If you're considering earning a computer science or IT degree in Colorado, you're likely to find plenty of career opportunities once you graduate, whether you choose to live in one of the top cities for startups — Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, or Fort Collins — or elsewhere in the state.
Nine Colorado-based companies landed a spot on Deloitte's 2018 list of fastest-growing tech companies, more than half of which are in the software space. And almost 11,000 technology companies — large and small — are located in Colorado. Whether you're planning to start a tech career in Colorado or if you're interesting in taking your current job to a higher level, pursuing a degree through one of the states online IT programs can help meet your goals.
Colorado's Technology Education Initiatives
The Centennial State has implemented a number of initiatives to support and grow interest in technology, including creating pathways for students to pursue tech-related degree programs at IT schools in Colorado. Here's a look at some of these efforts.
- Strengthening computer science education for secondary students: HB17-1184, the Modern Technology Education in Public Schools bill was signed into law in 2017. This bill's purpose is to incorporate technology skills into the state's current educational standards and to create a resource bank for schools and students interested in computer science.
- Preparing students for high-skill jobs: Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools or P-TECH made its debut in 2015. P-TECH is a unique partnership between a school district, a community college, and a local high-growth industry employer. Through P-TECH, students can simultaneously earn their high school diploma and an associate degree in a STEM-related field in six years.
- Providing students with work experience in the tech sector: CareerWise Colorado offers three-year apprenticeships that allow secondary students to gain work experience, earn a nationally recognized certification, tap into a professional network, and earn college credits. Students may work in positions such as computer technicians, software QA testers, and junior coders.
- Recognizing students who demonstrate mastery in STEM: In Colorado, secondary students may now earn a STEM-endorsed diploma. The special type of diploma can be granted to those who go above and beyond in STEM knowledge and skills. Students who earn this unique diploma may stand out when applying to IT degree programs in Colorado.
Best Computer Science and IT Colleges in Colorado
Colorado is home to a diverse collection of postsecondary institutions, including more than 20 public colleges (both two- and four-year), and 20 private institutions. At these schools, students can select from a variety of information and technology-related educational programs of study.
|Ranking||School Name||In-State Avg. Undergrad Tuition||% Receiving Financial Aid||Retention Rate||Number of Tech-Related Programs|
|1||University of Denver||$49,392||88%||88%||7|
|2||University of Colorado Boulder||$10,248||64%||88%||3|
|3||Community College of Aurora||$3,574||70%||60%||4|
|4||Colorado School of Mines||$16,650||91%||92%||3|
|6||Pikes Peak Community College||$3,574||71%||N/A||3|
|7||Arapahoe Community College||$3,574||53%||N/A||3|
|8||Colorado Mesa University||$7,787||93%||74%||3|
|9||Front Range Community College||$3,574||69%||59%||2|
|10||University of Colorado Colorado Springs||$9,246||84%||69%||2|
Spotlight on Computer Sciences Schools in Colorado
There is no shortage of computer science schools in Colorado. However, the ones that truly stand out include:
- University of Colorado Boulder: Those who enroll in a computer science degree at UC Boulder can expect to spend two semesters during their senior year working on a real-world software project with a team. The project may be from an industry, research, or faculty sponsor.
- Colorado State University: At Colorado State University, students may choose a unique concentration known as human-centered computing. Human-centered computing focuses on how individuals interact with computers.
- Adams State University: Students in the computer science program at ASU have the exciting opportunity to develop artificial intelligence and social-emotional programming for robots. This is made possible through a three-year grant of more than a half-million dollars from the Department of Defense Army Research Office (ARO).
- Colorado School of Mines: Colorado School of Mines allows students to earn a bachelor's of science and master's of science in computer science simultaneously. Students are encouraged to apply for this program during the spring of their junior year.
IT Salaries and Career Outlook in Colorado
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Colorado is projected to experience significant growth in a number of technology-related occupations.
Graduates of computer science degree programs in Colorado may find work at a variety of companies throughout the state. A few of the largest ones include OpenTable, an online restaurant reservation company; Gusto, an online HR platform for small businesses; FareHarbor, an online booking software for tours and activities; and HomeAdvisor, a digital marketplace for homeowners.
|Career||Annual Mean Wage||Statewide Projected Job Growth Rate|
|Computer Network Architects||$121,040||17%|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||$75,040||17.2%|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$99,860||33.8%|
|Database Administrators and Architects||$93,840||25.3%|
|Information Security Analysts||$104,510||33%|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$88,130||19.7%|
|Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers||$111,540||31.1%|
|Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers||$77,600||42%|
Computer Science Scholarships for Colorado Students
Scholarships can help students who hope to pursue IT degree programs in Colorado save money on their education. Our partner site, Schools.com, has a scholarship database that allows students to search for potential opportunities based on different criteria. Here are a few scholarships specific to Colorado students who are interested in pursuing technology majors:
- Northrop Grumman Engineering Scholars: This scholarship is available to qualified high school seniors who live in one of 8 specific Colorado counties and who plan to pursue degree programs in one of several fields, including computer science.
- Robert Noyce Scholarship: Applicants must be full-time Colorado State University students who are interested in teaching a STEM-related field at the middle or high school level.
Colorado Professional Organizations and Resources
IT professionals as well as students pursuing IT or computer science degree programs in Colorado may benefit from these professional organizations and resources.
- Colorado Technology Association: Since 1994, CTA has been providing IT leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed. Its mission is to advance Colorado's tech ecosystem through talent, advocacy, community, and economic development.
- Colorado Technology Professionals: This organization conducts networking events, educational programming, and career seminars for technology professionals in the state.
- Colorado Technology Student Association: This student-focused society has been around for more than 30 years, with 75-plus chapters throughout the state. The Colorado TSA strives to inspire students to prepare for careers in technology through numerous conferences and professional development opportunities.
To be included in the rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria:
- Be an accredited U.S. institution
- Offer either 2 or 4-year degree programs
- Be active in the 2016-17 school year
- Offer a degree in a technology-related subject
- Have awarded at least one degree in that subject in 2015-16
- Have reported data for all ranking variables listed below
- Related subjects, based on the number of relevant programs that are offered at any level
- Flexibility, based on number of relevant programs that are offered at any level via distance education
- Average in-state undergraduate tuition
- Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
- Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students
- Graduation rate
- Retention rate
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- 9 Colorado Companies Make Deloitte's List of Fastest-Growing Tech Companies, Colorado Inno, Accessed December 2018, https://www.americaninno.com/colorado/9-colorado-companies-make-deloittes-list-of-fastest-growing-tech-companies/
- CareerWise Colorado, Accessed December 2018, https://www.careerwisecolorado.org/#
- Industries, Choose Colorado, Accessed January 2019, https://choosecolorado.com/key-industries/technology-information/
- Colorado P-TECH: Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools in Colorado, Colorado Department of Education, Accessed December 2018, https://www.cde.state.co.us/postsecondary/p-tech
- Colorado Succeeds Members Champion Computer Science at the Capitol, Colorado Succeeds, Accessed December 2018, https://coloradosucceeds.org/policy/colorado-succeeds-members-computer-science/
- Colorado Technology Association, Accessed December 2018, https://coloradotechnology.org
- Colorado Technology Professionals, Accessed December 2018, http://www.ctptech.org/
- Colorado Technology Student Association, Accessed December 2018, http://cotsa.cccs.edu
- Computer Science, Adams State University, Accessed December 2018, https://www.adams.edu/academics/undergraduate/computer-science/
- HB17-1184, Modern Technology Education In Public Schools, Colorado General Assembly, https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb17-1184
- Meet Colorado's Top 100 tech companies: Employee count up 20 percent in 2017, Built in Colorado, Accessed December 2018, https://www.builtincolorado.com/2017/10/24/top-100-digital-companies-colorado-2017
- Major in Computer Science, Colorado State University, Accessed December 2018, http://catalog.colostate.edu/general-catalog/colleges/natural-sciences/computer-science/computer-science-major/
- STEM in Colorado Makes Leaps and Bounds, Colorado Succeeds, Accessed December 2018, https://coloradosucceeds.org/network-perspectives/stem-in-colorado-makes-leaps/
- Why CU Boulder Computer Science, University of Colorado Boulder, Accessed December 2018, https://www.colorado.edu/cs/why-cu
- Why Major in Computer Science?, Colorado School of Mines, Accessed December 2018, https://cs.mines.edu/undergraduate-program/