Although Mississippi’s economy is largely focused on agriculture and manufacturing, the state is shifting to more tech-driven industries. According to the Mississippi Development Authority, the Hospitality State is targeting industries such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace, automotive engineering, and healthcare. In response to these burgeoning fields, the state’s colleges and universities offer top-tier computer science programs for interested students at every academic level.
Computer science professionals enjoy much higher salaries than the state average. In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that, across all occupations, Mississippians earned an annual mean wage of $38,910, while the average mean salary for professionals in computer and mathematical occupations in the state stood at $67,820. This guide provides helpful information for individuals interested in earning a degree in computer science programs in Mississippi.
In 2017, the BLS (BLS) reported that the average mean salary for professionals in computer and mathematical occupations in the state stood at $67,820.
Higher Education in Mississippi
Mississippi is home to 69 colleges and universities, including public and private institutions. Undergraduate and graduate programs at the state’s public institutions are competitively priced, making them an affordable option for learners who are looking for value without sacrificing academic excellence. These schools include Mississippi State University, The University of Mississippi, Jackson State University, and Mississippi University for Women.
In addition to traditional, on-campus programs, there are many online computer science programs in Mississippi, some of which are entirely online and some of which offer hybrid learning. Online programs allow students to watch lectures and complete classwork at their convenience. Students enrolled in online programs also save money on housing and commuting.
Computer Science Careers in Mississippi
As society becomes more reliant on technology, the demand for experts who know how to store data, perform cloud computing, and secure information is rising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer science occupations to grow 13% by 2026, twice the average growth for all occupations.
There are many career opportunities in computer science in Mississippi. NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County actively recruits computer scientists to support testing of the rocket engines used for all manned Apollo and space shuttle flights. Stennis has played a critical role in rocket engine testing for more than five decades and manages all of NASA’s rocket propulsion activities.
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Mean Salary for Computer Science Careers in Mississippi
Computer Science Employers in Mississippi
- American HealthTech: This firm is one of the largest long-term healthcare management software companies in the United States. Established more than three decades ago, the company serves the needs of nursing organizations and senior living complexes. American HealthTech is a driver of financial and clinical problem-solving thanks to a team that includes software engineers and quality assurance analysts. The company’s headquarters are based in Ridgeland.
- Forward Slope, Inc.: A consulting firm that specializes in technology, finances, and operations, Forward Slope supports entities of all sizes. Founded in 2002, it emphasizes customer satisfaction in three primary areas: enterprise technologies, defense technologies, and professional services. Although the company is headquartered in California, it hires employees to work at the local Stennis Space Center.
- Aerojet Rocketdyne: This company advances the space and defense sectors by providing propulsion to missile, defense, space, and armaments. The company hires software engineers and information technology specialists to work at Stennis Space Center.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Mississippi?
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Computer Science Programs in Mississippi
Undergraduate coursework for computer science programs in Mississippi includes programming languages, database systems, and computer architecture. Graduate-level classes examine cyber law, cryptography, and wireless networks. In addition to classroom-based instruction, some schools offer computer science classes online. Many of the best computer science schools in Mississippi allow learners to take at least introductory classes online to make earning a degree more convenient.
Online classes afford students the flexibility to continue working while completing degree requirements. Most online classes allow students to watch lectures on their own schedule without on-campus requirements.
A students chosen school should hold regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Learners should also look for computer science programs recognized by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Accreditation from ABET means the program is recognized as delivering a high-quality education in computer science.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
Online computer science programs in Mississippi include associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs. When reviewing potential programs, prospective students should consider the type of career they want to pursue. Some learners may want to quickly enter the field with an associate degree, while others aspire to the high-level positions afforded by a doctorate. The following sections outline the advantages of each degree type.
Completing an online computer science program in Mississippi at the associate level qualifies candidates for entry-level roles in multiple areas of the field. In addition to covering general education topics, such as math, English, and science, learners study computer science topics, such as principles of computer networks, database management systems, and cybersecurity fundamentals. Most programs require 60-66 credits and take two years of full-time study to complete.
An associate degree in computer science appeals to students who want to enter the field quickly or are uncertain of their commitment to it. According to the BLS, individuals with associate degrees qualify for careers as computer support specialists and web developers. To learn more about this level of education, review the associate degree guide.
Online computer science programs in Mississippi at the bachelor’s level provide more opportunities to graduates than associate programs. In addition to coursework covered in an associate program, degree seekers spend two additional years studying specialized topics. Class topics may include social and ethical issues in computing, advanced data structures, programming language structures, and automated theory and formal languages.
Graduates enjoy diverse job opportunities. The BLS reports that professionals with bachelor’s degrees qualify for roles as computer network architects, computer programmers, computer systems analysts, database administrators, information security analysts, network and computer systems administrators, and software developers.
Individuals with a clear sense of their career goals should pursue this degree and prepare to complete approximately 120 credits and an internship before graduation. To learn more, check out the bachelor’s degree in computer science guide.
Master’s in computer science programs in Mississippi prepare learners to take advanced positions, such as leadership, managerial, and teaching roles. The degree is ideal for computer science professionals seeking to advance their career and expertise. Most programs require 30-42 credits. Full-time learners can finish the degree in two years, while part-time students typically finish in three.
Some programs require a thesis while others mandate a culminating project. Students interested in research and teaching roles typically opt for the former, while those looking to work in industry positions opt for the latter. To learn more, check out the guide on master’s in computer science degrees.
Professionals with a doctorate in computer science enjoy top-level research and academic roles. In exchange for these esteemed roles, degree seekers must dedicate between 4-6 years of study and research. Most programs require 42-60 credits on topics such as theories of computation, artificial intelligence, and complexity of sequential and parallel algorithms.
After completing coursework, students must research and write a dissertation and defend it before a panel of advisers and academics. To learn more, check out the guide on doctorate programs in computer science.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Mississippi
Professional organizations benefit students and graduates. They provide access to career development, networking, and continuing education opportunities. Professional organizations may also provide scholarship and internship opportunities. Below are several professional organizations for graduates with a computer science degree.
- Association for Computing Machinery: Established in 1947, ACM is the globe’s largest computer education and research society. The association provides publications, local and national chapters, an award series, continuing education, an annual conference, and policy programs.
- IEEE Computer Society: Founded in 1946, IEEE serves the needs of the computer science industry and continues to expand its offerings each year. The group sponsors 200 conferences annually, publishes scholarly journals and magazines, maintains continuing education and training programs, and supports local and regional chapters.
- International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology: Members of IACSIT include academics, researchers, and computer science professionals. The group offers professional development opportunities, fellowships, and several society chapters worldwide.
Additional Computer Science Resources in Mississippi
- Mississippi Center for Supercomputing Research: This facility offers training and resources for faculty, staff, and students affiliated with the state’s public colleges and universities. It hosts three supercomputers that boast a high computing ability. It also offers various technical workshops, some of which are related to general topics in computer science.
- Mississippi Educational Computing Association: This organization hosted its first conference in 1983 for professionals who value computers in education. Today, the organization is committed to helping professionals exchange techniques, resources, and ideas related to computer science education.
- Kids Code Mississippi: This website helps young people understand what goes into making computer science-oriented products for public consumption. It promotes coding as a critical skill due to increasing use of mobile apps, software, and the internet.
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