Computer science continues to rank among the top college majors for its promising job outlook and earning potential, as indicated by a recent PayScale college salary survey. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), national employment growth is projected to continue at above average rates for the majority of jobs in computer science, due to increasing emphasis on big data, information security, and cloud computing.
With many of the fastest growing jobs in Nebraska available in computer science and technology, students who aspire to a rewarding career in the state stand to reap substantial gains by pursuing an education in computer science. According to data collected by code.org, Nebraska has 2.9 times the average demand rate of open jobs in computing occupations, and the average salary for these occupations is $76, 542 —significantly higher than the $44,170 salary average in the state for all occupations.
According to data collected by code.org, Nebraska has 2.9 times the average demand rate of open jobs in computing occupations.
Higher Education in Nebraska
Students seeking a traditional on-campus education are often attracted to Nebraska’s vibrant quality of life, friendly people, and low unemployment rate. With a relatively low cost of living pursuing higher education in the state provides excellent value — particularly for computer science graduates, since earning potential for Silicon Prairie careers in computer science is high compared to many other fields in the state. According to Nebraska’s coordinating commission for postsecondary education, the University of Nebraska continues to rank highest in the state in number of degrees and awards conferred, with the Lincoln campus in the lead. However, independent schools and community colleges are not far behind. The science, technology, engineering, and mathematics discipline cluster, including computer science, showed the largest 10-year percentage increase in postsecondary degrees awarded.
Distance learners interested in pursuing an online computer science degree in Nebraska will note that Nebraska is a member state in the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, a state-authorized reciprocity agreement aimed at ensuring quality of distance education offerings in the region through cooperative efforts promoting equality of opportunity, access to resources, and affordability. Benefits for students in Nebraska include reduced tuition rates for out-of-state residents through the Midwest Student Exchange Program.
Computer Science Careers in Nebraska
With no shortage of reports indicating excellent salary and hiring prospects in computer and information technology fields in the U.S., the future looks bright for computer science graduates, especially in software development. According to the BLS, the category with the highest projected job growth through 2024 for computer and information technology occupations nationally is software developers, with a much faster than average rate of 24%. Reports reveal similar projections for Nebraska.
According to recent Nebraska Department of Labor research, projected employment growth for all computer occupations in the state through 2024 is 17.1%, with the highest number of job openings in software development. With a high concentration of booming tech startups, the Lincoln-Omaha area continues to attract investment capital and talent, earning its moniker as Nebraska’s Silicon Prairie. Other careers drawing computer science graduates to the state include software engineering, web development, systems analysis, programming research, and information security.
Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree
Computer Science Employers in Nebraska
- PenLink: Located in Lincoln, PenLink provides software tools that enable law enforcement and intelligence agencies to collect and analyze electronic mass surveillance data. PenLink products are used by the majority of U.S. law enforcement agencies. The company hires developers, data scientists, and project managers for full-time, part-time, and internship opportunities.
- Firespring: With offices in Lincoln and Omaha, Firespring provides IT, print, and creative services for businesses, including cloud computing, websites, and marketing tools. The company hires system administrators and network engineers, and is growing due to a merger of its cloud-based and IT services with Bluestem Fiber, a provider of gigabit broadband internet.
- Agilx: Located in Lincoln, Agilx is an intelligent software design and development agency that is operates using agile development methodologies. Services include native mobile application development, eCommerce, front end web development, and data transformation services. The company’s growth offers employment opportunities for software developers, software engineers, and students seeking paid internships.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Nebraska?
While salaries for graduates of computer science colleges in Nebraska are high compared to the expected salaries in the state for many other fields, variations occur due to differences in professional experience, company size, location, and industry. For graduates who hold a computer science degree, Nebraska reports hourly and annual mean wages slightly below national averages, which may reflect influences of regional economic conditions such as local job market fluctuations and lower cost of living.
|Employment||Hourly Mean Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
Computer Science Programs in Nebraska
On-campus computer science programs in Nebraska are few but highly regarded, and maintain strong connections to well-established employers in the industry. The respected Lincoln campus of the University of Nebraska, for example, is the state’s flagship school; it offers outstanding high school scholars a chance to apply for a spot in the prestigious and highly competitive Jeffrey S. Raikes school of computer science and management. This interdisciplinary residential program synthesizing business and technical skills accepts approximately 30 students annually. The program provides participants with a head start on their careers through scholarships, internships, and networking opportunities; students often praise the school’s strong connections with Microsoft.
Online computer science programs in Nebraska also offer many attractive options, as the state has proven itself to be a leader in online education in the Midwest. The University of Nebraska’s online worldwide program, launched as a collaborative initiative among four campuses, provides online access to an expanded range of courses, including many in computer science. The Omaha campus offers a variety of concentrations, such as networking, mainframe computing, software development, and data engineering. Distance learners should also note that the state participates in reciprocity agreements through the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, meaning eligible students may receive reduced tuition rates at out-of-state schools.
For Nebraska institutions of higher education, the Higher Learning Commision provides regional accreditation. For computer science programs, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology provides field-specific accreditation.
Whether on-campus or online, earning a degree in computer science provides Nebraska students with a strong foundation in fundamental principles of computer science theory and practice.
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.
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
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
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
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
What Schools Offer a Computer Science Degree in Nebraska?
Searching for an online computer science program in Nebraska that matches your educational needs and career goals can present a challenge. You can begin your search by consulting the following helpful list of accredited programs offered by the best computer science schools in Nebraska.
schools that match your search
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Nebraska
Professional networking and continuing education are vital for career-oriented students and recent graduates of computer science schools in Nebraska. Professional computer science organizations offer a variety of membership and career development benefits to help open doors to lifelong success, including scholarships, technical events, professional training programs, job postings, award programs, discounts on conference attendance, and access to scholarly journals and magazines. Below, you’ll find three respected national computer science organizations with active chapters in Nebraska.
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): ACM is a widely respected worldwide organization in computer science with several chapters at Nebraska computer science schools. Benefits include an extensive digital resource library, special interest groups, and continuing education programs.
- Computing Research Association (CRA): CRA is a nonprofit association of academic computer science departments that partner with industry and government to advance research in computing. Benefits include job postings, a newsletter, and discounted conference fees.
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): IEEE is a leading organization in computer science and technology with a chapter in Nebraska. Member benefits include sponsored conferences, scholarly journals, student scholarships, leadership opportunities, and an awards program.
Additional Computer Science Resources in Nebraska
- Omaha Linux User Group: Users of the Linux operating system meet on the first Tuesday of each month in Omaha for question and answer sessions, presentations, discussions, and special events. Membership is free, and benefits include an email discussion list, live streams of meetups, social gatherings, and opportunities to join special interest groups.
- Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA): Students interested in teaching computer science can take advantage of the CSTA, an ACM-endorsed organization that supports local educators in computer science and related disciplines. This organization has two chapters in the state that offer benefits for computer science teachers, including searchable databases of instructional resources, email discussion lists, and meetings.
- Holland Computing Center (HCC): Researchers associated with the University of Nebraska have access to the HCC, a facility that provides the fastest computing resources available in the state, including a supercomputer. With locations in Omaha and Lincoln, the center offers consulting, data storage, and training.
- Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE): Endorsed by IEEE and ACM, UPE is an academic honor society for computing and information disciplines. Lifetime membership confers honors and benefits, including an international programming contest, scholarships for student members, and a year of ACM membership. The organization has two chapters in Nebraska: one at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and the other at Wayne State College.