Whether you’re just graduating from high school or changing careers, the most important thing you can do to launch your career is to get a degree in computer science. A bachelor’s degree is the standard level of education in the software industry as it’s both sufficient and necessary for most positions: few jobs require more education and few will accept less. It typically takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree as a full-time student.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider going to a state university in your home state. They usually have names like University of Oregonor Oregon State University. Most offer tuition discounts to residents of the state or those who can establish residency.

For the very best education in computer science, consider the universities on the following list. These schools have consistently had strong computer science programs and have produced some of the brightest graduates in the software industry:

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  2. Stanford University, Stanford, California
  3. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  4. University of California–Berkeley, Berkeley, California
  5. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
  6. University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
  7. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  8. Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
  9. University of Texas–Austin, Austin, Texas
  10. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
  11. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
  12. University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  13. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  14. University of California–Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  15. University of California–San Diego, La Jolla, California
  16. University of Maryland–College Park, College Park, Maryland