Computer Science Programs in Kansas

Per a 2017 CompTIA Cyberstates report, Kansas ranks 29th in the nation in terms of its tech employment. Approximately 3.6% of the state’s population works in the tech industry. IT services and custom software services are the leading tech industry sectors in the state. Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 19% increase in the number of computer and information research scientists over the next decade.

To meet this demand, the Kansas Board of Regents recently created the Foresight 2020 program, which strives to increase higher education enrollment, prepare students to work in the field of computer science in Kansas, and upgrade state universities. The University of Kansas (KU) is one of the best computer science schools in Kansas and offers a popular BS in computer science program. More than 70% of KU graduates obtain a computer science job after graduation; these individuals typically go on to make over $80,000 within five years. Per BLS statistics, most Kansas computer and IT workers take home between $70,000 and $100,000 each year.

Per BLS statistics, most Kansas computer and IT workers take home between $70,000 and $100,000 each year.

Higher Education in Kansas

The Kansas Board of Regents oversees all colleges and universities in the state; there are 26 colleges and seven universities located 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’ 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. Another key goal is 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 have access to a personal advisor 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. Kansas State University’s computer science program received almost $5 million in grant funding last year and boasts a state-of-the-art, $40 million building in the engineering complex. Per the BLS, more than 17% of computer scientists work at scientific centers. The aforementioned CompTIA Cyberstates report states that over 7,000 Kansas residents work as computer user support specialists, making this the leading computer science occupation in the state. Network and computer systems administrator is the second most popular tech occupation, consisting of more than 5,000 workers.

Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Senior Software Engineer $104,500
Software Developer $65,700
Software Engineer $76,700

Master's Degree

Senior Software Engineer $116,000
Software Developer $80,000
Software Engineer $90,500

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 is a pharmaceutical marketing agency that helps pharma brands market products and connect to consumers. In Touch routinely hires web developers, system engineers, and data scientists.
  • Company Kitchen: Company Kitchen is a food service company that provides food service options to workplaces. It coordinate 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 to track marine life. The company also produces watches, sonar black boxes, transponders and other tech products. Garmin is often looking for 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

The average annual salary for a computer science graduate depends on several factors, including their location, experience, and education. Today, the number of computer science graduates in Kansas remains relatively low; the KC Tech Council released a report in 2017 stating that although Kansas’ tech industry is growing, there is still a shortage of qualified workers. Due to this high demand, recent computer science graduates earn significantly higher salaries than most workers in the state of Kansas.

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Kansas 36,910 $34.82 $72,440
United States 4,165,140 $42.25 $87,880

Source: BLS

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 have an entire staff that is dedicated 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 emphases. 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 increased accessibility and flexibility offered by online programming is especially helpful for working students who have busy schedules and 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.

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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. The table below features descriptions and basic data about each degree type.

Associate in Computer Science

 

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

Bachelor’s in Computer Science

 

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

Master’s in Computer Science

 

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

Computer Science Ph.D

 

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

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What Schools Offer a Computer Science Degree in Kansas?


Students interested in pursuing an online computer science degree in Kansas can peruse the following list, which includes a wealth of information about the types of course delivery, admissions process, and important deadlines for computer science programs in the state. This list exclusively features accredited computer science programs in Kansas that have received regional and/or national recognition.

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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 don’t have to 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 Computer Machinery: The ACM is the world’s largest association for computer scientists and technicians. It operates two student chapters at Kansas State University: a general association for all students and a specialty organization for women.
  • Kansas Association of Teachers of Science: KATS is a chapter of the National Science Teachers Association. This association works with teachers from all science disciplines to advance and improve the science educational system in Kansas.
  • Wichita Student Branch of the IEEE: The IEEE is a global organization dedicated to advancing technology for all of humanity. It focuses on electronic and information technology by creating strategies to improve technology and educate consumers.

Additional Computer Science Resources in Kansas

  • Excel in CTE Initiative: Launched in 2012, this program encourages Kansas high school students to take technical courses at local colleges and universities by covering their tuition costs. Computer science students can take courses offering certification in Microsoft and Cisco Certified Network Association. The Board of Regents works with the governor’s office to oversee funding for approved schools and programs.
  • Credit for Prior Learning: Postsecondary institutions award college credits to students based on work experience, military service, training programs, advanced coursework, and community service. Students can complete a prior learning assessment to test their knowledge and skill set. Computer science students with certifications or work experience can take advantage of the CPL process o earn their degrees faster.
  • Credit for Military Alignment: Through this program, servicemen and women can receive college credits for military training. Program administrators award credits based on a student’s position in the military. MOS-25B Information Technology specialists receive information and computer support technology credits from local community colleges, which they can use to complete their degrees.
  • Computer Support Specialist Alignment: The Kansas Board of Regents works with local employers in the computer science industry to create a list of credentials needed for computer support specialists working at Kansas companies. Colleges then adjust their programs to align with these industry standards, producing graduates who are prepared to successfully enter the workforce.