Technology becomes more commonplace every day and with it comes a demand for technology specialists. Students enrolled in computer science programs study the theoretical foundations of computing, including programming languages and database structure, so they can meet that need. Computer science graduates are employed in a variety of industries, from commercial technology companies to healthcare, finance, education, and security organizations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual mean wage for computer and mathematical occupations in Idaho is $70,210. The BLS projects that, in the next decade, employment will increase 24% for software developers, 11% for computer support specialists, 6% for computer systems administrators, and 9% for computer systems analysts, which is why those are four of the most popular computer science jobs in Idaho.
According to the BLS, the annual mean wage for computer and mathematical occupations in Idaho is $70,210.
Higher Education in Idaho
Students pursuing online computer science degrees in Idaho have many options. The major universities in Idaho all boast computer science programs, including the University of Idaho, Boise State University, and Idaho State University. The state offers a mix of rural and urban living and classroom sizes are moderate, creating more opportunities for one-on-one learning than institutions in more populous states.
The combination of classroom instruction and practical application available through on-campus programs helps students succeed. However, many students prefer the flexibility of distance learning. Online students can enroll in the best computer science schools in Idaho, including the University of Idaho and Brigham Young University-Idaho, regardless of their residence. Online programs are usually more affordable than traditional programs, but offer the same education.
Whether you choose to pursue an on-campus or an online computer science degree in Idaho, ensure your program is accredited. Accreditation indicates a school or program has been evaluated by an external agency and has been found to meet standards of academic quality.
Computer Science Careers in Idaho
Computer science careers in Idaho are growing rapidly. After earning a computer science degree, Idaho graduates pursue a variety of coveted, high-paying jobs; graduates become web developers, web designers, research specialists, and senior computer analysts. The BLS projects 15% national growth for web developers by 2026 and 24% growth for software developers. Typically, computer science professionals with higher levels of education secure positions with higher salaries.
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Mean Salary for Computer Science Careers in Idaho
COMPUTER SCIENCE EMPLOYERS IN IDAHO
- Hewlett-Packard: Established in Boise in 1973, HP has become a household name. HP was the first company to develop a laser printer and it has since expanded into other hardware, including personal computers, monitors, 3D printers, scanners, audio equipment, and even tech-related apparel.
- Micron Technology: Micron Technology manufactures memory and storage technologies — such as DRAM, NAND, NOR, and 3D XPoint memory — for autonomous cars, drones, and other applications. Their c200 microSD card is the first 1TB microSD card in the world. Micron employees use math, engineering, technology, and science to transform how the world uses information.
- General Dynamics Information Technology: GDIT works with clients in cybersecurity, telecommunications, and health sectors. The company also works on complex issues related to defense and homeland security, and some positions require federal security clearance.
Computer Science Programs in Idaho
Online computer science programs in Idaho are ideal for busy students who need to balance education with professional or personal commitments. The University of Idaho offers an online bachelor’s in computer science program, which includes coursework in data communications systems, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Brigham Young University-Idaho also offers an online bachelor’s program in computer information technology, which prepares students for careers in network architecture, network engineering, and database administration.
A good computer science program combines computer science courses with math and science classes to produce well-rounded graduates qualified to work in a variety of industries. When researching Idaho computer science schools, make sure your prospective institution is regionally accredited. Attending a regionally accredited school ensures your degree will be recognized by other institutions and by employers.
TYPES OF COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREES
Students in Idaho can pursue an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate in computer science. While most computer science professions only require an associate or bachelor’s for entry-level positions, more advanced degrees mean more opportunities. For instance, research-related or teaching positions at the university level usually require at least a master’s degree. Higher-level industry positions sometimes look for candidates with advanced degrees, too.
An associate degree in computer science prepares students to work in entry-level positions in computing and information technology like database administration, software development, and numerical analysis. Accredited associate programs usually meet general education requirements at public universities, meaning they can fulfill the first half of a bachelor’s in the same discipline.
Associate degrees in computer science require 60-66 credits of coursework and take two years to complete as a full-time student. Required courses for online computer science programs in Idaho include programming languages, computer operating systems, and discrete mathematics. As the minimum required education for entry-level computer science occupations, an associate degree is ideal for students interested in entering a technical field quickly or pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
While some employers hire graduates with associate degrees, most entry-level tech positions require at least a bachelor’s in computer science. Over the course of this four-year degree, students learn to develop mobile and computer applications, write code in various programming languages, manage databases, and oversee computer network architecture.
Most computer science bachelor’s programs require 120 credits, often including a senior capstone. For instance, Boise State University computer science students must complete a senior design project, synthesizing everything they learned during the program. Other bachelor’s student courses may include computational theory, programming languages, ethical issues in computing, and operating system management.
Master’s degrees in computer science supply students with the technical knowledge and problem-solving skills necessary for advanced careers in computing and information technology. Positions involving research, like information research scientist, often require candidates to have at least a master’s degree.
Earning a master’s degree in computer science takes 33-36 credits of coursework and one to two years to complete. Examples of core courses include parallel processing, database theory design and programming, advanced operating systems, and human-computer interaction. Students also learn statistical methodologies for data analytics.
Master’s programs usually culminate in a thesis, but some offer alternative capstone options. For example, the master of science in computer science program at Idaho State University offers a choice between a thesis track and a project track. The thesis track is ideal for students planning to pursue a doctorate while a project track is better suited to those entering the job market upon graduation.
A doctorate in computer science continues training introduced in a master’s with the ultimate goal of helping scholars make significant discoveries and innovations in the field. Students should pursue a Ph.D. in computer science if they wish to pursue a research career or teach at the university level.
Doctoral degrees in computer science require 72-90 credits of coursework and take four to five years to complete. Students are also required to pass qualifying exams, including a written and oral exam conducted by the student’s committee members, and write a dissertation. Dissertations should present original contributions to the field and demonstrate the student’s research abilities.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Idaho
Learners studying computer science in Idaho can benefit from the support and resources professional organizations offer. Members attend meetings and networking events to connect with professionals and build networks that result in professional growth and job opportunities.
- InlandNorthWest Tech Pros Association: INWTPA is focused on providing professional development opportunities to its members and elevating northern Idaho in the tech industry. They host regional meetings every quarter so members can network and share best practices. Any working professional currently employed in the IT industry is eligible for membership, and there are corporate membership options.
- Idaho Technology Council: The Idaho Technology Council strives to unite industry, research, government, and education concerning technology throughout the state. Their mission is to advance workforce development and further the growth of Idaho technology corporations by hosting conferences and events that showcase technological leadership and innovation or provide professional development and networking opportunities.
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