Computer science has experienced unparalleled growth in recent years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that computer and information technology positions will grow 13% from 2016 to 2026. The Vermont Department of Labor projects that, during that time, systems software developer jobs in Vermont will grow annually at a rate of 2.3%, making it one of the ten fastest-growing occupations statewide.
Other occupations, such as computer systems analysts and information security analysts, are also projected to grow steadily long term. The state has approximately 2,500 high-tech firms.
Computer science professionals returning to school can choose from online computer science programs at a couple of schools. Many computer science program graduates pursue computer science careers in Vermont at employers such as IBM.
Vermont has approximately 2,500 high-tech firms.
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Higher Education in Vermont
Vermont has a reputation for providing a range of higher education options, with a large number of colleges and universities per capita. The state has five public and 18 private nonprofit institutions — 20 of which offer undergraduate programs and 19 confer advanced degrees. For doctorates, including computer science programs in Vermont, students can choose from schools such as Middlebury College, the University of Vermont in Burlington, and the Vermont Law School.
Hybrid and online courses are available at computer science schools in Vermont, accommodating busy schedules and providing a more affordable way to earn a CS degree. As a result, students have more options available to them, while previous obstacles to earning a degree — such as geographic location — are becoming less of a factor.
Computer Science Careers in Vermont
Vermont’s leaders have recognized that discovery and innovation are the primary drivers in a tech-led economy, and the state has taken proactive steps to address its present and future. Tech talent, already facing a demand gap, is coveted across all industries today.
Vermont has always focused on both STEM and CS fields. The Green Mountain State has reported significant growth in hardware and software development, R&D, and aerospace discovery, as well as advances in energy research and manufacturing.
Mean Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree
COMPUTER SCIENCE EMPLOYERS IN VERMONT
- University of Vermont Medical Center: As Vermont’s largest employer, UVM Medical Center serves approximately 160,000 residents in the Chittenden and Grand Isle area. It maintains 11 primary care clinics and more than 100 outreach clinics. CS professionals help hospitals and healthcare networks organize data/records, build databases, solve cybersecurity challenges, and improve communication.
- IBM: The facility in Essex Junction employs more than 5,400 employees. A global company, IBM operates in more than 170 countries, and its entire business centers on computers: hardware, middleware, and software, hosting, analytics, nanotechnology.
- Jay Peak Resort: Vermont is a prime spot for ski/snowboard resorts, and Jay Peak is one of the largest, employing roughly 2,000 workers. Computer science roles in the resort industry include IT system administrators, business intelligence analysts, and data miners and/or analysts. Other resorts that are top employers in the state include Killington Grand and Mount Snow.
Computer Science Programs in Vermont
Created by statute in 1961, the Vermont State Colleges System ( VSCS) is the primary provider of postsecondary education in the state, serving more students than all other higher education institutions in Vermont combined. All VSCS colleges offer hybrid and online degree programs.
A recent LinkedIn survey found that the top 10 skills employers look for were all relevant in computer science, including cloud and distributed computing, statistical analysis (data mining), and web architecture. Online computer science programs in Vermont teach these very tech skills.
Accreditation is another consideration for students earning an online computer science degree in Vermont. Regional accreditation for the state is granted by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the oldest accrediting association in the country. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation certifies a school’s department, and all students interested in the field should ensure their prospective programs are accredited by ABET.
TYPES OF COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREES
Students in online computer science programs in Vermont pursue different levels of degrees based on their career plans. Some may earn an associate degree in computer science, then work in an entry-level job while earning a bachelor’s degree part time. Others plan to teach computer science and transition quickly from their bachelor’s to a graduate program. Though most careers in the field only require a bachelor’s, different career paths translate to different degrees for computer science students.
Some computer science professionals earn an associate in computer science degree before going on to earn their bachelor’s. An associate degree in computer science prepares the degree holder for entry-level work in positions such as web developer or computer support specialist. In these programs, students learn fundamentals of programming and maintaining computers and computer systems. Coursework often includes introductory courses on programming, followed by more in-depth courses on information systems and computer systems analysis and design. Many courses include projects that students can later include in their academic portfolio. Some degrees require students to complete an internship or present a final capstone project. An associate in computer science program typically takes two years, or approximately 60-66 credits to complete.
A bachelor’s in computer science provides an in-depth overview of the basic concepts in the field, including computer architecture, software engineering, and data structures. Many of the most highly-desired jobs in computer science, such as computer programmer and computer systems analyst, require at least a bachelor’s degree. Courses include topics such as analysis of algorithms, operating systems, and computer networks. A bachelor’s in computer science often appeals to learners who already hold an associate in computer science or recent high school graduates looking to transition directly into a job requiring a bachelor’s. Many bachelor’s in computer science degrees may provide students several options for concentrations applicable to their future career. The degree typically takes around four years and 120-126 credits to complete.
Professionals in computer science with an interest in research usually need to earn a master’s in computer science. A master’s can also make a computer science professional more attractive to employers who demand a higher degree of adaptability and deeper knowledge of computer language theory. Courses include topics such as advanced database systems implementation, applied algorithms, and human-computer interaction. The degree sometimes offers specializations in topics such as software architecture, machine learning, and biocomputation.
Schools often give learners the option between a capstone or a thesis on an area of interest, such as a culminating project for the degree. This program often attracts recent graduates interested in a research-oriented position related to technology development or specialized fields such as biocomputation. However, some professionals return to earn a master’s to increase their skills and marketability. A master’s typically takes one to two years and 30-45 credits to complete.
Master’s program graduates often pursue a Ph.D. in computer science to prepare for jobs in academia. A Ph.D imparts strong research skills and a broad knowledge of computer science in students, often emphasizing the theoretical subset of computer science more focused on mathematics. Courses typically include topics such as revolutionary molecules, environmental chemistry, and theoretical machine learning, and may feature concentrations such as biochemistry, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. Most programs culminate with a final examination and thesis project in an area of interest applicable to the learner’s future career. A Ph.D. in computer science typically takes four to five years and 72-90 credits to complete.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Vermont
Professional organizations or associations offer its members — especially students and new grads — a resource for industry insight, career development, employment search, and networking. By becoming a member, you signal to others you are serious about your chosen field. While you add to the organization’s voice and power to affect change, you are given access to tools/resources for personal and professional growth such as mentorships, continuing education workshops, and annual conferences.
- Association for Computational Linguistics: Founded in 1962, the ACL promotes professional excellence among scientists researching issues in computational linguistics and natural language processing. Forums for discussion among members include its annual summer conference and publication Computational Linguistics. The ACL established its ACL Fellows program to recognize members who have made outstanding contributions to the field, organization, and greater community.
- Association for Women in Computing: The AWC advocates for the advancement of women in computing through mentorship, continuing education, and professional networking. Local chapters offer region-specific scholarships. The organization also recognizes independent members outside of the range of any local chapters. The AWC recognizes significant contributions to the community and field through the Ada Lovelace award.
- Machine Learning Society: The Machine Learning Society is a global collective of about 5,000 data scientists, engineers, and artificial intelligence specialists pursuing community-focused technical innovation in artificial intelligence programming. The organization works through a series of events and initiatives, including its CO Academy index of free courses on machine learning-related topics.
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