The Technology Association of Oregon conducted a study regarding the state’s tech industry in 2017, which found that this industry employs 78,000 Oregon residents and generates $25.4 billion for the state’s economy. Currently, Oregon boasts 3,400 tech firms, which have added 20,000 jobs to the workforce over the last five years. A CompTIA 2017 Cyberstates study revealed that semiconductor manufacturing is the leading tech sector in Oregon, followed by IT services and custom software services. This same report ranks Oregon eighth in the nation in terms of tech innovation.
As a result of this growth, Portland has earned the moniker “the Silicon Forest,” due to its similarities to California’s Silicon Valley. Additionally, the region’s emergence as a tech powerhouse led Forbes magazine to rank Portland as “the best place for business and careers” in 2017. Pursuing an online computer science degree in Oregon is a wise option for students interested in entering the technology sector.
Higher Education in Oregon
In 2011, the Oregon State government created the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). Two years later, this commission was granted full authority over the state’s higher education. In 2016, the HECC released a strategic plan to improve the level of educational attainment in the state. The HECC wants 40% of Oregonians aged 25-64 to hold a bachelor’s degree by 2025. Currently, 41% of Oregonians in this age range possess an associate degree or certificate, up from 38% in 2006. Oregon has 17 community colleges and seven public universities, including the Oregon Institute of Technology and the University of Oregon. The HECC oversees all 24 of these institutions and helps schools secure funding for programs and initiatives by submitting budget requests to the Governor and the Chief Education Officer.
Oregon also has 23 private colleges and universities, which operate under their own guidelines but receive degree authorization from the HECC. Among these is Western Governors University (WGU), which is a private institution that hopes to work with the state to create a web portal for Oregonians to access in-state and out-of-state academic programs. WGU also hopes to help increase the number of IT graduates in-state. Eastern Oregon University (EOU) is currently the state’s top online school with 60% of the student body enrolled in distance courses.
Computer Science Careers in Oregon
Nationally, nearly 7 million Americans work in the tech sector. According to the aforementioned Cyberstates Report, the top tech jobs in Oregon are software/applications development and computer user support specialists. Additionally, the average tech industry wage is $107,100, which is much higher than the average state wage of $49,000. Approximately 11,000 Oregonians work in software development. Portland is the state’s most significant tech stronghold. In fact, many of the city’s residents are well-educated transplants from other areas, such as Seattle or the Bay Area. The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis found that more than 40% of migrants to the state have a science or technical degree, and 80% of them live in the Portland area. Companies such as Amazon, Airbnb, and Apple are expanding their operations to Portland. Additionally, the IHS Markit study found that the addition of 100 tech jobs creates more than 130 jobs in other sectors, further stimulating the state’s economy.
Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree
Computer Science Employers in Oregon
- AirBnb: AirBnb is a concierge service that allows people to host travelers in their homes. Guests log into the platform to book a residence or purchase tickets for special events in their city. The company delivers 24/7 customer support and built a 27,000 square foot customer service center in Portland’s Old Town in 2014. AirBnb routinely hires professionals with computer science-related degrees.
- Apple: Apple is a technology company that creates tech products and services for everyday consumers. Their site in the Portland suburb of Vancouver focuses on office productivity software. The company is currently looking for machine-learning R&D engineers, workflow architects, senior software development engineers, and data center maintenance technicians.
- eBay: eBay is an ecommerce marketplace with a mobile software development center in Portland that was created after the buyout of the Critical Path software firm in 2010. The center is actively seeking software developers. The Portland office also has openings for full stack engineers, senior UX designers, and senior software engineers.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Oregon?
Several factors determine a professional’s annual tech salary, including their education level, specialization, work experience, and location. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oregon’s mean wage in computer-science related careers is similar to the national average. The information in the following table was gathered by the BLS and is based on all computer- and math-related occupations.
|Employment||Hourly Mean Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
Computer Science Programs in Oregon
Many computer science schools in Oregon, including WGU and EOU, have popular online programs. WGU is a fully online school, while EOU offers on-campus and online options. EOU’s on-campus computer science programs feature small class sizes, which foster closer student-faculty relationships. Students receive access to a wide range of university equipment and resources, including state-of-the-art computer labs that are open 24/7. Oregon State University (OSU) also offers one of the most flexible computer science programs in Oregon. OSU’s school of electrical engineering and computer science awards online post-baccalaureate degrees in computer science. Students can earn a degree by completing one-, two-, three-, or four-year tracks. All programs require the same amount of credits (60) to graduate and have four start dates per year. OSU’s flexible degree track is perfect for working students with busy schedules.
The main difference between on-campus and online courses is flexibility. Self-starting students often do well with online courses, whereas learners who prefer more one-on-one attention tend to be more comfortable taking on-campus classes. The best computer science schools in Oregon offer additional resources to online students, such as academic advisors and e-tutoring. On-campus and distance learners should also consider school and/or program accreditation when deciding where to pursue a degree. The two main forms of accreditation are regional and national. All Oregon public institutions hold regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Additionally, the best online computer science programs in Oregon hold accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.
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 Oregon?
The following list provides students with detailed information regarding Oregon computer science schools. This list features public and private colleges and universities. All of these institutions hold regional and/or national accreditation. Students interested in pursuing computer science in Oregon can refer to this guide to help them find the program that best fits their academic and career goals.
schools that match your search
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Oregon
Students and workers can both benefit greatly from joining a professional organization. These groups provide ample networking opportunities for aspiring tech industry employees. For example, many major tech companies enter into partnerships with organizations to recruit workers and develop continuing education initiatives. Organizations also manage job boards to alert members to new employment opportunities and hold annual conferences to discuss tech industry news and recent developments. Below are a few prominent groups for individuals with a computer science degree in Oregon.
- Oregon Computer Science Teachers Association: This association launched the Superquest program 30 years ago to address the STEM-education needs within the state. Through the program, educators develop the necessary skills to successfully integrate technology into their classrooms.
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Known as the world’s largest technical organization for professionals, the IEEE is committed to advancing technology around the globe. The 400,000+ member organization has chapters in many countries.
- American Mathematical Society: The AMS strives to improve mathematical research and education throughout the United States. The society organizes mathematics research communities to help members develop better teamwork skills.
Additional Computer Science Resources in Oregon
- Portland Tech Jobs: This site lists all open tech positions within the Greater Portland area. Tech Jobs also features information about non-tech support positions in the region. Visitors can find resources related to tech training, interview prep, the latest tech news, and tech-related events. Presently, over 4,000 jobs are listed on the site from more than 600 employers.
- Codefights.com: Computer programmers interested in improving their skills can use Codefights to practice programming in a variety of languages. Companies also use this site to recruit workers, schedule interviews, and rate applicants based on their performance on programming tests.
- Code Oregon: This initiative was designed to teach Oregonians how to code through well-developed training programs. The group regularly organizes study halls and mentor sessions. Recently, Code Oregon collaborated with the tech academy to create a four-part series in technical interview preparation. Students enrolled at any of the computer science colleges in Oregon are encouraged to join this group.