Colorado is the eighth-largest state in the nation with a population of more than 5.5 million people. According to the BLS, Colorado has a high concentration of jobs in the computer and mathematics industries; as advanced technologies become increasingly ubiquitous, these industries are expected to continue growing. Job opportunities in the field, including information systems managers, research scientists, network architects, computer programmers, systems analysts, and database administrators, are prevalent in the cities of Boulder, Denver, Aurora, Fort Collins, Broomfield, and Colorado Springs.
According to Matrix Marketing Group, Colorado is home to more than 10,000 tech companies. Additionally, more companies and technology innovators have begun moving to the city of Boulder, especially since Google recently opened offices there. Google currently employs more than 650 people in Colorado, but its new campus in Boulder is expected to triple that number.
According to Matrix Marketing Group, Colorado is home to more than 10,000 tech companies.
Higher Education in Colorado
Encompassing a large swathe of the Southern Rocky Mountains, Colorado is known for its beautiful outdoor landscapes. Home to more than 30 public colleges, 100 private universities, 255,000 students, and 140 libraries, the state awards more than 37,000 undergraduate degrees and 10,000 graduate degrees each year.
Some of the best institutions of higher education in Colorado include the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Denver, Regis University, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado College, Redstone College, and Colorado State University. Graduates from these schools have a higher earning potential than the national average.
The University of Colorado Boulder is home to more than 26,000 undergraduate students and boasts numerous undergraduate and graduate programs. Additionally, many students decide to pursue an online degree in Colorado; distance programs provide students with increased flexibility. As an example, Colorado Technical University offers both on-campus and online computer science degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.
Colorado is one of 16 member territories in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). The WICHE is a nonprofit, regional organization that facilitates research sharing to improve student success and accessibility to higher education.
Computer Science Careers in Colorado
Graduates from computer science schools in Colorado go on to succeed in a variety of technical and IT-related jobs. Some computer professionals prefer to work with hardware, while others show an aptitude for writing software. Various job options include engineering, web development, programming, security and systems analysis, network administration, IT architecture, and information research.
The impact of computers and information technology created a continual need for the development of new and advanced computer software systems, triggering stable job growth in the field. For example, according to the BLS, the number of computer hardware engineers is projected to see 5% growth over the next several years.
Robotics development is also known to have a strong presence in Colorado. Additionally, because of its relatively low cost of living compared to other technological hubs, Denver is known for being one of the best cities for computer science jobs. According to Nerdwallet, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Denver all rank among the top 25 best places for tech jobs. Furthermore, Glassdoor reports that Denver is one of the top five cities in the U.S. in terms of programmer analyst salaries.
Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree
Computer Science Employers in Colorado
- Lockheed Martin: Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company with its autonomous systems branch housed in Littleton, Colorado. Focused on the research and application of robotic vehicles and systems, Lockheed Martin employs several software and hardware engineers, systems integration analysts, systems engineers, systems administrations, research scientists, and cyber data analysts.
- Google: Boulder is home to a Google engineering hub. Software engineers, applications administrators, network operators, and systems engineers work together on various projects, including Google Drive and Google Maps. Software engineers at Google in Boulder makes an average salary of $167,000 per year.
- Oracle: Boasting a variety of cloud applications, engineered systems, and platform services, Oracle employs many computer science professionals, from platform managers and application support engineers to cloud architects, database engineers, and system administrators. The company has close to 2,000 employees in field offices in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Broomfield.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Colorado?
Many components influence the annual salaries of working professionals. Factors include a candidate’s experience and education, a company’s reputation, the availability of talent in the field, and a worker’s geographic location. If a company is located in a city with limited access to talented engineers, it may be forced to pay a premium to import workers. Software engineers, IT administrators, and computer scientists who live in metropolitan areas often earn high salaries. Additionally, Colorado workers in this field make significantly more than the national average.
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Computer Science Programs in Colorado
With more than 13 Colorado computer science schools, and many areas with high concentrations of tech startups and global IT companies, Colorado is an excellent place to attend school for computer science. The state boasts programs at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. Some of the best computer science schools in Colorado include Colorado College, Colorado Mesa University, Colorado School of Mines, and the University of Colorado.
Computer science degrees emphasize an understanding of the theoretical aspects of advanced technology. Students who earn an online computer science degree in Colorado takes classes related to theory, software, and hardware. A master’s degree or graduate certificate teaches key concepts about computer science and provides the opportunity to specialize in a specific field, such as software engineering or cyber security science. A doctorate degree focuses on research and is a good fit for students interested in pursuing a career in academia. Graduates from computer science programs in Colorado also gain a strong foundation in mathematics.
Some students prefer to take distance classes and earn an online computer science degree in Colorado. There are several schools that offer online classes, such as the University of Denver, Regis University, and the University of Northern Colorado. Studying online allows students to study and complete coursework at their convenience. This is especially helpful for individuals who want to continue working while earning their degrees.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
There are many types of degrees students can choose when pursuing education in computer science: associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate degree. In general, further formal education within a field results in a higher salary. In addition, some positions require a certain level of degree. For instance, many research positions or teaching positions at the university level require at least a master’s or doctorate degree. Below are descriptions and basic data about each degree type.
An associate in computer science provides students with foundational knowledge in computer languages and programming. In addition to learning about computer systems, students will emerge with general education courses usually required by four year colleges. Graduates with an associate degree qualify for entry-level computer science positions in the job market.
Average Program Length – 2 Years
Median Salary – $32,897
A bachelor’s in computer science provides students with knowledge of operating systems, a variety of programming languages, database management, and computer systems and architecture. These programs typically require 120 credit hours of coursework and a capstone project. Many employers in the industry are increasingly hiring individuals with a bachelor’s degree.
Average Program Length – 4 Years
Median Salary – $60,835
A master’s in computer science provides students with a deeper understanding of computer systems, design, and programming languages. Some master’s programs may provide specializations for those who wish to concentrate further in a specific area. Individuals with a master’s degree typically earn a higher salary upon graduation than those with a bachelor’s.
Average Program Length – 1-2 Years
Median Salary – $104,269
A doctorate degree in computer science is designed for individuals who wish to pursue research in the field. These intensive programs often require students to narrow their field of study and design and carry out a specific research project that culminates in a dissertation. Graduates with a Ph.D in computer science often go into academia as computer science professors.
Average Program Length – 4+ Years
Median Salary – $126,744
What Schools Offer a Computer Science Degree in Colorado?
The best schools hold institutional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, but prospective students should also look for computer science programs that are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. Distance learners should also check for accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. The following list details the accredited computer science online programs in Colorado.
schools that match your search
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Colorado
Joining a professional organization is a good idea for working professionals, recent college graduates, and current students. Members of organizations receive numerous benefits, including job and career services; networking opportunities, such as access to events, conferences, workshops, and other programs; and access to specialized publications and journals. Some organizations focus on a specific demographic; for example, the Association for Women in Computing promotes the advancement of women in technology and engineering professions.
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): With more than 100,000 members, the ACM is the world’s largest computing society. Dedicated to sharing resources, addressing key challenges, and inciting important conversations, ACM members benefit from professional development and networking opportunities, career resources, and access to publications.
- Computing Research Association (CRA): Dedicated to strengthening the field of computer science in Colorado, the CRA is made up of academic departments, laboratories, and other professional societies. Members benefit from job posting services, news subscriptions, and access to workshops, seminars, and conferences.
- Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI): A nonprofit scientific society devoted to the responsible use of artificial intelligence, the AAAI strives to improve the understanding, teaching, and training of current and future AI developments. Members can attend conferences, symposia, and workshops. The organization also awards grants and scholarships.
Additional Computer Science Resources in Colorado
- Connecting Colorado: Connecting Colorado is a useful resource for college students, recent graduates from online computer science programs in Colorado, and experienced computer science professionals looking for work. Part of the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment, Connecting Colorado helps match job seekers and hiring businesses. Computer science professionals can conduct job searches, post their resumes, and apply for jobs through a searchable database.
- GovernmentJobs.com: GovernmentJobs.com is an online recruiting space where computer science professionals can look for jobs working for the state of Colorado. Job seekers create an account, search through a database, and apply for specific jobs. The site also provides answers to frequently asked questions, job descriptions, and a help and support center.
- Boulder Area STEM Education Coalition (BASEC): BASEC is a great resource for computer science professionals in Colorado. Dedicated to supporting Boulder County as a leader in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, BASEC promotes collaboration between businesses, the community, and the government. The coalition strives to improve accessibility to STEM education and create more STEM-related jobs within the community.
- Colorado Engineering Magazine: Colorado Engineering Magazine is a yearly student publication at the University of Colorado Boulder. This publication helps computer science professionals learn about about the latest research trends related to AI, robotics, and autonomous technology.