Minnesota’s qualified coders fulfill a critical need for the state’s burgeoning tech companies, so much so that they started their own boot camps for coders, like Prime Academy. At least 19 Fortune 500 tech companies call Minnesota home, with the number expected to continue increasing over the next few years as they venture to the affordable communities of the Silicon Prairie.
Several uniquely Minnesota-focused professional organizations offer resources and opportunities to students, professionals, and organizations to grow the state’s visibility on the national level in the computer science field. Whether you identify as an information research scientist exploring doctoral programs or a recent high school graduate weighing the benefits of an associate or bachelor’s degree, the emerging importance of computer science programs in the state, paired with financial incentives, program versatility, and course flexibility demonstrates that now is the time to pursue a degree in the field.
Higher Education in Minnesota
Higher education in Minnesota has grown in recent years. According to a state report, the number of conferred degrees increased 30% over the last ten years. The number of bachelor’s degrees in STEM increased significantly, likely due to rising interest in the field and greater availability of higher education in the state.
Minnesota remains home to 12 public four-year universities and nearly 130 other institutions, including two-year, vocational, private, and for-profit schools. The University of Minnesota system is the largest in the state, with nearly 68,000 students enrolled across its campuses in fall 2017.
Computer Science Careers in Minnesota
Data centers comprise one of Minnesota’s largest industries, which also include clean technology and energy, manufacturing, and healthcare services — industries in which professionals who have earned a computer science degree in Minnesota can excel. The diverse nature of a computer science degree prepares students to work in a variety of industries and fields, and most of the industries in today’s market need technology professionals.
Software engineering and development represent some of the most popular positions for graduates of computer science schools in Minnesota. These careers offer competitive salaries, which typically prove higher for graduate degree holders.
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Mean Salary for Computer Science Careers in Minnesota
Computer Science Employers in Minnesota
- Qumu: Qumu creates software that companies use to record, edit, and share videos. The software helps companies connect with customers through video media. Qumu, initially a video editing and creation service, now also incorporates mobile solutions.
- Code42: Based in Minneapolis, this global company manages endpoint data security for more than 37,000 organizations. Code42 specializes in cloud-based security, which allows its clients to recover quickly from any security breach or data loss.
- Jamf: This company provides education and business support for Mac OS X and iOS systems. Jamf owes its success to the growing popularity and sales of Apple products, including iPhones and laptops.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Minnesota?
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Computer Science Programs in Minnesota
Students at the University of Minnesota enjoy scenic views of the Mississippi River and campus buildings with both modern and historic architecture. The University of Minnesota system remains the largest in the state and offers computer science programs online and on campuses across the state, including at its flagship campus in the Twin Cities.
Students can earn an online computer science degree in Minnesota from many of the state’s schools and community colleges. Online programs allow students to work full time while earning their degrees. Online computer science programs in Minnesota offer flexibility, often allowing learners to complete coursework asynchronously, according to their schedule. Most schools provide extensive resources for distance learners, such as access to library materials, academic advising, career counseling, and financial aid.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
Pursuing one of the many online computer science programs in Minnesota requires an intense commitment of time and financial resources. The economic climate of Minnesota’s tech industry demonstrates that a commitment of any kind to a postsecondary education rewards graduates with lucrative job opportunities.
Obtaining an associate degree in computer science will open the door for your professional career in the computer science industry. Interning or studying abroad while completing your bachelor’s degree will help to make your resume stand out. Additionally, earning a master’s or doctoral degree will yield a higher salary and display mastery in your specialized field of interest.
The affordability and online course options of associate degree-level online computer science programs in Minnesota make it easier than ever for students to gain a basic understanding of skills such as programming language, database management, problem-solving, and research utilization. Gathering these competencies ensures your marketability when applying to computer science schools.
You will gain the confidence needed to apply for entry-level positions by meeting deadlines, crafting presentations, and contributing to team projects. Individuals who aim to work in the industry but do not want to start by devoting four years of full-time study may find this path appealing. It also helps those who want to enter the workforce quickly and begin earning a steady salary.
Students enrolled in one of the online computer science programs in Minnesota at the bachelor’s level set themselves up for success by developing in-demand skills for many different jobs in the industry. This particular program necessitates 120 hours of coursework completed over four years of full-time study. Examples of courses include information security, fundamentals of programming, and database management systems.
Learners who already completed an associate degree can apply after finishing that program and spend two additional years completing bachelor’s requirements. Paying for your education should not be a debilitating deterrent, given that numerous options exist for tuition payment and supplemental learning. The state of Minnesota works to help learners complete degrees and currently reimburses student loan interest. Following graduation, you can anticipate exercising your experience with the tools garnered from interning and real-world application.
Obtaining a graduate degree in computer science will likely help you receive promotions in your career. Take a look at the job descriptions for your prospective positions, and you will discover that a master’s degree is often a requirement in the computer science industry for supervisory positions like software developer, computer systems analyst, and information research scientist. Depending on whether you pursue a thesis track, a master’s degree usually takes students two years to complete.
Common courses include virtual reality and 3D interaction, introduction to compilers, and introduction to machine learning. You might notice that schools ask for your resume when applying to their graduate program. The coursework for a master’s degree works off a substantial level of real-world experience and case study. Your classmates may possess professional experience from the tech industry or research training from development positions. Many continue to work full time and take classes at night or online, as so many competitive models for online and hybrid learning exist.
Earning adoctoral degree at one of the online computer science programs in Minnesota provides graduates with the research and training expertise necessary to join the fields of academia as a teacher and researcher, or to apply their education in private, governmental, or industrial labs. Depending on whether they possess master’s degrees or not, doctoral programs usually require at least four years and 72 hours combining independent research, dissertation work, and teaching experience.
Examples of classes include cloud computing technology, high-performance computer architecture, and formal methods in software engineering. Students find the individualized pacing, specialization, and growing prestige of online programs to offer substantial incentives, as well as abundant funding options like assistantships and fellowships. The ability to autonomously run experiments from the design to analysis phase in all capacities as a doctoral expert will help with pursuing jobs, including tenure-track teaching and senior laboratory director.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Minnesota
Students in computer science colleges in Minnesota benefit from joining professional organizations. Members often receive legal advocacy, access to conferences, professional development opportunities, and publications and newsletters. These organizations prove ideal for current students in Minnesota’s computer science schools, recent graduates, and experienced professionals. Professional organizations often provide job boards and networking opportunities to help members launch or advance their careers. Read on for a list of Minnesota-based computer science organizations.
- Minnesota High Tech Association: MHTA champions Minnesota’s technological workforce by increasing visibility on the national level, advocating for 300+ members in legislative matters, and fostering economic benefits. The association, structured as a nonprofit, collects donations made by the community to support innovation in the field. They host networking events, circulate industry news, and provide educational opportunities.
- Minnesota Engineering Software Advisory: MESA focuses on the growth and success of Minnesota’s software community by supplying C-level mentorships and foundational accounting, legal, and real estate services to the most promising and emergent software organizations in the state. They believe mentorships and service substantially impact business growth and prosperity. Mentees must present their strategies to the MESA board and commit to their mentors’ growth plans, stay engaged in the process, and apply their mentors’ input over time.
- International Game Developers Association Twin Cities Chapter: The Twin Cities chapter of IGDA programs monthly networking events for game developers. Members present on various industry subjects, including design, programming, and marketing. In addition to the monthly meetings, they host less formal weekly meetings. IGDA provides a directory of resources that includes all industry-related companies and support groups.
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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