Hundreds of jobs in Florida can be obtained with a degree in computers. Computers are not going to phase out any time soon, which means job security.  The more difficult choice will be which job within the computer industry is your dream job. There are many options for degrees or certifications in computers.  You can work in networks, repair, computer engineering, computer design, information technology, database management, computer forensics, web game programming, information systems security, computer support, and much more.

Earning a Degree in Computers

An associate’s degree in Computer Technology takes two years to achieve. Those holding this degree are valuable players in terms of keeping computers within a business up to date. Courses in communications, social sciences, math, electronics, computer networking, computer systems, and control systems are all required.

Network Systems Administrators help set-up networking systems within a company or school. These individuals will install and initialize routers, monitor networking systems, and fix errors. Communication courses are required, as are courses in math, science, humanities, computer applications, and principles of information systems security.  Those in network systems administration must have patience because it can take a few tries to diagnose and repair glitches within a system.

Artistic flair is often required for Web Graphic Design.  Individuals choosing a program in web graphic design set up, design, maintain, and update websites for individuals and companies. Courses that are mandatory for a degree in web graphics include English, professional development, humanities, mathematics, computers, and web graphic design.

Each of the above programs requires two years of college to earn an associates degree and prepare for the working world.  Tuition will vary depending on the school you choose to attend.  An associate’s degree from DeVry University in Network System Administration will cost just about $39,000.  The tuition for an associate’s degree in Web Design and Development from Keiser University will cost about $31,000.  Programs are flexible offering both full-time and part-time options.

A Bachelor’s program takes four years to complete, is more comprehensive, and also generally brings a higher salary.  Computer Engineer’s help design software and hardware used in today’s computers, cell phones, televisions, gaming systems, telephones, cars, and more.  These positions are in high demand.  Coursework included in obtaining a Computer Engineering Technology degree include communications, humanities, social sciences, professional development, math, electronic circuits, digital circuits, processing, networks, software design, programming, project design, networking, and computer integration.

Information Technologists help implement and design computer software.  A number of industries from car manufacturers to finance and government to health care use IT systems.  Coursework required to obtain a degree in Computer Information Systems will include communications, humanities, science, math, business concepts, systems concepts, programming, computer forensics, database management, security, systems analysis, web development, computer administration, and website administration.

Again, tuition will vary depending on the school you choose to attend.  The tuition for a bachelors degree in Computer Engineering Technology from DeVry is about $77,087 and in Computer Information Systems is about $68,684.  A bachelor’s degree in Computer Animation from Digital Media Arts College in Boca Raton will cost about $73,914.  Additional costs including books and boarding may apply.

Certification is another option.  Becoming certified in a specific skill or product is a way to prove that you have the necessary knowledge to perform a job in a given field or a job that uses specific technologies.  Although the associate and bachelor degree programs above will prepare you for a number of certifications, you can choose to simply earn your certification in a select discipline.  For instance the certificate program for Web Design at the Digital Media Arts College for will cost about $6,984 and consists of 4 courses (12 credit hours).

Specializing in Your Favorite Area

Computer Information Technology degrees carry specialties as well.  You can earn a degree in Computer Information Technology, but focus on business administration (computers in the workplace), computer forensics (tracking illegal use of computer information), database management, computer security (virus, spyware, and firewall used to prevent hackers), systems analysis, and web design and development.

Think of it this way.  Essentially any industry that requires fast communication, number crunching, data storage, high-speed graphics, or data analysis is using computers and needs individuals trained in a variety of computer specialties.  Careers in computers are available in a wide range of industries including military, educations, communications, media, construction, medical research, and much more.

One of today’s hottest fields is the gaming industry.  Children and adults are purchasing gaming systems in record numbers.  Some of the disciplines specific to the game industry include; game programmer, game designer, level designer, game producer, game artist and game tester.

Salary Information

According to Salary.com, the salary range for new graduates will vary depending upon their degree and specialty area.  Those graduating with an associate’s degree in computer technology can expect to earn an average of $37,673.  Individuals who choose to earn a bachelors degree can expect to earn on average $73,500 annually.  Of all of the computer related bachelor’s degrees, the one that provides the greatest annual salary is software development at $90,530.

In order to provide a comparison between select major cities in Florida, we chose to research the average annual salary of someone working as a computer operator.  This is a general entry-level position within computer careers.

Jacksonville $35,940
Miami $36,957
Orlando $34,621
Tampa/St. Petersburg $35,412
Tallahassee $34.433


Career Outlook

With any career, the choice you make should be based on the location you wish to call home and your capabilities.  Someone who enjoys working with people may find repairing computers to be more enjoyable that monitoring and repairing networks all day. Those with a strong interest in gaming will definitely enjoy game design, but one must be very competitive and have unique ideas if they plan to become successful and land a decent job in game design.

While earning your degree get involved with the associations and membership organizations that support this field.  They will be invaluable to you as you graduate and are trying to land that first job.  The International Webmasters Association, Network and Systems Professionals Association, Network Professional Association, and the International Game Development Association are just a few of the organizations that provide members with employment resources, certificate programs, and access to various events.  Aside from the well known job search sites, there are also those who specialize in computer careers – computercareertips.com and computerjobs.com.  Be sure to check them out for jobs in your local area.

Regardless of the path within computers you choose, know that overall employment in this industry is strong.  It has grown rapidly in recent years and is projected to continue to do so.  The Bureau of Labor (BLS) projects computer occupations overall will grow by 22% between 2010 and 2020.  This is faster than the average for all other occupations.  According to the BLS, the best applicants for open positions will be those who have earned a bachelor’s degree and who are up to date on all of the latest technology.

Ready to move forward towards a career in computers?  Review our list of Computer training programs in Florida.  To find a school near you, enter the name of your city in the search box at the top of the page.