Newly dubbed the Silicon Prairie, Michigan is an exciting place for computer science. The tech industry named real estate prices, cost of living spikes, and higher taxes as reasons for shifting their investment from coasts to the prairie. While only a couple of universities in the country offer free tuition for an in-state bachelor’s degree, the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor represents one choice.
Graduates from online computer science programs in Michigan receive job offers from companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM, and Intel. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), salaries for computer and information technology occupations sit far above the national average. The BLS also projects strong employment growth for computer science professionals, with computer and information technology occupations projected to grow 13% by 2026.
With an abundance of opportunity and growth, computer science graduates enjoy strong prospects for computer science careers in Michigan.
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, with 34.3% of public school students graduating within four years. Large institutions, such as Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and Michigan Tech serve students in some of the nation’s top college towns and online. Campuses near the Great Lakes are top destinations for nature lovers.
Michigan is an ideal location for students in technology-related fields. The state’s public universities attract large amounts of funding for research grants, making computer science colleges in Michigan attractive options for residents and distance learners.
Computer Science Careers in Michigan
Graduates of computer science programs in Michigan pursue careers across many 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% by 2026, faster than the national average for all occupations. Michigan occupations growing particularly quickly include information security analysts, actuaries, and computer and information research scientists.
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Mean Salary for Computer Science Careers in Michigan
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?
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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 College, transfer easily to four-year programs in the state.
Some students prefer to earn an online computer science degree in Michigan. Online learners can complete programs at their own pace, allowing students to work full time while earning their degree. Some of the best computer science schools in Michigan offer online programs, including the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Baker College.
Regardless of which education format you choose, ensure your institution is accredited. Accreditation indicates that a program meets the highest academic standards and ensures your degree is recognized by employers. Along with regional accreditation, computer science programs may hold accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
Before committing to an online computer science program in Michigan, students should choose the degree type that best fits their needs. Degree options include associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Typically, undergraduate degrees lead to entry-level jobs while graduate degrees lead to higher-level positions and greater earning potential.
Obtaining an associate degree at an online computer science program in Michigan provides a relatively fast and affordable way to enter the computer science field. Associate degrees also provide a great starting point for learners considering a bachelor’s degree with many bachelor’s programs accepting all transfer credits from an associate degree.
Online computer science programs in Michigan at the associate level typically require 62-66 hours of coursework over two years of full-time study. The curriculum involves general education courses in history, math, science, and communications in addition to specialized courses. Specialized courses may include algorithms and computing with C++, computing and data structures, and computer science structure. To determine placement level during the application process, students submit high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and AP Test scores.
Completing an online computer science program in Michigan at the bachelor’s level provides entry-level and mid-level job opportunities for graduates. Learners can complete these programs in four years of full-time study, although some accelerated programs exist for individuals seeking to expedite graduation. Throughout the degree, students solidify their knowledge of topics such as computational theory, informational systems, network architecture, modeling, and simulation.
The degree typically requires 60 general education credits, 35-40 degree-specific credits, and 20-25 elective credits. The degree appeals to individuals who feel confident that they want to commit to a computer science career.
Master’s in computer science students gain advanced knowledge in topics like computer operating systems, database systems, computer networking, and data structures. Graduates are qualified for mid-level and senior-level positions. These programs provide dynamic landscapes for experienced computer scientists seeking tailored graduate coursework. The typical master’s degree entails 30 credits and two years of full-time study. Science and engineering schools offer specialty paths for individuals who want to concentrate their knowledge in a subfield.
Most schools set GPA and GRE requirements and request letters of recommendation for admission. Whether aspiring to a managerial role or pursuing a postdoctoral program, earning a master’s degree in computer science provides ample career advancement opportunities.
Ph.D. in computer science programs provide advanced career opportunities in research and education. Programs typically take a minimum of four to six years to complete. This timeframe includes thesis presentation and defense, teaching assistant requirements, and coursework. Potential topics include introduction to robotics, seminar on computer-aided verification, and how to be a chief technology officer.
In their dissertation, graduates must demonstrate advanced specialty knowledge that leads to the promotion of computational fields and credible scientific results. Before learners can pursue the thesis and defense portion of the program, they must present a master’s thesis or receive a waiver.
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 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: Founded in 1947, the ACM is the largest association of researchers, professionals, and educators striving to advance informational technology. The group annually honors the top 1% of fellows in the field and hosts educational forums, volunteer opportunities, and publication support.
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: The IEEE is a community of professionals interested in technological innovation and excellence for humanity. The group offers several conferences, educational programs, and events, with chapters worldwide. It also provides a database of like-minded scientists.
- Association for Women in Computing: The AWC is a nationwide professional organization that advocates for the advancement of women in computing professions. If there isn’t a chapter in your community, the AWC only requires five independent members to form a new chapter. The association provides networking opportunities, resources for continuing education, and mentoring.
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