Home to three major automobile companies, Michigan is widely known as the country’s automotive epicenter. With the development of autonomous cars, the automotive industry is positioned for growth in the tech sector. Ranked in the top five states for engineering services and research and development testing, Michigan ranks 12th in the nation for tech employment.
The computer science industry in Michigan is growing fast. According to the Michigan Department of Education, the computer science industry is expanding at 3.5 times the state’s average. This means graduates of computer science schools in Michigan will find plenty of employment opportunities in areas such as software development and engineering. Since most industries require computer and information technology professionals, graduates work in a variety of fields.
According to the Michigan Department of Education, the computer science industry is expanding at 3.5 times the state’s average.
Higher Education in Michigan
Michigan is home to 93 public, private, nontraditional, and nonprofit colleges and universities. Collectively, Michigan institutions enroll more than 370,000 full-time students, 34.3% of whom graduate within four years. Large institutions, such as Michigan State, UM, and Michigan Tech, serve students in some of the nation’s top college towns and online. Campuses situated near the Great Lakes are top destinations for nature lovers.
Michigan is the ideal location for students in technology-related fields. Michigan’s public universities attract large amounts of funding for research grants, making computer science colleges in Michigan attractive options for both residents and distance learners.
Computer Science Careers in Michigan
Graduates of computer science programs in Michigan pursue careers across industries, including healthcare, finance, entertainment, education, and transportation. The state’s computing industry is growing rapidly, especially in tech-focused areas such as Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit.
The BLS projects computer and information technology occupations to grow 13% nationally by 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Occupations growing particularly quickly in Michigan include information security analysts, actuaries, and computer and information research scientists, which the BLS projects to grow 20.4%, 24.4%, and 9.8% by 2024, respectively.
Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree
Computer Science Employers in Michigan
- Ford Motor Company: Ford is Michigan’s largest employer and employs a variety of computer science professionals. As an industry leader in autonomy, sustainability, and mobility solutions, Ford’s forward-thinking tech environment is perfect for recent graduates. The company offers entry-level positions in data science and analysis.
- General Motors: The second-largest employer in the state, GM needs computer scientists and engineers to support its mission of building the world’s most advanced vehicles. GM is a leader in mobility, telematics, supercomputing, real-time computing, and vehicle engineering. GM offers entry-level positions in network engineering, IT operations engineering, information security, database administration, and software development.
- Amazon Web Services: AWS is continually expanding its storage, networking, mobile, analytics, and artificial intelligence services and hires graduates from the best computer science schools in Michigan. In Grand Rapids and Detroit, Amazon is adding well-paid software developers, knowledge engineers, and research scientists to its technical development teams.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Michigan?
According to a report from the University of Michigan, after earning a computer science degree, Michigan graduates of bachelor’s and master’s programs averaged starting salaries of $95,000 and $105,000, respectively, in 2016. However, individual salaries depend on factors such as employer, experience, and location.
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Computer Science Programs in Michigan
Michigan students choose from 23 accredited schools that confer associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in computer science or related fields. On-campus computer science students typically require two years to earn an associate degree and four years to complete a bachelor’s degree. On-campus learning provides hands-on experience to prepare students for positions in the technology industry. Associate degrees from computer science schools such as Grand Rapids Community College and Mid Michigan Community College transfer easily to four-year programs in the state.
Some students prefer to earn an online computer science degree in Michigan. Online learning allows students to work full time while earning their degree. Online programs offer flexibility in when and where students complete coursework and allow learners to complete programs at their own pace. Most of the best computer science schools in Michigan offer online programs, including the University of Michigan–Dearborn and Baker College.
No matter which format you choose, ensure your institution is accredited. Accreditation indicates a program meets the highest academic standards and ensures your degree will be recognized by future employers. Along with regional accreditation, computer science programs should hold accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
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.
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 Michigan?
For students earning an on-campus or online degree in Michigan, computer science schools are plentiful and varied. The list below includes all accredited computer science programs in Michigan, along with details such as tuition cost, graduation and retention rates, and online resources to help you choose the best school for your goals and lifestyle.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Michigan
Networking is crucial to launching and advancing a career in computer science, which is why professional organizations are beneficial for both students and graduates. Networking with scientists and engineers helps members develop professionally and find career opportunities. Many professional organizations also provide continuing education programs, access to events and conferences, and career services. The following organizations are open to computer science students and professionals in Michigan.
- Association for Computing Machinery: ACM, the world’s largest computing society, advances the field as a study and profession. ACM distributes newsletters, publications, and a student magazine.
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: IEEE is an international organization that is globally recognized for innovation. Member benefits include networking and volunteer opportunities, career resources, travel grants, and discounts on software.
- Association for Women in Computing: AWC is a national member organization established to support women in computing. AWC chapters offer workshops, seminars, scholarship opportunities, mentoring, leadership training, and career resources.
Additional Computer Science Resources in Michigan
- CRA Job Announcements: The Computing Research Association is a nonprofit association of more than 200 North American computer science schools and societies. The CRA website includes a job board of the latest science, engineering, and research opportunities.
- National Science Foundation: NSF is a federal agency that supports non-medical science and engineering research. The agency has several ongoing programs and funding opportunities. For a full list of opportunities and information about submitting proposals, visit the NSF funding page or grants.gov.
- GitHub: GitHub is the world’s largest open source development platform on which millions of programmers, developers, and aspiring computer scientists collaborate and share coding examples. A small monthly fee provides access to unlimited public and private code repositories.
- The Taulbee Survey: Offered by CRA, the Taulbee Survey is a resource for computer science professionals considering careers in academia. The survey provides the latest faculty salary and demographic statistics, plus information on enrollment in computer science Ph.D programs.