Oklahoma’s top industries include energy, manufacturing, retail, and services. While it is generally not a state known for its technology industry, this does not signify a lack of information technology jobs. In fact, technology pervades nearly all industries. Oklahoma has five Fortune 500 companies headquartered within its borders, all of which are energy companies.
Within each of those companies, there is a demand for information technology analysts, software engineers, software developers, web developers, and other jobs that require a degree in computer science, information technology, or engineering. As a result, earning a computer science degree in Oklahoma is a profitable investment in your future.
Oklahoma has five Fortune 500 companies headquartered within its borders, all of which are energy companies.
Higher Education in Oklahoma
There are 158 institutions of higher learning in the state of Oklahoma. A few of the largest and most well-known public universities include the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Central Oklahoma. Notable private institutions include the University of Tulsa, Oral Roberts University, Oklahoma City University, and Oklahoma Christian University.
Many of these universities and colleges offer both on-campus and online courses. According to NCES, 10.6% of students enrolled in Title IV institutions in Oklahoma are enrolled exclusively in distance education courses while 18% are enrolled in some but not all distance education courses. Both these figures are higher than the national average.
Online programs and courses offer flexibility in scheduling. As a result, they are favorable for students who may have other obligations such as a full-time job or child care responsibilities. The University of Oklahoma, for example, offers both self-paced courses and term-based courses. Term-based courses are taught online following the university academic calendar, but require a proctored exam taken on campus. Self-paced courses are 180 days long and allow students to enroll at any time during the year. If you are interested in pursuing a computer science degree but require flexibility, you might explore online computer science programs in Oklahoma.
Computer Science Careers in Oklahoma
Nationally, computer and technology occupations are growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that information security analysts will see a 28% growth in employment in the next decade, while software developers will see a 24% growth in employment. These rates are much faster than the national average of 7%. These positions usually require at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. This makes a computer science degree a useful degree in the coming years for obtaining stable and lucrative jobs.
Computer science positions can also be found in other fields. For example, in 2016 nearly 20% of information security analysts were employed in the finance and insurance industry and nearly 20% of software developers were employed in the manufacturing industry. Oklahoma is home to a variety of computer science careers and positions even though it is not known for its computer and technology industry.
Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree
Computer Science Employers in Oklahoma
- Dell Technologies: Dell Technologies is a multinational information technology corporation based in Round Rock, Texas. While they are not headquartered in Oklahoma, they employ roughly 1,000-1,500 people within the state, making it one of the top employers in Oklahoma’s technology industry. A few relevant positions at the company include software engineer, systems engineering analyst, software developer, and cloud engineer.
- IBM (International Business Machines): IBM is a large information technology company based in New York. The company has locations in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. They employ roughly 300-400 people within the state. Computer science related positions within the company include AI/machine learning software developer, software engineer, systems programmer, and software performance analyst.
- The Williams Company, Inc.: Williams is a Fortune 500 energy company headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The company processes and transports natural gas, and also holds assets in petroleum and electricity. They employ 1300-1500 people, among which include computer science-related occupations. A few positions in the company that require a degree in computer science include IT business systems analyst, business systems programmer, and telecommunications specialist.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Oklahoma?
As illustrated in the table below, the average salary for employees in computer and mathematical occupations in Oklahoma is roughly $19,000 lower than the national average. This is a significant amount but there are several factors that may contribute to this difference. These average salaries take all computer and mathematical occupations into consideration, including low wage entry-level positions. Computer support positions generally pay less than software engineering positions.
It is also worth noting that cost of living is significantly lower in Oklahoma than many other cities, particularly technology industry hubs. According to Nerdwallet, the cost of living in Oklahoma City is 52% lower than in San Francisco, CA.
|Employment||Hourly Mean Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
Computer Science Programs in Oklahoma
Computer science degrees in Oklahoma are offered at many levels: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and certificate. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees are the most common. A bachelor’s degree in computer science usually entails around 120 credit hours of coursework, including a capstone course in the final year. Capstone courses typically involve an individual or group project where students design their own software, application, or other product using the skills they have accumulated throughout their degree. At the University of Oklahoma, the senior capstone course requires students to develop, test, and deliver a software product.
Master’s degrees in computer science are shorter than bachelor’s degrees but cover more in-depth and complex content. Degree requirements include 30 credit hours of coursework and either a thesis or non-thesis project. Required coursework in the University of Oklahoma master’s program is split into three different areas: systems, theory, and applications. All students are required to take at least two courses from each area.
Online computer science colleges in Oklahoma offer more flexibility than on-campus colleges. Getting an online degree is perfect for students who are interested in particular programs but may not live close to the school or have other obligations.
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 Oklahoma?
Deciding where to get an online computer science degree in Oklahoma can be an intensive process. There are several factors to consider when researching prospective schools and programs, including degree requirements, tuition cost, faculty to student ratio, faculty research, and topics of course offerings. Below is a list of online computer science programs in Oklahoma and a brief description of each to help you in your decision.
schools that match your search
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Oklahoma
Computer science professional organizations can provide networking opportunities, research conferences, publication opportunities, career development events, and job postings. These organizations are a great resource for computer science researchers, educators, professionals, and students. They can also be a source of support for minorities or underrepresented populations within the field.
- Association for Information Science and Technology: ASIS&T is a professional organization dedicated to bridging the gap between information technology research and practice. The association connects researchers, students, and working professionals through annual meetings, career development opportunities, and publications. Their membership includes professionals in information science, computer science, management, engineering, law, and medicine.
- Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology: Founded by computer scientist Anita Borg, this professional community supports women in technology related fields. The organization partners with academic institutions and Fortune 500 companies who are training the next generation of tech-savvy women.
- Association of Information Technology Professionals: AITP is an organization for technology professionals, students, and educators. The association builds skills and promotes networking by hosting various chapter events and leadership programs.
Additional Computer Science Resources in Oklahoma
- AITP Student Program: The AITP student program page connects students with mentors working in technology fields. It helps students work toward becoming a technology professional. Membership in this program is free for students enrolled in college courses.
- CRA Computer Science Undergraduate Research: The Computer Research Association website has a page dedicated to undergraduate computer science research opportunities. This page is a great resource for computer science majors who would like to conduct research over the summer. The website also has information on graduate programs and advice on applying to graduate school.
- Association for Women in Computing: Founded in 1978, AWC is one of the oldest professional organizations dedicated to the advancement of women in computing disciplines. The association provides career development programs and technical lessons to promote professional growth amongst women. The organization also offers continuing education and mentoring opportunities.
- Association for Computing Machinery: ACM is dedicated to the advancement of computing as a science and profession. They host annual conferences, events, awards, and publications. Their website also provides resources for computer science education. Educators can find posters, brochures, and videos to use in computer science curricula. Graduating students can find posted career opportunities on the job board.