Computer Science Programs in Minnesota

The technology industry in Minnesota is growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 100,000 Minnesota residents work in computer and mathematical occupations. Many of these professionals work with the state’s large companies, five of which made the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 list in 2016. Data centers are one of Minnesota’s largest industries, making the state an ideal place to host, manage, and maintain data.

Minnesota offers important tax breaks to products and services used by companies in the tech industry; there is no tax on internet service, computers and servers, or custom-created software. The government’s commitment to the state’s growing tech industry makes now an ideal time to earn an online computer science degree in Minnesota. This guide provides information about earning a computer science degree, potential career paths available to graduates, and the best computer science schools in Minnesota.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 100,000 Minnesota residents work in computer and mathematical occupations.

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, with bachelor’s degrees being the most commonly awarded. The number of bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields increased significantly, likely due to both rising interested in STEM fields and greater availability of higher education in the state. Minnesota is 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.

The state offers the MN State Grant to resident students. In the 2014–2015 school year, 95,324 students received grants averaging $1,857 each. The state’s financial investment in residents’ education is one of the reasons many students choose to study computer science in Minnesota.

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; most industries in today’s market need technology professionals.

Some of the most popular positions for graduates of computer science schools in Minnesota are in software engineering and development. These careers offer competitive salaries, which are typically higher for graduate degree holders.

Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Senior Software Engineer $104,507
Software Developer $65,692
Software Engineer $76,707

Master's Degree

Senior Software Engineer $116,179
Software Developer $79,893
Software Engineer $90,469

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 was initially a video editing and creation service, but it now incorporates mobile solutions.
  • Code42: Based in Minneapolis, this global company manages the endpoint data security for more than 37,000 organizations. Code42 specializes in cloud-based security, which allows its clients to quickly recover from any security breach or data loss.
  • Jamf: This company provides education and business support for Mac OS X and iOS systems. Jamf’s success is due to the growing popularity and sales of Apple products, including iPhones and laptops.

How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Minnesota?

Graduates of computer science programs in Minnesota have plenty of employment opportunities and high earning potential. However, a professional’s salary depends on factors such as degree, experience, credentials, and geographic location. The table below shows mean wages for professionals in computer and mathematical occupations.

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Minnesota 97,680 $40.85 $84,960
United States 4,165,140 $42.25 $87,880

Source: BLS

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 is the largest in the state and offers computer science programs online and on its 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 schools and community colleges. Online programs allow students to work full time while earning their degree. Online computer science programs in Minnesota offer flexibility, often allowing students 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.

Schools and colleges in Minnesota are most often regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Computer science schools in Minnesota should also be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

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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 Minnesota?


With the array of schools and universities in Minnesota offering computer science degrees, it’s important to choose the program that best fits your goals and lifestyle. The list below includes all accredited computer science programs in Minnesota.

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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 are ideal for current students in Minnesota 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. The computer science organizations below are based in Minnesota.

  • Minnesota High Tech Association: MHTA comprises more than 300 tech companies and organizations in Minnesota, which work together to innovate and advance technology. The organization’s goal is to make Minnesota one of the top five states for technology.
  • Minnesota Engineering Software Advisory: MESA is a nonprofit organization that facilitates pro bono mentorship between established and new software companies. The organization helps new companies grow and create jobs, while solidifying Minnesota’s place in the tech industry.
  • International Game Developers Association Twin Cities Chapter: Many professionals in computer science and software development market their skills in video game design and development. The Minnesota chapter of the IGDA allows like-minded professionals to connect, attend events, and network.

Additional Computer Science Resources in Minnesota

  • MHTA Technology Job Board: The Minnesota High Tech Association offers this job board for both members and nonmembers. The board contains jobs in STEM fields, and job seekers can search by employer, position, city, or county.
  • Minnesota IT Services: Minnesota IT Services works with the executive branch of the state government. Its website provides information about the systems it uses and how to become a vendor to the department. Career opportunities are also available.
  • MHTA Newsroom: The MHTA Newsroom website is open to both members and nonmembers and includes news and information relevant to the tech industry. The website also promotes tech-related events in the area.
  • Computer Science and Engineering at UMN: The computer science and engineering department at UMN maintains a website with valuable information for students and the public. The website includes an events page, a news feed, and information about current research by UMN students and faculty.