We live in an evolving world. COVID-19 has reshaped almost every aspect of our daily lives, while innovations in the tech sector are constantly resculpting the ways we communicate, learn, socialize, and work. From Fortune 500 companies to small local businesses, every corner of the U.S. economy has been impacted by forces like automation, globalization, AI, and the rise of Big Data. And as employers find ways to adapt to these forces, savvy job-seekers would be wise to stay one step ahead.
If you’re thinking about what’s the best master’s degree programs, you may want to focus on industries that have a high potential for continued relevance and growth over time. Another solid strategy is to explore careers that are unlikely to be threatened by outsourcing and automation. By looking to the future, not only can you improve your job prospects — but you can also harness higher earning potential.
The question is, what are the best graduate degrees for the future? What is the best field to get your master’s degree in? What sort of skills will enable you to remain relevant and in-demand, even in the face of technological progress or economic upheaval? While we can’t look into a crystal ball, we can look at data, statistics, and trends to get a clearer idea about the future of employment. Follow along as we dive into three trending master’s degrees in the U.S., then contact our graduate admissions office for information about applying.
What Are the Best Master’s Degree Programs?
While there’s no single master’s degree that can truly be dubbed “the best,” there are some strong contenders for the most in-demand and relevant. Below, you’ll find three of the most promising and worthwhile degrees you can pursue, based on factors like job outlook, average pay, and degree versatility.
Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS)
Right now, you’re reading these words on your smartphone, your tablet, your laptop, or your desktop computer. In fact, computer systems make nearly every aspect of our society and daily lives possible, from our economy to our healthcare system to infrastructure and transit. The field of computer and information technology isn’t going anywhere — and neither are the associated careers. On the contrary, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that workers in this industry earn a median annual wage of over $97,430 as of May 2021 — a salary which is more than double the $45,760 “median annual wage for all occupations.”
A Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) is a versatile, in-demand degree that enables you to branch out into a wide range of careers, many of which have high earning potential. Equipped with your MSCS, you can become a computer and information research scientist, an occupation which had a 2021 median salary of over $131,490 per year and “much faster than average job growth” of 21 percent. You can also consider becoming a software developer, which had a 2021 median salary of over $109,020 and job growth of 25 percent. Another area you could pursue or a database administrator, which had a 2021 median salary of over $101,000 and healthy job growth of nine percent. These figures reflect the most recent available BLS data.
National University offers accredited online and on-campus MSCS programs. Learn more about additional program information here. One of the program’s most unique features is a three-month, deadline-sensitive project working with real clients, challenging students to test their practical skills in the field and under pressure.
Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MS-CSIA)
According to CSO Online, which publishes news about data breaches and protection, a staggering 3.5 billion people have had their personal information hacked or stolen since the start of the twenty-first century. Considering statistics like these, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity degrees are in-demand — a fact that’s reflected in the employment data surrounding this emerging industry.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in cybersecurity or information security are expected to grow by an impressive 35 percent over the coming decade, suggesting that information security analysts will be in high demand for the foreseeable future. The growing demand for information security analysts is also reflected in their median pay, which the BLS reported at just over $100,000 as of 2021.
A master’s degree in cybersecurity, such as a Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MS-CSIA), can position you for a rewarding career as an information security analyst. An MS-CSIA can also open the door to other, equally lucrative careers, such as cybercrime analyst, cybersecurity consultant, cybersecurity architect, cybersecurity engineer, incident analyst, or vulnerability tester.
The MS-CSIA program at National University is an accredited graduate degree program that can be completed entirely online. To learn more about earning your master’s degree in cybersecurity at National University, explore program details here, or talk to one of our graduate admissions advisors about how to apply and enroll.
Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS)
In 2012, Harvard Business Review crowned data scientist as “the sexiest job of the twenty-first century,” generating buzz which has only continued to grow since the publication of its original article. As HBR puts it, a data scientist is “a high-ranking professional with the training and curiosity to make discoveries in the world of big data” — a world that is expanding at breakneck speed.
According to LinkedIn, which called data scientist data scientist “the most promising job of 2019,” data science employment figures showed a whopping “36 percent increase in job openings in the U.S. over the past year” — a truly astounding statistic, considering that the BLS classifies growth of just 14 percent or higher as being “much faster than average.” If your goal is to obtain an in-demand, highly sought-after degree that has a stellar growth outlook, the Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) is difficult, and perhaps impossible, to beat.
Data science is an appealing profession for another reason, too: the potential for high earnings. According to BLS statistics, data scientists enjoyed a mean annual wage of $100,910 as of May 2021, the most recent data available. In its roundup of the most promising jobs of 2019, LinkedIn reported a median base salary of $130,000.
Intrigued by this fast-growing, high-paying field, which has diverse applications in virtually every industry? Then explore our overview of the Master of Science in Data Science program at National University, or see program details (PDF) for additional information.
Earn Your Master’s Degree Online or On-Campus
The programs listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. National University offers dozens of flexible, fast-paced, accredited graduate degree programs — many of which can be completed 100% online. From education and psychology to criminal justice and nursing, to business and marketing degrees, you’re sure to find a program that fulfills your professional goals and fits your busy lifestyle.
Worried about the cost of attendance? NU offers a wide range of scholarships, grants, and student loan packages to make getting a higher education affordable. We even provide special discounts on tuition for military Veterans and servicemembers, which are available to all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. As a Yellow Ribbon school, we proudly accept the post 9/11 GI Bill, which means military students hardly pay any tuition out of pocket.
Pursue your degree, increase your earning power, learn valuable skills, and open exciting new professional doors — all from the comfort and convenience of your laptop. Contact our graduate admissions office today and ask about how to apply.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. (2022, September 8). Computer and Information Technology Occupations. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved September 9, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. (2022, September 8). Computer and Information Research Scientists. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved September 9, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. (2022, September 9). Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved September 9, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. (2022, September 8). Database Administrators and Architects. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved September 9, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. (2022, September 8). Information Security Analysts. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved September 9, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
Data Science, M. I. D. S. (2022, April). Cyber Security Salary Guide. MastersInDataScience.org. Retrieved September 9, 2022, from https://www.mastersindatascience.org/careers/cybersecurity-salary-guide/
This post was updated on December 9th, 2022 to allow for the most up-to-date information.