The start-up craze is in full swing, and college students everywhere are looking for ways to cash in their ideas to start working even before graduation day. The skill most in demand? Computer programming. Whether you’re looking to build your own app, innovative web technology, or just head to Google, knowing how to code is crucial for success. These schools offer the top computer science programs in the U.S. (International universities were excluded from this list), as determined by U.S. News. Rankings took into account academic reputation, employer reputation, and citations per paper. Regardless of where you end up at college or your start-up ambitions (or lack thereof), computer coding has become the way of the future and sneaking in a class or two wouldn’t be a bad idea – you may just invent the next Facebook.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – 92.8
Not surprising, MIT tops the list with its world-renowned computer science program that remains highly focused on scientific and technological research.
A few things that came out of MIT: Dropbox, Hewlett Packard and Guitar Hero/Rock Band (can you say WOO?!)
2. Stanford University – 91.9
Stanford’s intimate relationship with Silicon Valley has led numerous students to start up tech businesses. While there has been speculation that the school is becoming a tech incubator with a football team, its computer science program is still enormously respected worldwide and has a pretty impressive reputation.
Without Stanford, we may not have got wireless internet, iPhones or a little thing called Google. Snapchat users have recent Stanford alumni to thank, and the rest of us are thankful for all those ugly selfies you see people taking on the subway.
3. Carnegie Mellon University – 91.0
A strong focus on academics drives Carnegie Mellon’s computer science program and its professors are famous for helping students find their passions for all things code. No surprise that it turned out the creators of Adobe Systems, the chief architect of Intel Premium Pro and the developer of the indispensable Emoticon.
4. University of California, Berkeley – 89.1
The Bay Area arch rival of Stanford, Berkeley offers competition beyond the athletic field. Its computer science program is widely respected and its proximity to Silicon Valley doesn’t hurt either. Berkeley alumni can be credited with Sendmail (a mail transfer agent that is responsible for delivering 70 percent of email in the world), the seminal classic game of Pong and the coining of the term “blog.” Where would we be without them?
5. Harvard University – 88.6
Zuckerberg. Enough said.
6. Princeton University – 83.7
Although the start-ups that Princeton spawned may have less name recognition than others, they are responsible for some amazing advances, especially in the biotechnology world. Alumni from this esteemed program have developed diagnostic technology for cancer patients, tools for genome biology, but perhaps most importantly – Michelle Obama went there.
7. University of California – Los Angeles – 82.4
One of the larger schools on this list, U.C.L.A. has an enormous amount to offer computer science students. Recently, it began a start-up accelerator program, Startup U.C.L.A., to help guide and fund students’ ideas. The L.A. scene isn’t too shabby for up-and-coming programmers either.
8. Cornell University – 81.2
Creators of some of the first computer games attended Cornell, setting the stage for the massive amounts of time-wasting computer activities we’re able to enjoy today. And let’s not forget RenderMan, a groundbreaking program for 3D software.
9. Columbia University – 80.1
Entrepreneurs who studied at Columbia seem determined to get people together. They’re responsible for the likes of Match.com, GroupMe, DateMySchool, and the one, the only, Moviefone — which gave us the best fake number of all time to give to friends and strangers…”Hello, and welcome to Moviefone!”