10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S.
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The future looks good for computer-related careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology employment is expected to increase by 12 percent between 2014 and 2024. Broken down, many individual fields will grow quite a bit over that same period:

  • Computer Network Architects — 9 percent
  • Computer Systems Administrators — 8 percent
  • Database Administrators — 11 percent
  • Information Research Scientists — 11 percent
  • Information Security Analysts — 18 percent
  • Software Developers — 17 percent
  • Web Developers — 27 percent

If you’re thinking of going to college for Computer Science, or any related major, you should be confident about that choice. The industry hasn’t peaked yet and, depending on who you ask, this growth may continue for a lot longer 10 Computer Programming Jobs That Are In Demand Right Now 10 Computer Programming Jobs That Are In Demand Right Now Since landing a programming job can be tough in the current landscape, consider focusing on one of the following concentrations to improve your chances of success. Read More than most are expecting it to.

If you’re in it for the long haul, you may as well aim for a top-ranking school — one that will start you off on a solid foundation How To Improve Your Programming Career Opportunities How To Improve Your Programming Career Opportunities If you're hoping to start, restart, or otherwise improve your programming career, it isn't easy. If you are in college, the time is now. Here are some tips that can take you far. Read More and provide the best return on your investment. Think you have what it takes to enroll in a top Computer Science school? Here are the best ones to consider.

How We Ranked Computer Science Colleges

Our list of the best Computer Science colleges may surprise you. That’s because we didn’t base it on a single aspect (e.g. reputation) but instead incorporated several different factors and data points. Our main criteria:

  • Accreditation. All of these schools are recognized as accredited in the United States. Never enroll in a non-accredited school.
  • TU Rank. TopUniversities provides QS World University Rankings by Subject, which are based on various factors like Academic Reputation, Citations Per Paper, Employer Reputation, and more. We filtered the 2017 rankings for Computer Science schools in the U.S.
  • Earnings potential for graduates. PayScale provides an annual College Salary Report that ranks hundreds of U.S. schools for salary potential based on two statistics: Early Career Pay and Mid-Career Pay. When calculating earnings potential, we assumed 10 years of Early Career Pay and 20 years of Mid Career Pay.
  • Tuition cost. StartClass provides up-to-date tuition information for hundreds of colleges across the U.S. In cases where tuition costs differed for In-State and Out-of-State students, we based our calculations on the Out-of-State costs.
    • Since In-State tuition is often significantly cheaper, you can drastically boost your return on investment by choosing an In-State school over an Out-of-State school, assuming you qualify.
  • Expected return on investment. A ratio between 30-year earnings potential and the cost of four years of tuition, which is the average enrollment period for a Bachelor’s Degree.
    • You can boost your return on investment even higher if you work hard and finish your degree within three years.
  • Acceptance requirements. StartClass provides up-to-date acceptance requirements and rates for hundreds of U.S. schools. In our eyes, with all things being equal, a higher acceptance rate is better for prospective students due to lower risk.

Based on the above, here are the 10 best U.S. schools for Computer Science.

1. University of California, Berkeley

10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. computer college uc berkeley

Prestige

TU Rank: 4

Return on Investment

Early Career Pay: $93,200
Mid Career Pay: $142,000
Career Pay Over 30 Years: $3,772,000

Tuition Cost: $38,139 per year (Out-of-State)
Tuition Over 4 Years: $152,556

Expected Return on Investment: 24.7x

Acceptance

ACT: 32
SAT: 2075
Rate: 16.9%

2. Stanford University

10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. computer college stanford university

Prestige

TU Rank: 2

Return on Investment

Early Career Pay: $99,500
Mid Career Pay: $168,000
Career Pay Over 30 Years: $4,355,000

Tuition Cost: $46,320 per year
Tuition Over 4 Years: $185,280

Expected Return on Investment: 23.5x

Acceptance

ACT: 33
SAT: 2220
Rate: 5.0%

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. computer college massachusetts institute

Prestige

TU Rank: 1

Return on Investment

Early Career Pay: $99,800
Mid Career Pay: $135,000
Career Pay Over 30 Years: $3,698,000

Tuition Cost: $46,704 per year
Tuition Over 4 Years: $186,816

Expected Return on Investment: 19.8x

Acceptance

ACT: 34
SAT: 2240
Rate: 8.3%

4. University of California, Los Angeles

10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. computer college uc los angeles

Prestige

TU Rank: 13

Return on Investment

Early Career Pay: $84,300
Mid Career Pay: $123,000
Career Pay Over 30 Years: $3,303,000

Tuition Cost: $37,471 per year (Out-of-State)
Tuition Over 4 Years: $149,884

Expected Return on Investment: 22.0x

Acceptance

ACT: 30
SAT: 1985
Rate: 17.3%

5. Carnegie Mellon University

10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. computer college carnegie mellon

Prestige

TU Rank: 3

Return on Investment

Early Career Pay: $100,000
Mid Career Pay: $125,000
Career Pay Over 30 Years: $3,500,000

Tuition Cost: $50,665 per year
Tuition Over 4 Years: $202,660

Expected Return on Investment: 17.3x

Acceptance

ACT: 32
SAT: 2165
Rate: 23.7%

6. University of Washington, Main Campus

10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. computer college university washington

Prestige

TU Rank: 16

Return on Investment

Early Career Pay: $75,400
Mid Career Pay: $122,000
Career Pay Over 30 Years: $3,194,000

Tuition Cost: $34,143 per year (Out-of-State)
Tuition Over 4 Years: $136,572

Expected Return on Investment: 23.4x

Acceptance

ACT: 28
SAT: 1835
Rate: 53.3%

7. University of California, Santa Barbara

10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. computer college uc santa barbara

Prestige

TU Rank: Top 200

Return on Investment

Early Career Pay: $72,800
Mid Career Pay: $144,000
Career Pay Over 30 Years: $3,608,000

Tuition Cost: $38,676 per year (Out-of-State)
Tuition Over 4 Years: $154,704

Expected Return on Investment: 23.3x

Acceptance

ACT: 28
SAT: 1795
Rate: 32.6%

8. Columbia University

10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. computer college columbia

Prestige

TU Rank: 29

Return on Investment

Early Career Pay: $87,400
Mid Career Pay: $132,000
Career Pay Over 30 Years: $3,514,000

Tuition Cost: $53,000 per year
Tuition Over 4 Years: $212,000

Expected Return on Investment: 16.6x

Acceptance

ACT: 33
SAT: 2215
Rate: 6.6%

9. Cornell University

10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. computer college cornell

Prestige

TU Rank: 21

Return on Investment

Early Career Pay: $75,900
Mid Career Pay: $117,000
Career Pay Over 30 Years: $3,099,000

Tuition Cost: $49,116 per year
Tuition Over 4 Years: $196,464

Expected Return on Investment: 15.8x

Acceptance

ACT: 32
SAT: 2145
Rate: 15.1%

10. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S. computer college worcester polytechnic

Prestige

TU Rank: Top 500

Return on Investment

Early Career Pay: $83,500
Mid Career Pay: $134,000
Career Pay Over 30 Years: $3,515,000

Tuition Cost: $45,590 per year
Tuition Over 4 Years: $182,360

Expected Return on Investment: 19.3x

Acceptance

ACT: ??
SAT: ????
Rate: 48.6%

Tips for Your Future Career in Technology

If you plan to intern or co-op during the summers, check these tips on preparing for a programming interview How to Prepare Yourself for a Programming Interview How to Prepare Yourself for a Programming Interview The best advice for programming interviews. Any interview can be daunting. Do you know enough to pass? Will your solutions be good enough? What if you choke? Apply these five tips. Read More and these tips for writing a resume for a programming position How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Programming Job Here are five things to do and five things to avoid when putting together your resume for a programming job. Read More .

Are you worried that you’ll enroll in Computer Science and one day wake up to realize you weren’t meant to be a programmer 6 Signs That You Are Not Meant To Be A Programmer 6 Signs That You Are Not Meant To Be A Programmer Not everyone is cut out to be a programmer. If you aren't completely sure that you're meant to be a programmer, here are some signs that may point you in the right direction. Read More ? Don’t fret! The things you learn as a Computer Science student can translate and be applied in other non-coding career paths Coding Isn't For Everyone: 7 Tech Jobs You Can Get Without It Coding Isn't For Everyone: 7 Tech Jobs You Can Get Without It Don't be discouraged if you want to be a part of the tech field -- there are plenty of jobs for people who don't know how to code! Read More . It won’t be a waste.

And don’t forget to sharpen your non-technical “soft” skills 6 Soft Skills Every Technology Worker Needs For Career Success 6 Soft Skills Every Technology Worker Needs For Career Success Some special skills are lacking in the IT field. For career success, you need the right attitude. Here are six important soft skills that'll get you noticed at your next IT job interview. Read More ! Even the best programmers can have trouble starting and building their careers if they have poor communication, teamwork, or networking. A healthy mind and positive attitude can go a long, long way.

Did this help you decide on a college? Which criterion is most important to you? What other schools are you considering? Let us know in the comments!

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