Hawaii Computer Training Schools

In the past decade, the tech sector has made significant strides in the state of Hawaii, becoming a third pillar of the economic foundation just behind tourism and military. According to CompTIA's 2015 report, Cyberstates, the tech industry accounts for 2.4 percent of the state's economy and employs more than 15,000 people. The growing focus on tech investment in Hawaii can be seen in the High Technology Development Corporation's 80/80 plan.

In 2014, High Technology Development Corporation announced its plan that aims at creating 80,000 jobs that pay at least $80,000 by 2030. Major components of the plan include working closely with incubator programs to foster start-up creation, providing greater access to capital through grant programs and developing technology parks that center around three industries: agriculture, cybersecurity and aging.

Computer science education in Hawaii

Education is at the heart in developing the state's knowledge-based economy by creating skilled, job-ready graduates. Prospective students can pursue computer science-related degrees at 14 different universities and colleges in the state (public, private, and for-profit) at the two- and four-year level. There are four community colleges, two four-year public universities, three private, non-profit universities and three private, for-profit universities that offer programs of study in the field. Graduation data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows these universities granted more than 1,100 degrees to students across 11 different programs of study in the computer and information science fields. Within those fields, the most popular majors included computer and information science, computer science, information technology management, data processing and information technology.

The most popular degree levels in those fields in Hawaii included the following:

  • Associate degree: 450
  • Bachelor's degree: 417
  • Master's degree: 84
  • Doctoral degree: 3

The University of Hawaii serves as the state's educational anchor, with ten campuses located throughout the island chain. This includes three universities -- Manoa, Hilo and West O'ahu -- and seven community college campuses in areas ranging from Honolulu to Windward. At community colleges, students can complete two-year associate degree programs in varied fields. Below are examples of different technology degree offerings at four different Hawaii community colleges:

Hawaii Community College

Students may choose either a two-semester IT Certificate of Achievement program or a two-year Associate in Science in Information Technology. The associate degree provides students with comprehensive instruction in programming, networking, and information systems, as well as the opportunity to complete hands-on training through workplace internships and faculty laboratories.

Honolulu Community College

The Computing, Electronics and Networking Technology program (CENT) provides students with training for future employment in the information and communications technology industry. Students can select from an Associate in Science in Computing, Electronics and Networking Technology, as well as certificates of achievement in information assurance and networking and telecommunications. In partnership with the University of Hawaii at West O'ahu, students can transition their associate degree studies into a Bachelor of Applied Science in CENT or a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Security and Assurance. Working with Hawaii Pacific University, students have the option of continuing their studies to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Systems Administration.

Kapiolani Community College

The certificate and Associate of Science in Information Technology programs focus on an integrated curriculum in programming, networking, and front-end user interface design. Students that complete the associate degree may articulate at the University of Hawaii at West Oahu to complete a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology.

Leeward Community College

Through an Associate of Science program, students can concentrate their studies in areas including network support, database support, information security, mobile development, or software development. The information and computer science degree track includes an articulation agreement with the University of Hawaii at Manoa where students can continue into a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree program.

For students interested in bachelor's and graduate degrees, the major universities include the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade University and the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Unlike community colleges, four-year universities traditionally offer a greater diversity of majors and programs of study, ranging from computer science to computer engineering, information systems to information technology. For example, consider the degree programs from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Brigham Young University-Hawaii:

University of Hawaii at Manoa

At the University of Hawaii at Manoa, undergraduate students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, or a Bachelor of Arts in Information and Computer Science. For graduate students, the university offers a Master of Science in Computer Science, a PhD in Computer Science and a PhD in Communication and Information Sciences.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii

Through the College of Business, Computing, and Government students can pursue undergraduate degrees in three areas: Computer Science, Information Systems and Information Technology.

In 2013, the most common areas of study -- according to the National Center for Education Statistics -- included the following:

Area of Study

Bachelor's degree

Master's degree

Doctoral Degree

Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services




Computer Science




Information Science/Studies



Computer and Information Sciences, General


Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2013

Computer science school spotlight: University of Hawaii at Manoa

The flagship institution of the University of Hawaii University System, the University of Hawaii at Manoa was founded in 1907 and has a student population of more than 19,500 students. Spread over a 320 acre-campus, students can select from academic programs from 14 colleges and schools and pursue undergraduate degrees in 98 areas of study, master's degrees in 85 different fields, and doctoral and professional degrees in 57 academic concentrations.

The Department of Information and Computer Sciences has over 40 faculty members conducting research in areas ranging from human-computer interaction to biomedical informatics, artificial intelligence to computational neuroscience. Research is of central importance to the department, evidenced by Professor Kim Bensted's recent three-year, $1 million dollar grant from NASA's Human Research Program and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute to study and select human participants for long-term space travel. Students may choose from both undergraduate and degree programs in information and computer science, focusing studies in areas such as software technology, hardware technology and development and more.

Program recognition

  • #168 - National Universities - US News and World Report
  • Top 50 in Research Expenditures (Public Universities) - National Science Foundation
  • #80 in US - Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities - National Taiwan University
  • #81 in US - TIMES University Rankings

Tech industry and career outlook in Hawaii

The tech sector remains an emerging market in the state of Hawaii, one of the five targeted for investment and development by Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). In 2014, DBEDT released a report on the state's emerging industries and found the technology sector accounts for approximately 3.4 percent of all civilian jobs in the state (28,266 positions). Industries that experienced major gains between the 2004 and 2014 decade included alternative power generation, technology manufacturing, consulting, and chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

CompTIA's annual report ranked the state #46 for tech employment and 29th for average tech wages. There are nearly 1,900 technology companies in the state with an annual payroll of $1.2 billion. Although the state figures lag behind a majority of the nation, the state is making inroads to promote the tech sector and develop new opportunities within the space.

As noted above, the High Technology Development Corporation has been a driving force in developing and expanding the reach of Hawaii's technology sector. A state agency, the HTDC helps foster strategic growth within the high-tech field through a variety of business development support services. Examples include establishing networking opportunities, assisting with securing federal and private grants, creating outreach programs and fostering incubation programs for tech start-up companies. Two major initiatives include the previously mentioned 80/80 program and the Hi-Growth Initiative, a newly launched effort to create an "innovation ecosystem" in the state. Currently, the Hi-Growth Initiative provides $20 million in working capital to support high-growth tech industries and create new jobs. The major areas of focus include research commercialization, start-up investment capital, and entrepreneur development.

For example, efforts around funding and growing technology start-ups in Honolulu has led to the launch of more than 100 companies with nearly 9,000 investors, according to AngelList. Some of the most promising start-ups include:

  • Diagenetix -- A company focused on microbial disease testing and diagnostics of food products.
  • 3D Travel -- A private platform that allows users to create 3D destination maps.
  • Adama Materials -- Focuses on developing nanotechnology-based materials for a variety of applications.
  • Minded -- Uses social graph data and an intelligent matching algorithm to drive product gifting through the company's product database.
  • TalkSession -- A telemedicine platform designed to create web-based solutions for patient/provider networks to increase access to mental healthcare services.

The DBEDT report found that across the entire sector, average earnings reached $79,900 in 2014, which is 56 percent higher than the average for all other careers in the Hawaiian economy. While average wages were slightly below $80,000, employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals there are several occupations that pay $90,000 or more per year. In 2014, computer and information research scientists and computer network architects were the highest paid technology professionals in the state, taking home more than $104,000 respectively. Below is a table of the average salary for multiple computer and information technology career fields in Hawaii.


2014 Average Salary

Computer and Information Research Scientists


Computer Network Architects


Computer and Information Systems Managers


Computer Hardware Engineers


Computer Systems Analysts


Network and Computer Systems Administrators


Computer Programmers


Computer Network Support Specialists


Computer User Support Specialists


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota Occupational and Wage Estimates, 2014

The careers projected to experience the greatest gains between 2012 and 2022 include computer systems analysts, computer network architects and computer user support specialists. The table below outlines the five fastest-growing careers in the tech sector in Hawaii, according to data from Projections Central.


Number of Openings

Employment Growth (2012 - 2022)

Computer Systems Analysts



Computer Network Architects



Computer User Support Specialists



Computer and Information Systems Managers



Computer Hardware Engineers



Source: Projections Central, 2015

Top metro employment centers for computer programmers in Hawaii

Metropolitan Area

Occupational Title

Total Employed 2014

Honolulu, HI

Computer Programmers


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hawaii


Pacific Business News, Hawaii tech group's 80/80 plan aims for 80k jobs with $80k salaries by 2030, http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2014/12/12/hawaii-tech-groups-80-80-plan-aims-for-80k-jobs.html
Honolulu Community College, CENT, http://www.honolulu.hawaii.edu/cent
Hawaii Community College, Information Technology, http://hawaii.hawaii.edu/beat/informationtech/
Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism, Hawaii's Targeted and Emerging Industries, 2014, http://files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/data_reports/emerging-industries/Hawaii_Targeted_Emerging_Industries_2014_Update_Report.pdf
Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Computer and Information Sciences, http://cis.byuh.edu/
University of Hawaii at Manoa, Degree Programs, http://www.ics.hawaii.edu/academics/graduate-degree-programs
AngelList, Honolulu Start-Ups, https://angel.co/honolulu
CompTIA, 2015 Cyberstates, https://www.comptia.org/resources/2015-cyberstates
Projections Central, Massachusetts, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
Inc., 2014 5000, http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2014/state/mn/
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/
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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