In Kansas, the tech sector contributes $8.3 billion to the state’s economy every year, according to a CompTIA report. The state’s leading tech positions include software and web developers, network architects, and computer support specialists. CompTIA also reports that tech professionals earn wages 82% higher than average in Kansas. With the growing demand and high salary potentials for computer and IT occupations, professionals with a computer science degree benefit from a wealth of job opportunities in Kansas.
During a computer science degree, students gain specialized knowledge of systems management, software development, and information security. Graduates work as information research scientists, computer programmers, and software developers, depending on their degree. Online computer science programs in Kansas benefit working professionals and people pursuing a change of career. With flexible, convenient schedules, online programs help students advance their career or enter the tech sector.
CompTIA also reports that tech professionals earn wages 82% higher than average in Kansas.
Higher Education in Kansas
Although budget cuts from the state legislature have led to increased tuition at state schools, the Foresight 2020 program has continued its decade-long initiative to improve Kansas’s higher education system. Officials aim to increase the number of adults in Kansas who have a postsecondary degree to at least 60% by the year 2020. Administrators use certain measures, such as adult education stats, to pinpoint issues and track this progress.
Officials also hope to reduce workforce shortages and increase the number of degrees in STEM-related fields earned in-state. Five of the state’s universities offer a bachelor’s of science in computer science, including the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Fort Hays State University, and Emporia State University. Online computer science programs in Kansas are also available at some schools, including through Fort Hays State University’s virtual college. Online students often have access to a personal adviser and many other student services, such as online writing labs and live tutors.
Computer Science Careers in Kansas
The BLS estimates the U.S. will add over 500,000 new jobs in computer and information technology within the coming decade. Students who earn a computer science degree in Kansas go on to become computer engineers, support specialists, web developers, network architects, and information security analysts. Most of these jobs command six-figure salaries. Many graduates choose to work for the government, while others find employment at scientific research companies or universities. Per the BLS, more than 17% of computer scientists work at scientific centers.
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Mean Salary for Computer Science Careers in Kansas
COMPUTER SCIENCE EMPLOYERS IN KANSAS
- In Touch Solutions: The Kansas City IT professionals group listed In Touch Solutions as one of the top companies in Kansas looking for IT talent. This pharmaceutical marketing agency helps pharma brands market products and connect to consumers. In Touch routinely hires web developers, system engineers, and data scientists.
- Company Kitchen: A food service company that provides food service options to workplaces, Company Kitchen coordinates cafes, vending/coffee machines, and mini-marketplaces for companies. The IT department at Company Kitchen provides wellness support and nutrition tracking for employees. The company employs many developers, front-end programmers, and DevOps engineers; these workers also have the opportunity to attend the annual Compute Midwest conference.
- Garmin: Garmin creates electronic navigation products for automobiles, aviation, and marine life tracking. The company also produces watches, sonar black boxes, transponders, and other tech products. Garmin often seeks IT professionals in the areas of mobile development, java development, database administration, and system engineering. This company operates a service center in Olathe, KS.
HOW MUCH DO COMPUTER SCIENTISTS MAKE IN KANSAS?
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Computer Science Programs in Kansas
Computer science majors in Kansas can choose between on-campus and online degree tracks. The differences between onsite and distance learning programs vary depending on the institution, but most programs use the same on-campus instructors to conduct online courses. Some schools, such as Fort Hays State University, also dedicate an entire staff to online learning.
Many computer science colleges in Kansas allow on-campus and online students to select a specialization. For example, Fort Hays State offers tracks with business, math, geographic applications, physics, technology studies, and networking. These specializations include additional elective courses, allowing students to tailor their degrees to better fit their academic and professional goals.
Distance courses are delivered through learning management systems, like Blackboard or Canvas, which let students access coursework and syllabi and interact with their peers and instructors online. The majority of classes are delivered asynchronously, although some professors may require students to login at specific times to engage in class discussions. The accessibility and flexibility offered by online programming benefit working students with busy schedules who cannot attend on-campus courses.
Online computer science programs in Kansas undergo the same rigorous accreditation processes as their on-campus counterparts. State-run computer science schools in Kansas hold accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, while the Computing Programmatic Association primarily accredits computer science programs.
TYPES OF COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREES
Prospective students considering online computer science degrees in Kansas can earn an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a Ph.D. in computer science, depending on their career goals and academic background. As computer science professionals earn higher degrees, they increase their salary potential and job responsibilities. With a master’s degree, for example, graduates can work as information systems managers or research scientists. Online programs offer flexibility and accessibility for people considering a computer science degree.
In an associate degree in computer science, students learn fundamental concepts in computer science, including programming languages, web development, information security, and computer systems. Students also take general education courses in mathematics, social sciences, and humanities. These requirements vary depending on whether students earn their computer science degree as an associate of science, an associate of arts, or an associate in applied science. The degree, which typically takes two years, prepares graduates for entry-level positions or to transfer into a bachelor’s in computer science program.
After earning an associate degree, graduates can transfer to a bachelor’s program in computer science. At many colleges and universities, an associate degree fulfills the general education requirements for a bachelor’s degree. Rather than spending four years earning a bachelor’s in computer science, transfer students complete their degree in as little as two years. By considering associate degree online computer science programs in Kansas, students can save a significant amount in tuition costs.
Professionals with a bachelor’s degree in computer science work as software engineers, web developers, and information security analysts. During an undergraduate degree in computer science, students complete general education requirements in mathematics, English, and communications.
Computer science majors also take specialized courses within the computer science department. The curriculum can include computer theory, data management, and computer architecture classes. Most programs offer electives so students expand their skills in a focus area like cybersecurity, mobile computing, or game development. Computer science majors often study programming languages, software systems, and operating systems during their degree. Some computer science programs offer internships or practicums to build hands-on experience.
Most bachelor’s programs require 120 credits of coursework and take four years. With a bachelor’s in computer science, graduates qualify for many entry-level positions in the tech industry. Professionals considering management-level positions or some research career paths can benefit from a master’s in computer science.
Earning a master’s in computer science leads to management and research computer science careers in Kansas. Many of the highest-paying career paths in computer science, including computer and information research scientists, require a master’s degree. During a master’s program, graduate students complete two years of coursework, with classes in information management, computer and network security, artificial intelligence, and software theory.
Master’s students often choose a focus area to specialize their degree, either through electives or a concentration. Some online computer science programs in Kansas incorporate management coursework, for example, preparing graduates for careers as computer and information systems managers.
In addition to the required coursework, master’s programs may incorporate internships for students to gain professional experience. Many programs culminate in a research project or thesis. A master’s degree in computer science demonstrates advanced theoretical and practical skills, helping computing professionals stand out on the job market.
With a doctorate in computer science, graduates qualify for academic and research positions. Many of these positions either require or prefer candidates with a doctorate. For example, most computer science professors at colleges and universities hold a Ph.D. in computer science. Some industry research positions may prefer candidates with the research experience gained during a doctorate.
Earning a Ph.D. in computer science typically takes 3-5 years. During a doctoral program, graduate students study advanced computer science theory and conduct original research in the field. Doctoral students complete two years of coursework, conduct research in their focus area, and work with a faculty adviser to write a dissertation. Students also specialize in a field within computer science, becoming experts in their concentration area. Applicants typically need a master’s degree in computer science to gain admission to a doctoral program.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Kansas
Every computer science student should consider joining a professional organization. On-campus organizations at Kansas computer science schools host info sessions and career fairs to attract new members. Additionally, online students need not attend school on-campus to join an organization. These associations host annual conferences and provide continuing education courses, career services, and other benefits to members.
- Association for Computing Machinery: ACM counts nearly 100,000 members worldwide, with regional chapters in many areas. For example, the K-State chapter hosts events locally to connect computing professionals, students, and educators. ACM also offers publications in computer science and runs special interest groups on different subfields of computing.
- Kansas Association of Teachers of Science: An association for Kansas science teachers, including computer science educators, KATS offers events to support teachers. Part of the National Science Teachers Association, KATS connects local educators for networking and professional development opportunities. The organization’s KAMP conferences bring together educators, confer awards, and discuss teaching challenges.
- Wichita Student Branch of the IEEE: A local branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Wichita State University organization supports students. Part of a network of 1,300 student branches, the organization hosts weekly meetings, events with computer trainings, and educational sessions.
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