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Best Certifications for Computer Science: How to Gain Foundational Skills to Enter the Field

April 25, 2024

Demand for computer science professionals is growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment in computer and information technology should increase considerably faster than the average across all occupations over the next decade. Specific job roles projected to sustain high growth include information security analysts (32 percent expected growth), software developers and quality assurance analysts and testers (25 percent), and computer and information research scientists (23 percent).

Meanwhile, the widespread adoption of emerging technologies—including cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence—is intensifying the need for computer science professionals with specialized skills and knowledge. According to a recent Deloitte article, companies are struggling to fill such senior technical roles as system architects, cybersecurity specialists, and those requiring artificial intelligence (AI) expertise.

Industry demand suggests that now is a good time to pivot to a career in computer science. To do that, you’ll need to build foundational computer science skills and knowledge. An online certificate program may offer the ideal opportunity to kickstart your computing career by adding skills in data structures, algorithms, hardware, and systems.

Pivot to a Career in Computer Science

Earn a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Science From Tufts
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Computer Science Certificate vs. Computer Science Certification: What’s the Difference?

As you research various computer science credentials, you will likely come across references to computer science certificates and computer science certifications. Despite the similarity of the two terms, they are different.

Computer science certifications are typically offered by industry associations and platforms. They focus on skills and knowledge pertaining to a specific company’s product (like Amazon or Apple) or a particular skill set (such as data management or information security), In contrast, computer science certificates, like the Tufts University Online Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Science, are offered by educational institutions. They typically provide students with foundational knowledge applicable across multiple computer science functions.

What is a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate?

A post-baccalaureate certificate is an academic credential targeted to students with bachelor’s degrees who want to develop new skills or enter a new industry. Computer science post-baccalaureate certificate programs, like the one offered by Tufts, focus on providing students with the foundational courses needed to pursue a new career in technology. Tufts’ Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Science offers two tracks: a certificate track and a master’s track.

Computer Science Certificates to Enter the Workforce

A post-baccalaureate certificate can help you gain the skills necessary to enter the computer science field. Tufts online post-baccalaureate in computer science students take courses in data structures, algorithms, and discrete mathematics to build their baseline knowledge. They can also choose electives that align with their career interests in such disciplines as programming languages, operating systems, security, and machine learning.

Upon completing the program, Tufts post-baccalaureate certificate holders should be prepared to:

  • -Write reliable and efficient programs in high-level language
  • -Find and fix security flaws in programs and systems
  • -Prove important properties of fundamental algorithms and data structures
  • -Employ a range of proof techniques and mathematical formalisms to analyze computational problems
  • -Provide reasoning about the semantics and structure of programming languages
  • -Employ machine learning models to find complex patterns in data sets
  • -Analyze the complexity of computational problems
  • -Develop complex software, following best practices and industry standards

Knowledgeable faculty lead the Tufts online Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Science program, which forms part of Tufts University, a world-class research institution. The Tufts University School of Engineering is committed to providing transformative, hands-on education that equips students with a forward-thinking mindset and the technical skills to pursue improved career options.

Computer Science Certificates to Prepare for Graduate Study

Prospective students considering a master’s degree can benefit from a post-baccalaureate certificate. Tufts’ Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Computer Science program teaches foundational computer science to prepare students with no experience in the field to succeed in a computer science master’s program. The program offers an alternative master’s track that begins with two undergraduate courses, then transitions to master’s-level study in the Tufts Online Master of Science in Computer Science program.

Computer Science Certification Courses for Professional Development

Prospective computing professionals have numerous industry certifications and courses to choose from. These certifications typically best serve the needs of professionals looking to add specific skills to their resume, making them valuable supplements to a post-baccalaureate certificate.

Industry organizations—like the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)—offer various certification options focused on different skill levels and specializations (e.g., security, cloud computing). Prominent platforms often offer their own certifications, validating your ability to use their technology expertly. These include Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications, Microsoft Credentials, and Oracle Certifications focusing on MySQL products.

Pursuing Your Post-Baccalaureate at Tufts University

Which certifications for computer science careers and professional advancement best suit your needs largely depends on your professional goals. If you’re looking to pivot to a career in computer science, you may want to consider earning a formal certificate distinction, like the one from Tufts University.

The Tufts online Post-Baccalaureate Computer Science Certificate program is designed to teach comprehensive, foundational computer science knowledge and skills to help you advance your career. Get in touch with an enrollment advisor to learn more about the program or start your application today if you’re ready. 

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