Oregon attracts many of the brightest minds in computer science and technology. In addition to prominent robotics research centers, the state has many well-known high-technology employers, such as Intel, Mentor, and Symantec. The metropolitan area known as the Silicon Forest offers multiple options for students interested in pursuing computer science careers in Oregon.
A recent CompTIA analysis of the tech industry and workforce also indicates positive technology employment trends in Oregon, particularly for computer support specialists, software developers, and web developers. According to Career One Stop, data warehousing specialists and network architects enjoy promising job prospects in Oregon as well. This guide provides important information for anyone interested in online computer science programs in Oregon.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth rate of 13% for computer and information technology occupations through 2026.
Higher Education in Oregon
With 125 colleges and universities, Oregon offers many options for online computer science programs in Oregon. While Portland and the Willamette Valley near the interstate corridor boast the highest concentration of higher education institutions, central and eastern Oregon offer highly regarded schools as well. Notable schools include the University of Oregon in Eugene, Lewis & Clark College in Portland, and Oregon State University in Corvallis, known for its collaborative robotics program.
Professional organizations for computer science in Oregon include the Portland-based Association for Computer Professionals In Education and the American Mathematical Society. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery also maintain chapters at public and private universities in the state. Check the Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s website for press releases and updates, including information on tuition assistance grants.
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Mean 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. Its 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: An ecommerce marketplace with a mobile software development center in Portland, eBay was established after the buyout of the Critical Path software firm in 2010. The Portland office often seeking software developers, full stack engineers, senior UX designers, and senior software engineers.
Computer Science Programs in Oregon
Many computer science schools in Oregon, including Western Governors University (WGU) and Eastern Oregon University (EOU), host 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 close student-faculty relationships. Students receive access to university equipment and resources, including state-of-the-art computer labs that are open 24/7.
Oregon State University offers one of the most flexible computer science programs in Oregon. The school of electrical engineering and computer science awards online post baccalaureate degrees in computer science, providing the flexibility for students to continue working while earning their degree.
Self-starting students often do well with online courses, whereas learners who prefer one-on-one attention are attracted to on-campus classes. The best computer science schools in Oregon offer support resources to online students, such as etutoring.
On-campus and distance learners should consider accreditation status when researching schools. Oregon public institutions hold regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Additionally, the best online computer science programs in Oregon hold programmatic accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
Students interested in online computer science programs in Oregon can earn associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. While many employers require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level jobs, an associate degree may provide an affordable route to employment in areas such as technical support or cybersecurity. At the master’s level, students typically pursue a specialization. With a doctoral degree, graduates pursue advanced academic and research careers.
Associate programs provide an affordable way to secure entry-level employment or complete general education requirements before transferring to a bachelor’s program. Students typically complete 60 credits in two years of full-time study for an associate degree. Some Oregon colleges design computer science curricula as pre-professional programs according to ACM guidelines, enabling seamless transfer to a four-year computer science program at any institution in the Oregon University System.
In addition to general education coursework, students may study object-oriented programming fundamentals, calculus, and linear algebra. Elective options might include courses on web development, statistics, computer networks, and cybersecurity. Students interested in transferring to a bachelor’s program should consult with an adviser to plan optimal course progression.
Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree typically complete 120-130 credits in four years of full-time study, including an internship or capstone project. Some schools offer two computer science tracks: a preparatory track for graduate education and a software development track for careers in software engineering or other industry occupations.
Typical courses include principles of operating systems, software engineering, theory of algorithms, technology in global context, and database management. Electives include artificial intelligence, data mining, and cloud application development. Some bachelor’s programs offer optional concentrations, such as cybersecurity, to supplement core coursework. Many programs offer internship opportunities as early as the first year.
Master’s programs in computer science typically attract students interested in pursuing an advanced specialty. For example, some students earn a master’s degree to work as a computer and information research scientist, an occupation that the BLS projects to grow 19% by 2026. A typical master’s program comprises 18-24 credits and requires two years of full-time study to complete. Many programs also offer a thesis option. Some schools provide accelerated one-year completion options for qualifying students.
Typical coursework includes classes on advanced software engineering, algorithms, data science, and database management systems. Some programs offer specializations in trending areas, such as big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cybersecurity. Many programs require a minimum 3.0 GPA for admission.
Graduates with a doctorate in computer science may take jobs as postsecondary teachers, operations research analysts, and data scientists. Students typically earn a doctoral degree in 4-5 years; most advisers recommend planning for five years. These programs usually require 70-80 credits, including 12-15 core credits, 21-30 elective credits, and 15-25 dissertation research credits. Additional credits may apply to internships and other graduate research projects.
Coursework in a typical doctoral program may include operating systems, theory of computation, analysis of algorithms, telecommunication network programming, and theory of networked computation. Most doctoral programs in computer science maintain highly competitive admission policies requiring a 3.2 minimum GPA or 3.0 for applicants with a master’s degree.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Oregon
Students and graduates benefit from joining professional organizations. These groups provide ample professional networking opportunities. For example, many major tech companies partner with organizations to recruit workers and develop continuing education initiatives. Organizations also manage job boards to alert members of new employment opportunities and hold annual conferences to discuss industry news. Below are a few prominent groups for individuals with a computer science degree in Oregon.
- Oregon Computer Science Teachers Association: The CSTA is a professional organization for educators interested in promoting access to elementary and secondary computer science education. Members receive access to a statewide network of educators sharing support, pedagogical resources, and curriculum information. Membership is free and open to all supporters of the association’s mission.
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: As a premier computer science and technology membership organization, IEEE caters to a global audience of computing enthusiasts. With a mission to serve technology professionals, IEEE fosters collaboration and leadership. Members receive access to local chapter meetings, cutting-edge webinars, and scholarship opportunities.
- American Mathematical Society: Founded in 1888, the AMS expands the international reach of mathematical scholarship, research, and education. The society partners with mathematicians globally to advocate for funding, nurture mathematical talent, and provide networking opportunities. Members enjoy access to travel grants, career services, registration discounts on meetings, and publications.
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