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The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 13% surge in computer and information technology careers by 2026, almost twice the projected growth for all occupations. Fortunately, Missouri stands at the forefront of this boom. Earning a degree from one of the leading online computer science programs in Missouri opens doors to employment with global corporations like Walmart, MasterCard, and AT&T, where some of The Show Me State's nearly 85,000 computer and mathematical experts work.
Other notable employers include Honeywell (based in Kansas City) and Boeing (which calls St. Louis home). Missouri also boasts ample career opportunities, as the state offers information technology companies an array of incentives to establish operations in its cities. Furthermore, the Missouri Technology Corporation taps area universities to cultivate high-growth tech firms.
Our guide below explores online computer science degrees in Missouri, including computer science careers in the state, university programs, types of degrees, and professional organizations in the field.
Missouri boasts ample career opportunities, as the state offers information technology companies an array of incentives to establish operations in its cities.
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Higher Education in Missouri
Missouri is home to more than 110 colleges and universities, which award associate, bachelor's, and graduate degrees. The largest universities and colleges in the state by enrollment include the University of Missouri-Columbia, St. Louis Community College, and Columbia College, which collectively enroll about 100,000 students. Smaller institutions, such as National American University in Independence and Washington University in St. Louis, each boast a nearly 100% retention rate.
Options to study computer science in Missouri include traditional classroom programs -- which require regular in-person attendance -- and online computer science programs in Missouri. For instance, the Missouri University of Science and Technology offers an online MS in computer science and an in-person program at its Rollo campus, with an emphasis on software engineering and critical infrastructure protection.
Computer Science Careers in Missouri
After earning their degree, Missouri computer science graduates pursue careers throughout a rapidly growing technology field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% growth for computer science occupations between 2016 and 2026. Experts in cloud computing and data security are in particularly high demand.
Many large corporations hire graduates of computer science colleges in Missouri. Amazon, for example, needs database migrations specialists and security consultants at its St. Louis location, and Expedia hires software development engineers at its Springfield office. Other major employers in the state include the Department of the Army, Boeing, and Honeywell.
Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree
Computer Science Employers in Missouri
- Jack Henry & Associates: Established in 1976, this company offers more than 300 services and products to help clients execute financial transactions and automate business processes. Headquartered in Monett, positions with Jack Henry & Associates include security support engineer and programmer analyst.
- Boeing: The world's largest aerospace company and premier commercial jet manufacturer, Boeing is the country's top exporter by dollar value. With more than 170,000 employees, Boeing designs and sells airplanes, rockets, and satellites. Its office in St. Louis hires software engineers and systems engineers.
- AECOM: This multinational engineering company provides design, consulting, management, and construction expertise to clients in more than 150 countries. Founded in 1990 and employing nearly 100,000 professionals, AECOM is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, and hires computer science experts, including network and systems administrators.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Missouri?
The best computer science schools in Missouri build students' understanding of the field to prepare them for successful careers. Salaries for computer professionals depend on factors such as employer, position, and geographic location. While computer science professionals in Missouri earn less than the national average, cost of living is lower in the state. When deciding where to live during and after school, also consider the advancement opportunities for computer science professionals in the area.
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Computer Science Programs in Missouri
Respected institutions such as the University of Missouri, Missouri State, and Northwest Missouri State offer traditional,on-campus computer science programs. Some computer science programs in Missouri also offer a fast-track option. For example, students in the University of Missouri's accelerated computer science program can earn a bachelor's and a master's degree in only five years.
While the state offers robust computer science programs on campus, many students opt for a fully online computer science degree in Missouri. Columbia College awards an online bachelor's in computer information systems, and the University of Missouri offers an online master's program. Online programs are ideal for students who need to balance school with personal or professional commitments. Online programs also provide flexibility, so learners can attend class and complete coursework when it best suits their schedules.
Whether you pursue an on-campus or an online degree, ensure your computer science program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Programs with accreditation from ABET provide an outstanding education and prepare graduates to succeed in the field.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
You can earn an associate, bachelor's, master's, or a Ph.D. through online computer science programs in Missouri. While an associate degree prepares learners for entry-level positions in the field, bachelor's and graduate degrees offer additional education and training, and prepare degree-holders for mid-management and senior leadership roles throughout an organization. Your decision depends on how long you want to take to earn a degree and your occupational goals.
Associate in Computer Science
An associate degree in computer science builds the basic principles of computer programming and maintenance. While the name of the associate program may differ by school (for example, associate of science in information technology or associate of arts in computer information systems), each offers essentially the same curriculum. Students examine topics like data structures and algorithms, operating systems, computer networks, and cybersecurity. They also participate in hands-on learning through labs, practica, and internships that provide experience in software development. You can expect to complete these studies in two years if you enroll full time, while part-time learners can expect to graduate later.
Most associate computer science programs require 60-66 credits to complete. This degree usually attracts learners who want to quickly advance their job opportunities and need a fundamental understanding of the field that they can immediately apply in the workplace. If these graduates desire further study, they can generally transfer their associate degree credits to a bachelor's program.
Bachelor’s in Computer Science
A bachelor's degree in computer science prepares learners to meet an organization's computer application demands. Frequently referred to as a bachelor's in information technology, computer science, or computer applications, this 120-180 credit program requires 3-5 years to complete. Your enrollment may require longer if you attend school part time or do not transfer previously earned college credits to accelerate degree completion. Coursework explores computer architecture, software engineering, and operating systems. Furthermore, concentration choices allow specialization in areas like data mining, embedded systems, bioengineering, and robotics.
This program appeals to students interested in risk mitigation and project management, and prepares them for positions such as software developer, network administrator, and computer systems analyst. You can easily enter a master's program once you complete your bachelor's degree, should you wish to earn an advanced degree for additional career opportunities.
Master’s in Computer Science
A master's degree in computer science builds on the coursework from the bachelor's degree, and primarily attracts computer science and engineering professionals. Programs typically afford students the option of part-time or full-time enrollment, with the latter taking 1-2 years to complete. The core curriculum generally consists of classes like advanced algorithms, computer language theory, and software development. Credits earned during undergraduate studies sometimes satisfy foundational requirements.
Concentrations allow students to specialize in areas like computer networks or artificial intelligence. In addition, learners can pursue a dual degree by marrying their master's in computer science with an MBA, a master's in architecture, or a master's in actuarial science. An online master's in computer science requires 30-45 credits and prepares graduates to advance in sectors like information systems, research, security management, and academia.
Computer Science Ph.D
A Ph.D. in computer science prepares individuals to teach at the university level, and hold senior roles within both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. It typically requires 4-5 years of study and 72-90 credits to complete. The pace at which you can finish this degree depends on whether you enroll part or full time, and how long you require to finish your dissertation. Classes explore chemistry fundamentals, physical biochemistry, and revolutionary molecules. Those who seek a Ph.D. program in computer science usually opt to enter a highly specialized field, such as hardware engineering or software development. Others may teach college courses.
Learners can focus in the area of their choice, including machine learning, computational biology, and human-computer interaction. In most instances, admission to this online computer science program in Missouri requires a bachelor's degree, GRE exam scores, an application, and letters of recommendation from academic and personal references.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Missouri
Professional organizations offer numerous benefits for computer science students and professionals. In addition to gaining a broader perspective of the computer science field, members stay apprised of the latest innovations and best practices. Networking with peers through a professional organization enhances professional development and creates opportunities for employment and advancement.
- Computing Research Association: CRA is comprised of over 200 industry-leading organizations in computing research. These include university departments, industry and government laboratories, and professional societies. CRA helps develop researchers' talent throughout their career, including through its Women in Computing Research program. It also offers knowledge-building activities like workshops and symposia.
- IEEE Computer Society: The world's leading membership organization for computer science and technology, the IEEE Computer Society serves over 60,000 members, including IT professionals, researchers, educators, software engineers, and students. It hosts more than 200 technical conferences and events annually, in addition to publishing scholarly journals and magazines. Furthermore, a partnership with major corporations and institutions worldwide affords members high-quality professional training.
- Association for Computing Machinery: ACM convenes computing researchers, educators, and professionals for knowledge building and exchange as they collectively aim to address the field's challenges. The world's largest computing society, the network's 100,000 members connect through chapters and special interest groups, and also enjoy volunteer opportunities. Moreover, ACM offers $1.5 million in college scholarships.
Additional Computer Science Resources in Missouri
- CodeMissouri: An initiative of CodeHS, this program expands the state's high school computer science instruction to prepare more students for postsecondary education and careers in the field. The program reaches students in rural school districts by delivering free professional development to teachers.
- Jean Jennings Bartik Computing Museum: Established in honor of the 1945 Northwest Missouri State graduate who became one of the world's first computer programmers, this facility honors her contributions while showcasing the university's technological development. Exhibits feature early computer memorabilia and an array of Northwest computing hardware, including what is considered to be the first personal computer.
- Young Women in Computer Science: Delivered through the MIssouri Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, this three-day summer workshop for graduating female high school students launched in 2015. The free program encourages young women's interest in computer science and STEM-related fields.
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