Computer Science Programs in Pennsylvania

The 2017 CompTIA Cyberstates report ranks Pennsylvania as eighth in the nation for tech employment; more than 200,000 Pennsylvania residents work in the tech sector, and the state is home to more than 16,000 tech-based businesses. To expand the state’s technology industry, Governor Tom Wolf worked with the Department of Education to adopt provisions from the 2016 Computer Science For All government initiative, which allowed the federal government to invest $4 billion in national computer science programs and give $100 million directly to school districts.

Officials project Pennsylvania will have 300,000 STEM jobs by 2018. Because of the government’s dedication to growing the tech industry and increasing demand for computer science professionals, students from across the country choose to earn their computer science degree in Pennsylvania.

Officials project Pennsylvania will have 300,000 STEM jobs by 2018.

Higher Education in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is home to one of the largest state university systems in the country, which comprises 14 universities and enrolls more than 112,000 students. The state university system includes respected institutions such as Bloomsburg University, Edinboro, and Mansfield. The state university system’s Strategic Plan 2020 involves expanding the number of awarded STEM degrees and certificates. Because the state invests in education, computer science colleges in Pennsylvania consistently offer rigorous programs that produce qualified graduates.

For students pursuing a computer science degree, Pennsylvania institutions offer a variety of respected on-campus and online programs. In 2017, Penn State commissioned 163 computer and information sciences and support services courses, and Temple University offers dual majors in mathematics/physics and computer science. One of the best computer science schools in Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, is located in Pittsburgh.

Computer Science Careers in Pennsylvania

The national technology industry is growing rapidly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19% increase in demand for computer and information scientists by 2026. According to the 2017 Cyberstates report, Pennsylvania R&D and testing labs employ 40,010 professionals and local engineering services employ 38,010 residents.

The average salary for a Pennsylvania tech industry employee is $95,630, and the majority of tech positions are in major cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania is home to more than 300 tech startups, in addition to Fortune 500 companies such as Comcast and PNC Financial Services.

Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Web Developer $60,000
Application Developer $61,000
Software Engineer $77,000

Master's Degree

Web Developer $80,000
Application Developer $80,000
Software Engineer $91,000

Computer Science Employers in Pennsylvania

  • Infosys: Infosys is a consulting and IT services company. Founded in India in 1981, the now global company creates artificial intelligence platforms and data clouds for small and large businesses. Infosys hires senior systems engineers, technology architects, and technical leads.
  • Comcast: Comcast is a telecommunications company that delivers internet, cable, and telephone services. One of the largest telecommunications organizations in the world, Comcast owns broadcast network channels including MSNBC and The Weather Channel. Comcast employs data scientists, software developers, and software architects.
  • Amazon: Amazon is the world’s largest and most profitable e-commerce site. Incorporated in 1994, the multi-billion-dollar retailer has thousands of employees. Its subdivision, Amazon Web Services, supports app and software developers. Amazon and Amazon Web Services employs software development engineers, quality assurance engineers, and Android engineers.

How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Pennsylvania?

Professionals with a computer science degree in Pennsylvania earn higher salaries than graduates in other fields, and the state has a high concentration of computer and mathematical occupations. Although mean salaries for computer science professionals in the state are lower than the national mean, Pennsylvania has a high demand for technology professionals.

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Pennsylvania 154,710 $38.99 $81,100
United States 4,165,140 $42.25 $87,880

Source: BLS

Computer Science Programs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) works to improve computer science programs in Pennsylvania and increase the number of computer science graduates in the state. PASSHE projects that 57% of Pennsylvania jobs will require a postsecondary degree by 2018 and, to meet demand for educated professionals, works to increase on-campus and online enrollment. PASSHE plans to develop a clearinghouse for additional online courses, which will help busy students earn degrees.

Most computer science schools in Pennsylvania offer online programs, which meet the same educational standards as on-campus programs. Carnegie Mellon allows students to transfer into an online program after their first year. Villanova University offers a flexible online computer engineering program that allows students to take one course per semester and graduate within three years.

When researching on-campus or online computer programs in Pennsylvania, look for regional or national accreditation. Pennsylvania institutions are regionally accredited by from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Accreditation ensures that programs meet standards of academic rigor and faculty expertise.

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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.

Associate in Computer Science

 

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

Bachelor’s in Computer Science

 

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

Master’s in Computer Science

 

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

Computer Science Ph.D

 

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

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What Schools Offer a Computer Science Degree in Pennsylvania?

The database below includes accredited online computer science programs in Pennsylvania. The best computer science schools in Pennsylvania hold regional or national accreditation and award degrees that are recognized by employers. While researching Pennsylvania computer science schools, consider your academic and scheduling requirements. Explore the database, and review each potential program’s course offerings and admission requirements.

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Professional Computer Science Organizations in Pennsylvania

Both students and professionals with an online computer science degree in Pennsylvania benefit from joining professional organizations. Organizations facilitate networking among like-minded students and professionals. Professional organizations also provide career services and job boards to help members secure employment. Pennsylvania’s computer science organizations host annual conferences, offer scholarships, and provide continuing education programs.

  • Association for Computing Machinery: With chapters around the world, ACM is the world’s largest computing society. The organization connects researchers, educators, and professionals and regularly publishes a journal. ACM’s Education Board works with universities to strengthen computer science curricula.
  • Association for Women in Computing: Founded in 1978, AWC supports women in computer science professions. Members receive networking opportunities, professional resources, mentorship, and awards.
  • Computing Research Association: CRA improves computing research and education and works closely with government agencies to share advancements in computing research. The organization assists policymakers with STEM initiatives and legislation.

Additional Computer Science Resources in Pennsylvania

  • Institute for Software Research: ISR, part of Carnegie Mellon University, oversees master’s programs, doctoral programs, and research projects in software architecture and program analysis. In 2017, ISR’s master’s of software engineering professional program was inducted into the CSEE&T Hall of Fame.
  • Philly Tech Guide: This website dedicated to Philadelphia’s technology industry provides information about local startups and enterprises throughout the city. Students can use the site to find networking events and stay updated about startup acquisitions and job opportunities. The website also provides information about incubators and accelerators, funding sources, and coworking spaces.
  • Project Liberty Digital Incubator: Project Liberty provides workspace and administrative support for local startups. The initiative is supervised by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners. Members receive mentorship and counseling from initiative partners, develop relationships with investors and industry insiders, and gain access to software and support services from Microsoft and Rackspace.
  • Science Center: The Science Center supports entrepreneurs and researchers interested in technology innovation and commercialization. In 1963, the Science Center began as a Philadelphia nonprofit entity for scientific research. Today, the Science Center includes Quorum, the Entrepreneur’s Clubhouse, and FirstHand Lab. Academic and research shareholders in New Jersey and Delaware invest in the Science Center.