Students who complete online computer science programs in Kentucky can benefit from field positions within the state. Specifically, BitSource and Teleworks USA offer roles in software development and telecommunications. These companies prioritize digital expansion, which can lead to an increase in local jobs in the future.
Computer science careers in Kentucky provide varying salaries and employment. Computer systems analysts in the state, for example, boast average earnings of $72,720 in more than 4,000 positions, while web developers earn an average of $64,780 and boast nearly 2,000 jobs. Overall, Kentucky offers more than 30,000 computer and mathematical roles with an average pay of $68,790. These numbers demonstrate that earning a computer science degree in Kentucky can lead to well-paying jobs.
In general, many computer science careers boast high growth projections. In particular, the bureau of labor statistics (BLS) projects 19% growth for computer and information research scientists, 24% for software developers, and 28% for information security analysts by 2026.
Higher Education in Kentucky
Kentucky remains home to eight public universities, 14 private liberal arts colleges, more than 30 private universities and colleges, and 16 community colleges. The University of Kentucky educates more than 27,000 students and reflects an 80% freshman retention rate. Kentucky’s community colleges offer affordable associate degree programs, after which graduates may enter bachelor’s programs or begin their careers.
Even the best computer science schools in Kentucky offer lower tuition rates than those in other states. The University of Kentucky offers significant discounts for in-state students, but even out-of-state students pay less than those attending top public universities in other states. The large number of Kentucky computer science schools allows students to consider tuition, degree requirements, and available specializations to choose the ideal school for their goals.
Computer Science Careers in Kentucky
Graduates of computer science programs in Kentucky enjoy many career options, where professionals in the field work throughout the public and private sectors. Once employed, on-the-job training and work experience qualify professionals for promotions and career advancement. As access to broadband internet grows throughout the state, computer scientists work to optimize these networks, allowing rural Kentuckians to reap the economic benefits of faster internet access.
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Mean Salary for Computer Science Careers in Kentucky
COMPUTER SCIENCE EMPLOYERS IN KENTUCKY
- GE Consumer and Industrial: GE’s Louisville, Kentucky, facility employs 5,000 engineers, technicians, and computer scientists. The Louisville plant exists as one of GE’s largest service centers in the United States.
- Humana: From its Louisville office, Humana directs 4,600 healthcare professionals working throughout Kentucky. Computer scientists manage patient records and create tools to help physicians and nurses better serve patients.
- Lexmark International: Lexmark, a world leader in printer products, employes 3,100 Kentuckians at its Lexington corporate office, as well as its research and development center. Computer scientists improve Lexmark’s printers and other imaging products.
Computer Science Programs in Kentucky
Online computer science colleges in Kentucky provide flexibility for students. Online learners can view recorded lectures at their convenience, and improved online classrooms allow students to interact with peers and professors in real time. Online programs prove ideal for learners who work or possess personal commitments. Western Kentucky University offers an online bachelor’s in computer information technology, which accepts both freshman and transfer students to mirror the on-campus experience.
Accreditation remains a crucial factor when choosing a school. This process indicates that a school or program meets set academic standards. Computer science schools in Kentucky earn regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and online computer science programs in Kentucky may also hold accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which specializes in distance learning programs. When considering computer science programs, look for accreditation from ABET, a private organization that reviews applied and natural science, computing, and engineering programs.
TYPES OF COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREES
A person interested in computer science careers in Kentucky can pursue an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate in the field. An associate degree prepares learners for entry-level positions, with each higher degree opening new career doors due to the advanced concepts covered in curricula. Additionally, higher degrees offer concentrations and more field-centered credits to build computer science knowledge.
Higher degrees can also increase salaries. Specifically, World Education Services reports that computer and math employees with bachelor’s degrees average $3.044 million in a lifetime. These earnings increase to $3.541 million for those with master’s degrees and $3.89 million for professionals with doctorates.
These associate programs require general education and elective courses, so learners might only enroll in 18-24 courses in computer science. To gain proficiency, students should pursue higher degrees. Fortunately, schools often design degrees for transfers into four-year programs.
Ideal candidates include students who want to try out the field without committing to a longer program or learners who need to raise their GPA before applying to four-year programs. Students may also choose to pursue associate degrees at community colleges for financial reasons since these schools often charge low tuition.
A bachelor’s in computer science requires approximately 120 credits that students can complete in four years. These programs include similar topics to associate degrees, such as programming languages and data management. However, bachelor’s students encounter more in-depth ideas of operating systems, web programming, and network security. Coursework may also address data mining, data visualization, and mobile programming.
Some bachelor’s programs offer concentrations, such as software engineering, information security, and data science. These focuses may prepare students for specific careers, such as information security analyst positions. Candidates also qualify for roles as computer hardware engineers, computer network architects, computer programmers, and database administrators. Each career features a median salary that surpasses $80,000.
Ideal bachelor’s students boast strong problem-solving and technological skills, as well as a willingness to continue learning as technology evolves. These learners typically earn bachelor’s-level positions or intend to enter graduate programs.
Master’s degrees in computer science often require 32-45 credits that students complete in 3-5 years. These online computer science programs in Kentucky explore computer languages, database management, and information security, but may progress into more advanced concepts of network design, engineering, and digital forensics.
Candidates may learn to create and assess the value of software, in addition to constructing more user-friendly systems and networks. This focus on improved human experiences equips learners for careers as computer and information research scientists, which require master’s degrees and boast a 19% growth projection by 2026.
Master’s programs may offer concentrations, including computer networks and data analytics, that relate to careers, such as computer systems analysts. These online computer science degrees in Kentucky help computer science professionals advance and assist candidates first entering the field. Each student should possess a strong work ethic and field interest to persevere through graduate courses and capstone projects, which may include theses, exams, and research projects.
Ph.D. programs in computer science vary in structure. For instance, one program may require 64 credits, while another option calls for 30. In general, however, students can complete these degrees in two to five years.
Departments may offer similar courses in risk analysis, algorithms, and data management for these online computer science programs in Kentucky. Other required classes, though, can differ based on specializations, such as cybersecurity and big data analytics.
Doctorate curricula also varies because students spend semesters researching and developing dissertations, which conclude research-heavy programs. Candidates should possess the discipline to dive into research and think creatively for innovative interpretations of their research while boasting problem-solving skills to resolve technological issues.
Doctorate holders in computers and math, on average, earn 10% more in lifetime earnings than candidates with a master’s. These graduates can also obtain advanced positions. For instance, a college or university may require a Ph.D. for postsecondary educators, who earn a median salary of $76,000. These roles hold growth projections of 15% by 2026.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Kentucky
Membership in professional organizations remains beneficial for students, recent graduates, and seasoned computer scientists. Members receive access to online and in-person networking events, as well as professional development opportunities. The organizations below welcome computer science students and professionals in Kentucky.
- Association for Women in Computing: AWC boasts connections to the Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals. The group provides networking and development opportunities for women in the field, including programmers and analysts. Candidates can gain independent or chapter memberships that deliver in-person and online opportunities for networking and education. AWC also awards scholarships.
- American Society for Information Science and Technology: ASIS&T prioritizes research and offers a journal, magazine, and a newsletter. The group hosts events, such as a yearly meeting, and webinars that address field ideas including data sharing, social media, and information visualization. Candidates can also review career opportunities through the site.
Looking to pursue a doctorate in computer science? Explore our 2021 ranking of computer science doctoral programs to find the best fit for you.
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