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Beginning in the 1970s and 80s, computers began to make life easier and change the way people did business. Professionals in a variety of fields, including scientists, teachers, engineers, financial advisors, and doctors all began to use computers. At first, computers were mostly used to store and organize data and information, aid in computational tasks (hence the name), and produce high-quality publications.

These days, computer scientists are involved in every aspect of communication, business, education, and medicine, and the best computer science schools are preparing people for careers in this ever-changing field.

Best Computer Science Schools FAQ

To begin, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about the computer science field. You may be wondering what a computer scientist does, the career outlook of a computer scientist, or how to become a computer scientist. After discussing these things, we’ll look at the best computer science schools that will prepare you for an exciting career.


1. What Is a Computer Scientist?

A computer scientist is someone who knows and understands the theory and practical use of computers and technology. These professionals have a vast understanding of data and programming. Usually, computer scientists are very good at figuring out how things work, creating new programs and processes, and devising tools to help people perform their work better. Computer Scientists who study at the best computer science schools are equipped to solve problems on a variety of different levels.


2. What Does a Computer Scientist Do? 

Computer scientists work in a variety of different capacities. They often develop software and programs which serve essential purposes for businesses and life. Often, computer scientists analyze and interpret data so that businesses can make informed decisions. A computer scientist may also develop games or educational programming so that others can learn valued skills. The best computer science schools will teach you the foundational knowledge you need to work in the technical trade of your choosing. 


3. How Do You Become a Computer Scientist?

With such a diverse field of professionals, the path to becoming a computer scientist looks different for everyone. However, here are a few tips to start your journey towards this exciting career.

  • Be a Learner

At its core, the field of computer science is about looking at patterns of data and using that information for a specific purpose. To be successful as a computer scientist, you will need to learn how to learn. Naturally inquisitive people who are always asking good questions, analyzing information, and looking for new ideas are the best candidates for computer science careers.  

  • Seek Education

Most computer science careers require a high level of formal education. In the best computer science schools, professionals are taught all the foundational knowledge needed to process information, develop new programs, solve problems and analyze data.

  • Look for Opportunities to Gain Experience

Some of the best career-launching opportunities come in the form of internships and apprenticeships. Companies will often invest in new employees to give them the experience they need to do the job well. This way you’ll get on-the-job training and learn alongside the experts who have already honed their skills.

Many of the best computer science schools will offer or even require their students to participate in some sort of internship experience so that they are well equipped for a long-lasting and successful career.


4. What Is the Career Outlook of a Computer Scientist?

If you are looking into the field of computer science, you’re probably wondering about the career outlook. Even if you go to one of the best computer science schools and get all the right experience, is this a career that will be as exciting and rewarding as it seems? Based on the salary projections and employment opportunities, you may find that this field is exactly what you have been looking for.

  • Salary

The computer science field is growing at rapid rates. A career in computer science will offer many benefits, but one of the biggest ones is the pay. The average professional with a bachelors degree in computer science will earn about $80,000 per year. If you get a master’s degree or higher, you’ll earn well over $100,000 per year. This attractive salary is one reason many people choose to go to the best computer science schools and become a computer scientist.

  • Job Opportunities

The demand is high for highly skilled computer scientists. Employment in this field is expected to grow by 19 percent by 2026. As mentioned before, computers are taking over the world, so there is no shortage of opportunity to be successful as a computer scientist. 

How We Reviewed

We’ve researched for you to find the best computer science schools. We’ve looked at the unique programs offered by each school, evaluated the tuition and career outlook, and compared the pros and cons of attending. Overall these are, in fact, the best computer science schools, and any of them would be an excellent choice to launch your career. 

Overall Tuition Rate of Computer Science Schools

Tuition Rates at the best computer science schools range from $10,000 per year to $50,000 per year.  In general, private universities are more expensive than public schools if you are a resident of that state. However, out-of-state students at public universities should expect to pay a lot more. With the career growth potential in this field along with the high salaries and promising future, getting a degree in computer science from one of these schools is worth the investment. 


What We Reviewed

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • The University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • The University of Washington
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

massachusetts institute of technology

Tuition

$$$

Our Rating

Program Description

The computer science program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA is consistently ranked as one of the best computer science schools. The school is known around the world for its research, teaching, and contribution to scientific advances. Students who study at MIT will be exposed to the expertise of academic leaders across multiple scientific disciplines.

  PROS   

  • Study under experts in the field
  • Almost guaranteed job placement
  • The research focus will lead to a useful skill set that can be applied to any future job

PROS 

   CONS

  • High Tuition
  • Extremely selective admissions

Tuition

The undergraduate tuition at MIT is approximately $$$ per year.


Stanford University

stanforn university

Tuition

$$$

Our Rating

Program Description

Stanford University in California is another great school for computer science. With the influence of tech giants based in California, graduates enjoy access to great internships and job opportunities.

  PROS   

  • Opportunities to learn and work at companies like Google and Facebook
  • Great Faculty to student ratio

PROS 

   CONS

  • Selective admissions
  • The high cost of living

Tuition

An education at Stanford will cost some money per year, but living in Stanford, California will not be a cheap experience.


Carnegie Mellon University

carnegie mellon best computer science schools

Tuition

$$$

Our Rating

Program Description

Carnegie Mellon University has a beautiful campus in Pittsburg, PA. Even though the school is over 100 years old, the state-of-the-art facilities and technology centers make it an attractive option for many aspiring computer scientists.  

  PROS   

  • Robotics Institute 
  • Human-Computer Interaction Institute
  • Many famous alumni 

PROS 

   CONS

  • High Tuition
  • Cold weather in Pittsburg

Tuition

Undergraduate tuition at Carnegie Mellon University is approximately $$$ per year.


The University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

the university of california

Tuition

$ to $$

Our Rating

Program Description

The University of California, Berkeley is well known for its library facilities and research activities. Students who get a computer science degree at this school are privileged to get to rub shoulders with leading experts in the field.

PROS   

  • Amazing campus
  • Affordable
  • Famous faculty

PROS 

   CONS

  • Large School

Tuition

Since The University of California, Berkley is a part of the state university system of Berkley, the cost is significantly less than other schools on this list. In-state tuition is approximately $ per year, while out-of-state students pay about $$ each year.


Harvard University

harvard university best computer science schools

Tuition

$ to $$

Our Rating

Program Description

Well known for its prestigious academics, Harvard University in Cambridge, MA offers an equally stellar computer science program. Even though Harvard is America’s oldest institution of higher education, their cutting-edge research and forward thinking faculty make it a leader in innovative technology development.

PROS   

  • Harvard’s alumni network
  • Strong academic standards

PROS 

   CONS

  • New England weather
  • High Tuition
  • The extremely selective admissions process

Tuition

A degree at Harvard will cost approximately $$$ per year.


Princeton University

princeton university best computer science schools

Tuition

$$$

Our Rating

Program Description

As one of the oldest institutions in America, Princeton has a strong reputation for equipping leaders in almost every field. Their computer science program is always in the top 10.

  PROS   

  • Strong tradition of academic excellence
  • Many notable alumni
  • Near New York City

PROS 

   CONS

  • High cost
  • New Jersey winter
  • High expectations from admissions officers

Tuition

Tuition at Princeton runs around $$$ per year.


The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

ucla best computer science schools

Tuition

$ to $$

Our Rating

Program Description

The University of California, Los Angeles is a great place for those who want to enjoy the warm and sunny California weather. As a state university, their academic standings rank among some of the best in the world. The Southern California location gives access to many opportunities to further your education and career.

  PROS   

  • Affordable
  • Southern California weather

PROS 

   CONS

  • Large School with large classes
  • Los Angeles traffic

Tuition

Tuition at this state university will be about $ for California residents and $$ for out-of-state students.


The University of Washington

washington best computer science schools

Tuition

$ to $$

Our Rating

Program Description

One of the largest schools on our list, the University of Washington has risen in the ranks of best computer science schools in recent years. Graduates are afforded great opportunities in the tech industry based out of Seattle, WA, where the school is located. Seattle has been a leader in the tech industry in the Pacific Northwest for many years.

PROS   

  • Affordable
  • Seattle job opportunities

PROS 

   CONS

  • Seattle weather
  • Very large school

Tuition

As the most affordable school on our list, the University of Washington will be just $ per year for in-state students and $$ for out-of-state residents.


Georgia Institute of Technology

george best computer science schools

Tuition

$ to $$

Our Rating

Program Description

The Georgia Institute of Technology is the only school on our list in the southern United States. It is also one of the few schools focused specifically on technological sciences. In the heart of downtown Atlanta, GA, Georgia, students have the opportunity to engage in many up-and-coming business ventures while enjoying the southern cultural charm.

  PROS   

  • Large technology school
  • Affordable
  • Atlanta offers unique opportunities

PROS 

   CONS

  • Far away from other large tech centers
  • Large public school

Tuition

Tuition at the Georgia Institute of Technology will be around $ per year for Georgia residents and $$ per year for out-of-state students.


California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

caltech institute of technology best computer science schools

Tuition

$$$

Our Rating

Program Description

The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA is one of the best research and technology institutions in the world. Their faculty is world-renowned for their research in highly specialized fields, and the facilities of the campus offer opportunities for innovation and exploration.

  PROS   

  • Innovative research opportunities
  • Strong faculty

PROS 

   CONS

  • High tuition

Tuition

Tuition at Caltech is steep. A degree at this private research institution will be around $$$ per year.



The Verdict

The field of computer science is sure to continue to flourish as people become more and more dependent on technology for business transactions as well as everyday tasks. Becoming a computer scientist would be a great choice for someone who enjoys solving problems, analyzing data, and creating new programs.

In order to become a computer scientist, you will need to get a strong education in mathematical computation, data and statistical sciences, and even engineering. We’ve listed out some of the best computer science schools in the United States. While each has their own unique features, they are all great schools. Attending any of these fine institutions would be a great way to launch a career in computer science.

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