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Arizona Computer Training Schools

In the past decade, the technology scene -- especially start-ups -- went from virtually nonexistent to flourishing in Arizona. More than 7,600 high-tech companies call the state home, and, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority, for every 1,000 jobs in the private sector, 54 work in a high-tech field. In turn, the information technology industry has become a key driver of economic growth and has led to the creation of 64,000 jobs in the past year. Arizona has invested heavily in attracting start-ups and investors to the state and, today, there are more than 60 tech accelerators and incubators in the state. Statewide programs like the Arizona Innovation Accelerator Fund and the Arizona Innovation Challenge are leading the charge. Between 2011 and 2013, PriceWatershouseCoopers noted that approximately $500 million in venture capital was brought into the state.

Arizona is routinely mentioned as an innovative tech hub, one that could rival Silicon Valley or New York in the future. Phoenix, in particular, is quickly adopting a tech-first business climate and establishing itself as a "junior" Silicon Valley, a city rich in technology investments and entrepreneurial spirit. Between 2012 and 2014, venture capital investments in Phoenix reached $834 million, an increase of 166 percent from 2009 to 2011. With a diverse cluster of investments and business sectors, the state has become home to leading tech companies, from Apple to GoDaddy, Intel to Blackboard. Students considering majoring in computer science may find that Arizona offers a wealth of opportunity, both academically and professionally.

Computer Science Education in Arizona

Arizona is committed to advancing the research and development capabilities of its high-tech industry, of which education is paramount. The latest figures from Arizona Commerce Authority show the state's three public universities produced more than $3.5 billion in research and development activities between 2008 and 2011, with a goal of doubling that number by 2016. The success of the technology industry remains dependent on developing an educated workforce. Arizona is home to several highly ranked computer science programs, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Prospective students can choose from 45 public and private institutions to complete their tech-related education in computer and information science-related fields.

Institution

Count

Public, 4-Year

6

Private, 4-Year

3

Private, For-Profit

15

Public, 2-Year

19

Private, 2-Year

2

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Information technology and computer science remain popular majors of study, and in the 2012-2013 school year, more than 16,000 students graduated with a degree in IT or computer science in Arizona. The table below outlines the academic awards conferred to students in a computer science-related field in 2012-2013, according to the latest graduation data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Degree Type

Grand Total

Bachelor's degree

6,716

Associate degree

5,460

Master's degree

1,931

Award of less than 1 academic year

1,333

Award of at least 1 but less than 2 academic years

441

Doctor's degree - research/scholarship

183

Grand Total

16,064

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Of degrees conferred in 2012-2013 (the most recent year data is available), the most popular areas of study in the information and computer science field included the following:

Area of Study

Associate

Bachelor's

Master's

Doctorate

Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Other

70

79

Computer Programming

587

764

9

Computer Science

96

683

256

82

Computer Software and Media Applications

599

735

140

Computer Systems Analysis

19

344

53

Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications

815

73

57

Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management

2053

1764

107

Data Entry/Microcomputer Applications

5

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2015

In its most recent rankings of graduate programs in computer science, U.S. News & World Report included two Arizona Universities in the top 50: University of Arizona (#40) and Arizona State University (#48).

Computer Science School Spotlight: University of Arizona

Founded in 1885, the University of Arizona is one of the country's largest universities, with enrollment of more than 42,000 students as of 2014. Situated on a 380-acre campus, the university is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research University/Very High and brings in nearly $600 million in annual research funding. The University is a member of the Association of American Universities (one of 62), a group of leading research universities in the U.S.

The University of Arizona regularly garners attention as a top university across a variety of annual rankings, including being #42 on the Center for University World Rankings list of the top universities in the U.S. The National Science Foundation ranks the university #3 in physical sciences research and the U.S. News & World Report lists the university as a "selective" university.

The Department of Computer Science is a highly ranked and respected program. Housed in the Gould-Simpson Building (one of the largest buildings on campus), the program has approximately 1,000 undergraduate majors and 60 graduate students. The department heavily focuses on research, preparing students for positions across industries from business to academia. Students may select from a range of areas of study, including programming languages, operating systems, computing theory, networking, databases and algorithms.

Program Recognition

  • National Research Council - 16th (among public, PhD institutions)
  • US News and World Report - Best Graduate Program in Computer Science - #40

IT Careers and Tech Industry Outlook in Arizona

To accomplish its goal of developing a robust and diverse technology sector, the state has taken a multi-step, multi-pronged approach, including introducing favorable tax exemptions and credits to attract technology businesses to Arizona. These efforts are paying dividends as major companies have announced major projects and company operations in the state, including the following:

  • Apple (Mesa) - $2 billion global command center
  • GM (Chandler) - 1,000 employee IT Innovation Center
  • GoDaddy (Tempe) - Global Technology Center
  • Intel (Chandler) - $300 million research and development facility
  • Garmin (Chandler) - 60,000 square foot operations facility

As a growing technology hub, Arizona is attracting attention from start-ups and investors alike. In 2014, five companies joined the Deloitte Fast 500 Ranking, a list of some of the fastest growing private technology companies in the country.

Rank

Company

Location

Primary Industry

80

Nextiva

Scottsdale

Networking

247

Inilex

Phoenix

Networking

416

Lifelock, Inc.

Tempe

Internet

444

Telesphere

Scottsdale

Networking

545

GPS Insight

Scottsdale

Software

Source: Deloitte, Fast 500, 2014

Educational technology (or ed tech) is one of the largest and fastest growing segments in Arizona. According to a 2015 Business Insider report, ed tech start-ups have raised more than $100 million in venture capital funds between 2012 and 2015. Leading ed tech companies in the state include the Apollo Group; Picmonic; Parchment and CampusLogic. Overall, the tech industry has blossomed to more than 132,000 jobs in the state and offers an array of employment opportunities for prospective computer programming degree holders.

Research data from CompTIA reveals the tech payroll exceeds $12 billion annually across 8,200 companies. Greater than 6 percent of the state's private economy is generated by the tech industry and the top employing sectors include the following:

  • IT Services: 26,400
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing: 19,600
  • Engineering Services: 16,300
  • Telecommunications: 14,200
  • Space and Defense Systems: 11,700

CompTIA's 2015 report, CyberStates, indicates workers in the tech industry earn double ($91,900) than the average salary of all other private industry workers ($45,300). An examination of employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals the best opportunities in technology in the state include Computer Systems Analysts and Computer and Information Research Scientists, with respective 27.9 and 21.4 percent projected job growth between 2012 and 2022.

Occupation

Average Salary

Projected Job Growth

Computer Systems Analysts

$88,580

27.9%

Computer and Information Research Scientists

$113,320

21.4%

Computer and Information Systems Managers

$130,330

21.0%

Computer User Support Specialists

$49,420

19.8%

Computer Network Architects

$97,730

19.6%

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

$76,250

17.6%

Computer Network Support Specialists

$64,260

12.0%

Computer Programmers

$80,350

6.6%

Computer Hardware Engineers

$109,300

2.4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015

Top Metro Employment Centers for Computer Programmers in Arizona

Metro Area

Total Employed

Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale

3520

Tucson

610

Yuma

100

Flagstaff

40

Grand Total

4270

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015

In the end, Arizona is quietly emerging as a technology industry leader, home to the country's fourth largest semiconductor, fourth largest aerospace and defense industry, and second largest data center concentration in the country. With millions being poured into companies and research across the state, such as Silicon Valley Bank committing to $100 million in lending to Arizona tech companies by 2018, Arizona presents a great opportunity for students seeking to get a career in tech started.

Sources

Business Insider, Venture capitalists are flocking to Phoenix to invest in the growing ed tech sector, http://www.businessinsider.com/sc/ed-tech-investing-in-phoenix-2015-5

Deloitte, Deloitte Fast 500, http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/technology-media-telecommunications/us-tmt-fast500-2014-ranking-list.pdf

CompTIA, 2015 Cyberstates, https://www.comptia.org/resources/2015-cyberstates

GeekWire, Silicon Desert: How Phoenix is quickly -- and quietly -- becoming a hub for innovation

Projections Central, Arizona, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

Forbes, Tech Companies Are Thriving in Arizona, http://www.forbes.com/sites/arizonacommerce/2015/02/10/tech-companies-are-thriving-in-arizona-the-lowdown-on-arizonas-high-tech-expansion/

Inc., 2014 5000, http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2014/state/az/

Inc., Inc. 5000, http://www.inc.com/inc5000/2014/facts-and-figures.html

National Center for Education Statistics, IPEDS, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter

National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/

University of Arizona, Rankings, http://www.arizona.edu/about/highlights-rankings

University of Arizona, Department of Computer Science, http://www.cs.arizona.edu/

US News and World Review, Best Computer Science Graduate Programs, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-science-schools/computer-science-rankings

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