With 13% projected growth in computer and information technology careers between 2016 and 2026, enrolling in an online computer science program in Nevada can bolster your immediate and long-term professional success. The state’s rapid population increase has propelled it to the forefront of high-tech innovation and advanced manufacturing. Even Apple recently broke ground on a facility in Reno, with plans to invest nearly $2 billion more in the Silver State.
Other big-name corporations — such as Tesla, Ebay, and Zulily — also call Nevada home, while its Gigafactory One employees work in the largest building on Earth. Take confidence knowing computer science careers in Nevada abound across an array of industries. Read on to learn more about which computer science degrees and career paths you can pursue, and how to network with other professionals.
Apple recently broke ground on a facility in Reno, with plans to invest nearly $2 billion more in the Silver State.
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Higher Education in Nevada
With a total of eight public and five private nonprofit institutions of higher education in Nevada, options are limited, but well worth a closer look. Only the University of Nevada’s Reno and Las Vegas campuses offer four-year degrees in computer science, both of which boast a strong academic reputation. The Department of Computer Science at the Las Vegas campus is growing quickly. Future employment prospects in Reno’s booming technology hub attract many computer science students to the region.
Students interested in pursuing an online computer science degree in Nevada may benefit from Nevada’s participation in student exchange programs and reciprocity agreements under the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which improves accessibility and affordability for distance education across state lines. Eligible undergraduate and graduate students may receive tuition discounts, or even pay in-state tuition for programs located out of state.
Computer Science Careers in Nevada
Computer science graduates across the U.S. enjoy promising employment prospects, as rapid technological innovation fuels the proliferation of startup companies, attracts venture capital, and increases demand for employees with specialized skill sets. Software developers enjoy an especially rosy outlook, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting an above-average 24% growth rate from 2016 to 2026.
Las Vegas’ tourist industry still grabs headlines, but Reno also boasts a thriving and increasingly prominent technology hub and startup scene. Attracted by the region’s affordable office space and the media attention surrounding its flourishing data centers, Nevada computer science graduates and employers flock to Reno for opportunities. Other careers attracting Nevada’s computer science graduates include systems analysis, data science, and web development.
Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree
Computer Science Employers in Nevada
- Apple: Apple recently expanded its data center infrastructure in Reno Technology Park to support its growing operations in cloud computing, including a purchasing center and business office in downtown Reno. The company is positioned for continued success in Nevada. Computer science graduates may apply for jobs as software engineers, systems analysts, and data scientists.
- Tesla: With a new factory located outside the city of Sparks, Nevada, Tesla builds electric vehicles and renewable energy products. As the company’s battery production “gigafactory” draws increasing media attention and production ramps up, the facility will continue employing computer science graduates as software engineers, computer vision scientists, data analysts, and information security professionals.
- Switch: With its core campus operations based in Las Vegas, plus a data center ecosystem known as the largest in the world, Switch provides colocation design, telecommunications, and cloud computing services. The company employs computer science graduates in roles as network operators and information security professionals.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Nevada?
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Computer Science Programs in Nevada
Nevada offers relatively few on-campus programs in computer science, so most students enroll at the University of Nevada’s Reno or Las Vegas campuses. As a public research institution, the University of Nevada at Reno is the oldest university in the state, with a highly respected computer science department featuring cutting-edge projects. On-campus students often remark on the school’s beautiful campus and affordability.
The University of Nevada at Las Vegas boasts a reputation for producing well-rounded graduates in computer science, and the campus houses useful resources for computer science students. These resources include the state’s chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, an academic honors and awards society for computer science, and the Nevada Center for Advanced Computational Methods.
Distance learners should note that Nevada is a Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education member, participating in a regional reciprocity agreement promoting quality and affordability in distance education. This allows eligible online students to pay reduced or in-state tuition rates. For disciplined and self-motivated students interested in pursuing higher education while working, online study offers a host of benefits. In addition to the flexibility and convenience of online study, many jobs in computer science and technology offer opportunities for remote work. Online study can provide experience to help determine whether you would suit long-term remote work.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities grants regional accreditation for higher education institutions in Nevada, while the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology grants field-specific accreditation for four-year programs in computer science.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
Carefully consider your academic and occupational goals when determining whether to pursue an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. An associate degree prepares you for entry-level positions, while bachelor’s and master’s degrees allow you to hold mid-management and senior positions. If you choose to earn a terminal degree, entering a Ph.D. program makes the most sense. A doctorate allows you to hold a senior-level position within an organization, or teach university-level courses if you prefer to work in the academy.
An associate degree in computer science equips students with an understanding of computer programming and maintenance basics. Different schools may call this program by different names — such as an associate of arts in computer information systems or associate of science in information technology — but they deliver similar curricula. Coursework covers fundamentals like computer networks, operating systems, and cybersecurity. It generally permits opportunities for experiential learning, as well, thanks to labs and internships.
Most online computer science programs in Nevada awarding associate degrees consist of 60 to 66 credits. Full-time students typically graduate in two years, while part-time learners may need longer depending on how many credits they complete each term. Students typically seek associate degrees to jumpstart their careers, and may ultimately transfer their associate degree credits to a bachelor’s program.
bachelor’s degree in computer science strengthens graduates’ ability to develop various computer applications. Schools may call their BS programs by different names, such as information technology or computing, but they generally offer the same types of classes. Common courses include software engineering, which explores how to design large-scale software systems, and data structures, which teaches how to analyze abstract data. You might also choose to concentrate in an area such as data mining or robotics.
Online computer science programs in Nevada awarding bachelor’s degrees require 120-180 credits to graduate. Full-time and transfer students may complete their studies in as little as three years, while part-time enrollment typically requires about five years. Most learners enjoy collecting and analyzing data to solve complex challenges. Career options include network administrator and software developer, and some graduates may opt to earn advanced degrees to increase their occupation options.
master’s degree in computer science leverages students’ bachelor’s studies and prior work experience to equip them with knowledge of the latest software applications and technologies, including how to improve them. Classes examine computer language theory, applied algorithms, and computer networking. In addition, most programs offer concentrations in areas like biocomputation and game development, or you might choose to wed this degree with an MBA.
Students enrolled in a master’s program in computer science frequently attend school part time so they can continue working full time. This generally requires about three to four years of study while full-time enrollment requires about one to two years. You must complete 30 to 45 credits to graduate. Learners can more easily advance in professions like security management, information systems, and research after completing their degree. They may also choose to pursue a Ph.D. as a terminal degree.
Studies for Ph.D. in computer science provide students with the knowledge and skills to teach at the university level or hold a senior position in an organization. A research-intensive degree that requires identifying a specific area of interest in the field, Ph.D. learners must earn 72 to 90 credits in four to five years. Enrollment status and dissertation requirements may affect program length.
Coursework for a Ph.D. in computer science examines environmental chemistry, physical biochemistry, and nuclear magnetic resonance. Learners may also concentrate in nanotechnology or forensic science. Graduation facilitates entry to a highly specialized profession, like hardware engineering, criminalist, or college professor. Admission to a Ph.D. program requires an application, GRE test scores, and letters of recommendation that attest to your record of achievement, potential for success, and personal character.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Nevada
- Association for Computing Machinery: ACM brings computing professionals, educators, and researchers together to build and exchange knowledge as they problem-solve the field’s most pressing challenges. The association stands as the largest computing society in the world, with about 100,000 members. It convenes these experts through special interest groups, local chapters, and volunteer activities, and awards scholarships for college studies.
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Las Vegas Computer Society: This local chapter of the IEEE Computer Society represents part of the world’s leading association for computer science and technology experts. Globally, the organization’s more than 60,000 members include IT researchers, software developers, and students. The IEEE Computing Society publishes journals and magazines, and offers professional development opportunities for its members.
- Upsilon Pi Epsilon: Established at Texas A&M University in 1967, this now-global association recognizes the academic achievement of undergraduate and graduate students. Students participate in chapters around the world, and may qualify for scholarships, cash awards, and other accolades the organization offers. Both ACM and the IEEE Computer Society endorse UPE.
Additional Computer Science Resources in Nevada
- Cybersecurity Center: Located at the University of Nevada’s Reno campus, this organization conducts interdisciplinary research and provides cybersecurity education to help build a skilled workforce. The center has received grants from the National Science Foundation to support teaching, research, and outreach efforts to build community awareness about the importance of information security.
- Women Into Computer Science and Engineering: An organization at the University of Nevada’s Reno campus, WiCSE supports women interested in computer science in Nevada, and especially those considering careers in the field. WiCSE offers workshops to learn about programming and operating systems, mock technical interviews, a summer camp program, and member conferences.
- National Supercomputing Institute: Located at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, NSI’s full-service supercomputing facility offers high-performance computing, and high-speed networking. NSI provides training to academic institutions, industry, and government to support research in healthcare, energy, medical informatics, and the environment. Research affiliates of the institute include Intel and Switch.
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