Online computer science programs in New Mexico prepare graduates to enter the growing computer and information technology field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 13% growth in these occupations through 2026, with more than 550,000 new jobs nationwide. The technical expertise, creativity, and analytical skills required for these jobs lets professionals command high salaries, with a median wage of $84,580 as of May 2017.
New Mexico offers many employment opportunities in computer science, from those with a two-year associate degree to Ph.D. graduates. TechHire New Mexico, part of the New Mexico Workforce Connection, reports more than 8,000 open technology positions across the state. Growing companies need technical professionals to lead research and development efforts at universities and the two national laboratories in New Mexico: Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory.
TechHire New Mexico reports more than 8,000 open technology positions across New Jersey.
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Higher Education in New Mexico
The majority of computer science programs are found within the state’s robust network of public universities. Widely considered the chief science and technology college in the state, New Mexico Tech delivers a STEM-focused education closely resembling the nation’s top polytechnic institutes. Some of the best computer science schools in New Mexico are the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque and New Mexico State University.
New Mexico computer science schools offer relatively affordable, competitive options for higher education. The relatively low cost of living coupled with the unique art and culture in the state makes New Mexico an attractive choice for those weighing their educational options.
Computer Science Careers in New Mexico
Job opportunities in the computer science field are ample, both nationally and in New Mexico. As the need for more educated computer professionals increases on a national level, there is little doubt that positions will also increase in New Mexico. As the largest city in New Mexico, job seekers should certainly consider Albuquerque as a possible location for securing a job. However, smaller urban centers like Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, and Santa Fe should not be overlooked.
Mean Salary for Computer Science Careers in New Mexico
Computer Science Employers in New Mexico
- University of New Mexico at Albuquerque: As the flagship university in New Mexico, UNM is the state’s largest employer with more than 12,000 workers. From professors teaching computer science to IT professionals, there there are many opportunities for those with a computer science background. Faculty and staff positions are consistently available.
- Los Alamos National Laboratory: One of the top scientific labs in the country, Los Alamos’ mission is to foster national security through science. The laboratory currently employs 11,000 New Mexicans. Computer scientists are invaluable to this operation, providing everything from IT help to cyber security innovations.
- Sandia National Laboratories: Similar to Los Alamos, Sandia aims to unearth scientific and technological advances to enhance the United States’ national security. Most of their 10,000 employees are based in Albuquerque. This laboratory offers considerable career opportunities for those with a computer science background.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in New Mexico?
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Computer Science Programs in New Mexico
Computer science programs are readily available for students in New Mexico. Most opportunities are traditional on-campus experiences. New Mexico State University and University of New Mexico are both well-regarded options for degree seekers interested in a computer science degree from New Mexico. An added benefit to the larger state schools is the large variety of coursework available. Because more students attend, more classes are available than at smaller private schools.
Even though on-campus degrees are more common, there are also some online computer science programs in New Mexico. Eastern New Mexico University offers a comprehensive computer science program that allows student to complete all coursework online. With an experienced staff and a dedication to student-to-professor access, this degree was created with the long-distance learner in mind. With numerous tutoring options, students have all the tools necessary to successfully complete their degree. The school awarded $22 million in financial assistance just last year.
Students seeking additional online learning opportunities should research the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, a 16-state body devoted to expanding higher education opportunities for individuals living in western states. Online learning is a popular option due to the fact that it is often cheaper than campus-based programs. Online programs also offer more flexibility.
Before committing to an online computer science program in New Mexico, potential students should ensure their school of choice has received the proper accreditation. Students should attend a school that has regional accreditation since it demonstrates that a school meets academic standards. Additionally, students should seek a school accredited by a programmatic accreditation body such as the Computing Accreditation Commission, a division of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
Students may choose from a variety of online computer science programs in New Mexico. Professional goals, time, and financial investment are all factors when selecting a degree to pursue. Associate degrees allow students to gain technical skills quickly, entering the workforce in as little as two years. Individuals seeking creative positions or leadership roles often consider bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Each degree path offers graduates a path to computer science careers in New Mexico, from support technicians to research scientists.
Many students choose an associate degree in computer science because of the focus on practical skills and quick completion. Most programs require just 60-66 credits, allowing full-time students to graduate in two years or less. Online computer science programs in New Mexico provide a personalized schedule, and comprehensive learning experience combines with flexibility and convenience.
Associate degree programs offer foundational learning in computer programming, troubleshooting, and architecture. Degrees may include an associate of science or arts, with a curriculum designed for students wishing to transfer to a four-year program. Check your school’s accreditation and transfer agreements to ensure your credits will apply toward a bachelor’s degree.
Graduates often enter the workforce with jobs in network administration, computer programming, cybersecurity, and technical support. Entry-level salaries may range from $35,000 for help desk technicians to $49,000 for network administrators.
The BLS projects 24% growth in software developer employment through 2026. This is just one of the many careers a bachelor’s degree in computer science prepares graduates to pursue. The degree requires 120-180 credits, with most students graduating within 3-5 years. Online programs offer accelerated formats, flexible scheduling, and innovative instructional methods, often without the need to visit campus.
The curriculum provides a foundation in technical skills like coding and programming, and the analytical skills needed to develop new applications, test systems, and resolve network problems. Many programs also offer specializations in information and communication, database management, security architecture, or data mining.
Graduates can combine their degrees with industry certifications. Often, these certifications require students to complete an accredited computer science degree. Typical career paths include computer systems analyst, web developer, or software engineer, with average entry-level salaries between $50,000 and $91,000.
A master’s in computer science offers an opportunity to build research skills before pursuing a doctoral degree, expertise in a particular area of computer science, or to enter the field after studying an unrelated subject at the undergraduate level. Many master’s programs also offer dual degrees in business, economics, architecture, or journalism.
Many online computer science degrees in New Mexico developed with working students in mind. Flexible scheduling, accelerated formats, and fully remote options allow students to continue working while earning their degree. Most master’s degrees require 30-45 credits completed in 2-5 years, depending on whether students enroll as full-time or part-time learners. Schools may waive prerequisite or foundation programs for students with an approved undergraduate degree or significant professional experience.
A master’s degree prepares graduates for leadership roles within their industry, such as senior network administrator, information security manager, or chief technical officer. Entry-level salaries for these senior positions can range from $54,000 up to $85,000.
Individuals interested in a career in academia or research should consider earning a Ph.D. in computer science. Many universities and research centers require this high level of education for roles in the development of new technology. Jobs such as software development manager, security architect, or data modeler offer starting salaries from $59,000 to $104,000.
Doctoral degrees take 5-7 years to complete, requiring students to work closely with their faculty advisor to craft a unique curriculum. Most programs require 72-90 credits with students delving into a specialization such as robotics, machine learning, algorithms, or computational biology. Entrance decisions typically focus on prior academic achievement, research capabilities, and professional recommendations.
Students often draw from other disciplines such as chemistry, biology, or engineering to inform their innovative research projects, Students research how computer programming or applications can improve products or services in areas of forensic science, nanotechnology, and biomechanical engineering. The degree culminates with a dissertation outlining an independent research project.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in New Mexico
Professional organizations are a considerable asset for students seeking an online computer science degree in New Mexico. Whether you are a fresh graduate or a seasoned professional, the resources offered by these organizations can be extremely helpful. Benefits include networking opportunities, scholarships, and access to publications. These groups routinely offer continuing education programs and career training. Through conferences, job boards, and civic engagement, these organizations assist their members with professional advancement.
- American Indian Science and Engineering Society: This organization works to increase the number of indigenous peoples working in STEM careers. They provide support for STEM education in schools, scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study, and events designed to spark interest in these growing fields. Members gain access to ongoing professional development and networking opportunities. The organization also looks to its members to provide mentorship for Native students.
- New Mexico Technology Council: This organization brings together tech professionals, businesses, and organizations to grow technology-focused jobs throughout New Mexico. Members participate in activities throughout the year focused on advocacy, new technology, and practical applications for businesses. It also offers a job board with technology-based openings throughout the state.
- IEEE Computer Society: IEEE Computer Society welcomes members to more than 200 conferences each year, bringing industry professionals together for networking and learning opportunities. The society includes more than 60,000 members across 400 local and regional chapters. Members may also join 40 communities devoted to computer science specializations. The organization provides professional development, ongoing training opportunities, and a mentorship program.
Additional Computer Science Resources in New Mexico
- New Mexico Techworks: A Santa Fe based nonprofit, New Mexico Techworks seeks to both expand tech-based educational programs while also bolstering New Mexico’s tech economy. Through community involvement programs providing access to computer science education, Techworks encourages the future of the New Mexican tech economy. Techworks also provides career assistance, refresher courses, and coding boot camps.
- TechHire New Mexico: Stemming from a 2015 initiative from the Obama administration, TechHire is a technology-focused job pipeline for professionals seeking employment in four New Mexico counties: Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia. This program provides accelerated technological training, job placement, career counseling, and apprenticeships alongside other vital tools. While geographically specific, this program can provide a considerable amount of assistance to computer science graduates.
- Computer Hacking and Capture the Flag: This University of New Mexico student organization teaches members topics such as networking, website design, and digital forensics. These skills are implemented in the form of hacking competitions known as Capture the Flag. This real-time exhibition not only exercises skills learned, but provides a unique way for students to network and engage within their computer science community.
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