech Programs to Launch Your Career
Before deciding to jump into the first tech program you find, you should consult our in-depth list of the best degree programs to launch your career in tech. Contrary to the notion that universities don’t prepare students for the workforce, most computer science programs do.
Some of these programs offer online education, while others require you to attend in-person classes. See below for the full list.
University of California, Berkeley | Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
UC Berkeley offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. According to US News, UC Berkeley has the second-best computer engineering program in the United States.
This bachelor’s degree combines the elements of electrical engineering and computer science fundamentals. The tuition cost of this program is $41,196, and the school also offers health insurance valued at $3,536.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of the most reputable technical universities in the world. MIT is ranked first in the US News report. This is because the school has shown extraordinary outcomes for students after graduation.
According to MIT’s graduation outcomes report, 31 percent of graduates work in computer and information technology. Most of them work for reputable companies like Amazon, Apple, JP Morgan, Dropbox, and Facebook. The mean salary of MIT graduates in 2020 was $94,988. The report is based on a student survey of recent graduates.
While tuition at MIT is high at $53,450, the school has various financing methods, including scholarships and sponsored billing.
Stanford University | Computer Science
Stanford University is another world-renowned institution. Its computer science program is the third-best in the country, according to US News.
It provides rigorous preparation in IT fundamentals and offers job training services. In the final years of the program, you can choose a concentration in areas like biocomputation, computer engineering, artificial intelligence, and human-computer interaction.
Stanford graduates work in highly recognized companies like Tesla and Amazon. The tuition cost is $57,861 per year.
California Institute of Technology | Computer Science
The California Institute of Technology, also known as Caltech, offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that dive into the fundamentals of computer science. You will learn about machine learning, algorithms, computer systems, and databases.
The bachelor’s program includes a capstone project where you’ll put everything you learn into practice and choose a specialization. Some of the areas that the school offers are distributed systems, databases, graphics, networking, machine learning, and robotics.
This program is eighth in the US News rankings. The tuition cost at Caltech is $56,364.
Carnegie Mellon University | Electrical and Computer Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University’s engineering school is one of the best in the country. Its computer engineering program is ranked fifth by US News, in large part due to its outstanding student outcomes. The school offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science through its Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).
The annual tuition cost to attend Carnegie Mellon University is $57,560. You have different financing methods to pay for your education, such as loan financing, GI Bill benefits, and scholarships.
Purdue University | Electrical and Computer Engineering
Purdue University’s computer engineering program is ranked eleventh in the nation. According to Purdue’s annual graduation survey, the average College of Engineering graduate earns $72,236 per year.
This particular degree program will teach you about hardware and software fundamentals. You can specialize in operating systems, computer security, graphics, networks, or compilers. The tuition is $9,992 for in-state residents and $28,794 for out-of-state students.
To be eligible to enroll in this program, you must have strong math and physics skills and complete the engineering breadth requirements for first-year students.
University of Michigan | Computer Science
The University of Michigan is tied for fifth among the best universities for studying computer science. The program’s IT training covers both hardware and software.
The annual tuition for in-state students is $15,948, while out-of-state students pay $55,928. However, the school offers scholarships and loan financing for students who need financial help.
Georgia Institute of Technology | Computer Science
Georgia Tech’s computer technology program is tied for fifth with Carnegie Mellon and the University of Michigan in the US News rankings. It has a wide variety of specializations, including computational data analysis, computing and information internetworks, robotics, computing and systems architecture, and computer science.
Tuition at Georgia Tech is $341.93 per credit hour for in-state students and $1,045.67 per credit hour for out-of-state students.
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign | Computer Science
The computer science programs at the University of Illinois give students a wide range of interdisciplinary options. Specializations include advertising, astronomy, economics, and philosophy.
The University of Illinois is the fourth-best computer engineering school in the country. Some of the things you’ll learn in the computer science program are algorithms, programming tools, and computer network fundamentals. Tuition for its engineering programs is $17,348 for in-state students and $34,798 for out-of-state students.
Cornell University | Computer Science
Cornell University offers bachelor’s degree programs in computer science, information science, and electrical and computer engineering. US News ranks Cornell’s computer science offerings eighth in the country.
This computer science program will teach you programming languages, algorithms, and data structures. You can also choose electives you are interested in. Some of the subjects include databases, computer vision, computer graphics, and artificial intelligence. Cornell’s undergraduate programs cost $56,550 annually, but there are also loan financing options.
Types of Tech Programs
To pursue a career in tech, you have several kinds of postsecondary training to choose from. Although coding bootcamps are becoming a popular alternative to traditional higher education, you can still productively study computer science and information technology at a university or community college.
Your options include certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees.
Certificate programs provide specialized training on a particular transferable skill. These programs tend to be short-term, going from six months to a year, and typically have low tuition costs.
UC Berkeley Extension, for example, offers a Certificate Program in Software Development and Programming. It consists of five or six courses, which together provide training in computer science fundamentals. This certificate program costs $4,000.
An associate degree is a short-term program, usually offered at a community college, that provides you with entry-level career training. Programs usually last two years.
A bachelor’s degree program includes two years of general education training and lasts a total of four years. It is the most common path to a career in computer and information technology. Popular majors include computer science, information sciences, and computer systems analysis.
A master’s degree, on the other hand, is a graduate education program that provides advanced career training. Programs last about two years and give you the chance to earn a higher salary.
Master’s students also often have opportunities to earn specialized graduate certificates on the way to completing their degrees. Temple University in Philadelphia, for example, allows prospective master’s students to earn the Computer Science Graduate Certificate, which consists of one required course and three upper-level electives.
Choosing the Right Tech Program
You need to consider certain factors like the affordability of the program, the quality of the education, and job prospects for graduates.
Tuition Cost and Financial Options
Remember that you need to find a program that suits your current financial status. Most universities offer financing options, including loans, scholarships, and GI Bill benefits.
Make sure to check the program’s curriculum to see if it offers relevant and up-to-date subjects.
Nowadays, colleges have a reputation for providing outdated curricula. A 2017 survey conducted by The Rockefeller Foundation revealed that 49 percent of university graduates are not using the skills learned in college, and 86 percent of them are currently learning other skills through alternative education.
Job Placement Rate
The job placement rate indicates a school’s outcomes in terms of post-graduation success. Many schools are transparent about these rates and reveal the number of students who find jobs after graduation. A high employment rate shows that the school has efficient career services.
Top Tech Careers
With a certificate or degree in computer science or information technology, you have several job opportunities. Some of the top careers are in software engineering, information security analysis, web development, and data science.
A software engineer is a tech professional responsible for building digital programs from scratch, maintaining them, and providing updates and solutions to any type of issue in the interface. According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a software engineer is about $105,000.
Information Security Analyst
An information security analyst is someone who performs audits to evaluate a computer network’s security levels. They also install software to protect the system, such as firewalls. PayScale estimates that the average information security analyst salary is approximately $73,000.
A data scientist helps companies solve quantitative problems by collecting, filtering, and analyzing data. Data scientists work with machine learning to optimize forecasting processes and identify errors in datasets. According to BLS, the median salary of a data scientist is $98,230.
Should You Pursue a Career in Tech?
Technical professions are highly in demand these days due to constant technological advances. This has directly affected tech salaries, meaning that most tech professions have high earning potential.
You should seek to enter the tech world if you’re passionate about computer science, have logical and critical thinking skills, and enjoy finding creative solutions. However, keep in mind that these types of professions require a lot of preparation.