The computer science industry is flourishing in North Dakota, creating opportunities for computer science professionals in academic, research, public service, and industry roles. Several computer science positions are ranked among the fastest-growing careers in the state, and computer science professionals in North Dakota earn competitive salaries.
The BLS projects computer science positions in North Dakota to grow far more quickly than the national average for occupations in the field, which is one reason many students choose to study computer science in North Dakota. The state’s technology-focused organizations, along with companies and governmental agencies that rely on computer science, provide employment opportunities for graduates. Computer science schools in North Dakota offer both quality academic programs and a variety of career options.
Several computer science positions are ranked among the fastest-growing careers in the state, and computer science professionals in North Dakota earn competitive salaries.
Higher Education in North Dakota
Although North Dakota has a low population compared to other states, the state is home to 21 colleges and universities, 14 of which are public institutions. The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks enrolls nearly 15,000 students, with North Dakota State University not far behind. Undergraduate students who prefer a smaller campus may consider the University of Jamestown, which offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science. North Dakota also has five tribal colleges, four of which offer technical and vocational degrees.
North Dakota institutions offer a variety of online and on-campus computer science programs, and many students are drawn to the state’s low cost of living and beautiful atmosphere. However, even students living outside the state can receive a quality education from the best computer science schools in North Dakota. Many schools, such the University of North Dakota, allow online students to pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of state residency.
Computer Science Careers in North Dakota
Roles for graduates of computer science colleges in North Dakota are expanding and offer significantly higher salaries than the national average. Graduates pursue roles as computer network architects, programmers, systems analysts, and information research scientists. The BLS projects jobs for computer scientists to grow 13% nationally by 2026 and offer annual salaries $35,000 more than the national average for all occupations.
Job growth for computer scientists in North Dakota is set to outpace even the national average. The BLS projects web developer positions in North Dakota to increase 35.5% by 2026, compared to 26.6% nationally. Likewise, the BLS projects the number of information security to grow 26.8% in North Dakota, but only 17.9% nationally. The majority of computer science positions in North Dakota are located in large cities, including Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Minot.
Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree
Computer Science Employers in North Dakota
- North Dakota State University: North Dakota’s largest higher education institution is also its largest employer, with more than 4,500 employees. Aside from computer science teachers, the institution also needs network analysts to ensure safety and security.
- Altru Health System: Altru’s central office in Grand Forks employs more than 3,500 people. The health system needs qualified professionals to implement and maintain software and hardware, oversee data security, and manage internal networks.
- Microsoft: Microsoft’s employs 1,800 people at its Fargo office. Positions are available in areas such as data and analytics, Azure apps and infrastructure, and business apps.
How Much Do Computer Scientists Make in North Dakota?
Although computer science professionals in North Dakota earn less than the national average, the cost of living in North Dakota is significantly lower. According to CNN, housing in the technology hub of San Francisco, California, is 248% more expensive than in North Dakota’s capital city of Bismarck. Other factors affecting individual salaries include experience, education, industry, and employer.
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Computer Science Programs in North Dakota
Students considering computer science programs in North Dakota have many options. Campus-based programs are available in all major cities, including Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Fargo. UND is one of the best computer science schools in North Dakota, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. NDSU also offers a variety of computer science programs, including a popular bachelor’s program. Students who prefer to attend a private institution can pursue computer science programs at the University of Mary and the University of Jamestown.
Several institutions also offer online computer science degrees in North Dakota. Minot State University offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in information systems, and NDSU offers an online master’s in software engineering. North Dakota is also part of the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which allows students to pay discounted tuition rates for programs in other states, including Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Online learning is ideal for busy students with professional or personal commitments. Since most online programs are taught asynchronously, students have the flexibility to watch lectures and complete assignments at their convenience. This flexibility also allows students to complete online programs at an accelerated pace.
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 North Dakota?
After researching the educational and professional opportunities in North Dakota, students should select the computer science program that best fits their unique goals. Using the search tool below, explore on-campus and online computer science degrees in North Dakota to find a great match. Every institution in the list below is fully accredited.
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Professional Computer Science Organizations in North Dakota
Students, recent graduates, and experienced professionals benefit from joining professional organizations. These groups provide networking opportunities, such as annual conferences or monthly events. Members also receive access to continuing education opportunities, career guidance, and job boards. The computer science organizations below are open to students and professionals in North Dakota.
- North Dakota Society of Professional Engineers: This organization represents engineers in the state, including computer, software, and hardware engineers. Members attend regular events and receive access to professional resources. The group maintains chapters throughout North Dakota.
- IEEE Computer Society: This organization for computer science professionals offers educational and professional activities, regularly scheduled events, and an annual conference for members.
- Computing Research Association: CRA is a national organization that supports computer scientists working in academics, public service, and industry. Membership benefits include access to events and a job board.
Additional Computer Science Resources in North Dakota
- Association for Computing Machinery: North Dakota State University has maintained this student chapter of ACM since 1974, and the group offers regular opportunities for involvement. Some of the services students can take advantage of include programming competitions, social gatherings, speakers, and regular opportunities to further develop their knowledge.
- Association for Computing Machinery Women: Members of the University of North Dakota’s ACM-W chapter attend meetings, computing contests, and game nights. Members can pursue leadership roles as officers.
- Cybersecurity Student Organization: This student organization on NDSU’s campus offers competitions, workshops, and guest lectures. Members network with like-minded individuals and potential employers, and they receive off-campus professional development opportunities.
- Research Projects: UND maintains a list of current student and faculty research projects. The department fosters relationships with organizations around the world to help students secure employment after graduation.