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2021 Computer Software & Applications Degree Guide

Have you ever had a great idea for a computer program or smartphone app but didn't know how to create it? Major in Computer Software and Applications and you can make your ideas a reality.

Computer Software and Applications majors work to create, test, and develop new computer programs to meet customers' demands. They also work to maintain older software and ensure it runs properly. Through classes like computer engineering, computer science, game and interactive media design, software engineering, mathematics, and statistics, students will gain the skills to create unique and useful software.

While students have the option to major in general Computer Software and Applications, they can also specialize in areas, such as Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design, Data Modeling and Warehousing and Database Administration, Computer Graphics, and Virtual Environments and Simulation Modeling.

Rapid Growth in Computer Software & Applications Degrees Awarded

#90 Most Popular Major
12.8k Degrees Awarded
7.0% Increase in Graduates

Computer Software & Applications was the 90th most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 12,793 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 7.0% increase in computer software degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 11,900.

Approximately 357 colleges in the U.S. offer a computer software and applications degree of some kind. This year's Best Colleges for Computer Software & Applications ranking compares 29 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of computer software programs later in this article.

Computer Software & Applications Degree Requirements

A strong background in computer programming is necessary for a career in Computer Software and Applications. Professionals must be familiar with codes and up to date on tools and computer languages. Analytical and problem-solving skills along with creativity are necessary when developing new software. Successful professionals also pay close attention to detail and have strong communication and customer service skills.

A career in Computer Software and Applications is a full time job. Professionals often work over 40 hours a week during the testing and development phases of projects. Most professionals work in an office setting.

Internships and summer jobs in this field are suggested because they will give students exposure to computer programming and give them hands-on experience working with software and applications.

Getting Accepted Into a Computer Software & Applications Program

computer software and applications degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. In addition to these basic computer software and applications program qualifications, to serve in some computer software careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Computer Software & Applications Degree Types

There are various different levels of computer software degrees. You can get anything from a associate's degree in computer software and applications to the highest computer software degree, a research/scholarship based doctorate. Depending on the computer software and applications degree you choose, obtaining your diploma can take anwhere from 1 to 4+ years.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to computer software, with approximately 63.0% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for computer software workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 64.4%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 8.2%
Some College Courses 8.0%
Master’s Degree 6.4%
Post-Secondary Certificate 4.2%

76.6% of computer software workers have at least a bachelor's. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in computer software and applications have received.


This of course varies depending on which computer software career you choose.

Computer Software Careers

Above Average Number of Jobs
$34.7k Average Starting Salary
17% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Computer Software and Applications graduates are typically hired by software development companies or software publishers. Other graduates have gone on to work for computer and other electronic product companies. There is a high demand for computer software along with the increase in smartphone applications use.

High Growth Projected for Computer Software Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your computer software degree? Computer Software & Applications careers are expected to grow 16.6% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to computer software and applications.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Software Applications Developers 1,086,600 30.7%
Graphic Designers 277,400 4.2%
Computer Programmers 273,600 -7.2%
Web Developers 187,200 14.9%
Database Administrators 133,200 11.5%

How Much Money Do Computer Software Grads Make?

Computer Software & Applications graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $34,698 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $12,200 to as high as $100,400. As you might expect, salaries for computer software graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Computer Software Careers

Salaries for computer software and applications graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers computer software grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Computer and Information Research Scientists $123,850
Software Applications Developers $108,080
Database Administrators $92,030
Computer Programmers $89,580
Multimedia Artists and Animators $78,230

Getting Your Computer Software & Applications Degree

With over 1,519 different computer software degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased computer software school rankings to help you with this.

One of 10 majors within the Computer & Information Sciences area of study, Computer Software & Applications has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Computer Information Systems 76,482
Computer Science 47,906
Information Technology 33,399
Information Science 17,779
Computer Systems Networking 14,055

View All Computer Software Related Majors >


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