Computer Science Programs in South Dakota

According to, only 145 students graduated from computer science colleges in South Dakota in 2015, compared to the state’s 600 job openings in computer science. The state needs qualified professionals to fill these positions and grow the state’s computer science and technology industries. Although 71% of available STEM jobs in South Dakota are in computer science, only 8% of recent graduates of STEM programs in South Dakota majored in computer science.

According to Forbes, South Dakota’s largest industries include retail, finance, and healthcare, which all employ computer science professionals. Individuals planning to study computer science in South Dakota have plenty of options. This guide will help you become familiar with the best computer science schools in South Dakota.

Only 145 students graduated from computer science colleges in South Dakota in 2015, compared to the state’s 600 job openings in computer science.

Higher Education in South Dakota

South Dakota offers an abundance of higher education opportunities, including public and private universities, community colleges, technical schools, and postsecondary tribal schools. In fall of 2016, more than 36,000 students were enrolled in four-year public institutions in South Dakota. The state’s largest university system, South Dakota State University, has four campuses and enrolled more than 12,000 students in fall of 2016. The University of South Dakota is the second-largest system, with four campuses and several medical school campuses in rural South Dakota.

Students planning to earn an online computer science degree in South Dakota have plenty of options. The Electronic University Consortium, founded in 2000, offers online degree programs for South Dakota residents. In fall 2016, more than 14,600 South Dakota students were enrolled in at least one distance learning course, and online options throughout the state continue to expand, making South Dakota institutions ideal for students pursuing on-campus or online degrees.

Computer Science Careers in South Dakota

According to Forbes, major industries In South Dakota include retail, healthcare, and finance — all of which employ graduates of computer science programs in South Dakota. Most major industries require skilled computer science professionals to manage networks, contribute to marketing and web design, manage digital files and records, and implement cybersecurity measures.

Computer science professionals are more likely to find jobs in South Dakota’s large cities, such as Sioux Falls and Rapid City. However, the state’s high demand for computer science professionals means graduates are likely to find employment in many areas of the state. The table below highlights median salaries for various computer science professionals with bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Senior Software Engineer $104,662
Software Developer $65,648
Software Engineer $76,738

Master's Degree

Senior Software Engineer $116,242
Software Developer $79,796
Software Engineer $90,648

Computer Science Employers in South Dakota

  • 3M: Known for their adhesive paper products, including Post-it Notes, 3M is one of the largest private employers in South Dakota. 3M specializes in various industries, including electronics and communications, and offers job opportunities for professionals who hold a computer science degree in South Dakota.
  • Avera Medical: Based in Sioux Falls, this large medical group provides service across the Midwest. Avera employs nearly 16,000 people, including positions in coding and information, which are ideal for graduates of online computer science programs in South Dakota.
  • Citibank: This international banking firm is headquartered in Sioux Falls. As the company grows, Citibank is becoming increasingly digital and needs computer science professionals to create smartphone applications, protect customer privacy online, and manage data networks.

How Much do Computer Scientists Make in South Dakota?

Salaries of computer science professionals vary by location. A state’s cost of living, economic climate, and labor force demographic impact median wages. The table below compares the mean wages of computer science professionals in South Dakota to the national mean wages. Although mean wages in South Dakota are lower than the national mean, the state’s cost of living is also lower.

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
South Dakota 7,830 $30.74 $63,930
United States 4,165,140 $42.25 $87,880

Source: BLS

Computer Science Programs in South Dakota

To improve the accessibility of higher education in the state, South Dakota’s six public universities partner with four regional university centers, allowing students to take courses from public universities at satellite locations. South Dakota State University, the largest system in the state, has campuses in Brookings, Aberdeen, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls. SDSU offers on-campus undergraduate and graduate computer science programs and departmental scholarships. The University of South Dakota offers three computer science degrees and a computer science minor. The state provides a tool called Select Dakota to help students learn about public institutions and state-based financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

Many students choose to pursue online computer science programs in South Dakota. Many of the state’s institutions provide distance education programs. Through the Electronic University Consortium of South Dakota (EUC), all six of the state’s public institutions provide online courses and programs. The EUC offers the same affordable tuition rates to both in-state and out-of-state students, and all programs are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


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


What Schools Offer a Computer Science Degree in South Dakota?

Many of the best computer science schools in South Dakota offer both on-campus and online degrees. Research the state’s computer science industry and the types of programs available to make an informed decision about the best school for you. The list below includes all accredited computer science programs in South Dakota.


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Professional Computer Science Organizations in South Dakota

Students at computer science schools in South Dakota benefit from joining professional organizations. These organizations provide resources and networking opportunities for both students and experienced professionals. Membership benefits often include networking events, annual conferences, career services, job boards, and continuing education programs. The organizations below are open to computer science students and professionals in South Dakota.

  • Upsilon Pi Epsilon: This national organization has chapters at several colleges and universities in South Dakota, including South Dakota State University. The honors society accepts students in computer and information programs.
  • Association for Computing Machinery: This national organization has student-led branches at schools in South Dakota. ACM emphasizes advancement and progress in the field of computer science, both academically and professionally.
  • South Dakota Telecommunications Association: This organization is ideal for professionals who work for telecommunications companies in South Dakota. Members receive access to job boards and scholarship opportunities.

Additional Computer Science Resources in South Dakota

  • Select Dakota: This state-run website provides tools and resources for individuals considering earning a degree in South Dakota, including incoming freshmen, working professionals, and transfer students. The website provides information about state-funded scholarships and financial aid.
  • SD Board of Regents Fact Books: These annual fact books, published by the South Dakota Board of Regents, contain information regarding public higher education in the state, including enrollment numbers, degree trends, tuition information, and financial resources.
  • South Dakota Board of Regents: This website is a hub for information about public higher education in South Dakota. The website provides information about applying to South Dakota schools, securing financial aid, and pursuing distance education.
  • Computer Science at South Dakota State University: As the largest university system in the state, SDSU’s website is useful for anyone considering South Dakota institutions. The computer science department website provides information about computer science degree options, career opportunities, and professional development retreats.