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Illinois Computer Training Schools

High-tech employment has been steadily increasing in Illinois. Employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics have revealed a shift in the state's economy as the science and technology sectors grab additional market share. For example, nearly 21,000 of the state's 392,000 private businesses (5.8 percent) are now in high-tech sectors, which is above the national average. The growth of the information technology industry has rippled throughout the state. Chicago, according to Crain's Chicago Business, revealed that the city ranked #6 on the list of the nation's top 20 tech markets for job growth between 2011 and 2013. Its growth rate of 19.3 percent was nipping at the heels of the country's information technology leader, Silicon Valley (19.9 percent growth).

What does this mean for students considering pursuing an education in computer science? The economic diversity and continued drive by state and local government to foster tech investments means that students in Illinois are well-poised for career success after graduation.

Computer Science Education in Illinois

Illinois is an academic powerhouse of a state, home to nationally ranked universities such as Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois. Besides the powerhouse universities, the state also has a long list of recognized, smaller colleges, such as Eastern Illinois University (Charleston), Bradley University (Peoria), Blackburn College (Carlinville) and Elmhurst College (Elmhurst). Indeed, prospective computer science students have the opportunity to study at some of the most highly ranked CS programs in the country, including the following (as ranked by US News and World Report):

  • University of Illinois - #5
  • Northwestern University - #34
  • University of Chicago - #34
  • University of Illinois-Chicago - #60
  • Illinois Institute of Technology - #101

Illinois' expansive educational system is one that offers computer science degree options at the public and private level -- including a large community college system that has 46 colleges across the state.

Institution

Count

Public, 4-Year

12

Private, 4-Year

41

Private, For-Profit, 4-Year

18

Public, 2-Year

46

Private, 2-Year

3

Private, For-Profit, 2-Year

9

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

In the 2013-2014 school year, more than 11,000 students earned a degree in a computer-science related field of study in Illinois.

Degree Type

Degrees Conferred

Bachelor's degree

5,086

Master's degree

3,864

Associate degree

2,324

Doctoral degree

198

Grand Total

11,472

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the most popular fields of study within computer science (by total degrees conferred in 2013-2014), include the following:

Field of Study

Degrees Conferred

Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

2,031

Computer Science

999

Computer and Information Sciences, General

318

Information Science/Studies

213

Computer Systems Analysis

151

Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications

121

Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management

104

Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Other

67

Computer Software and Media Applications

36

Computer Programming

22

Grand Total

4,062

Computer Science School Spotlight: University of Illinois

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a land-grant research institution and the flagship university of the University of Illinois college system. It serves more than 32,000 undergraduate students and offers 150+ academic fields of study. Ranked as the 41st best national university by U.S. News & World Report, the University of Illinois is known for its research, faculty, and academic resources. Situated on a campus of nearly 1,800 acres, the university has 17 schools and colleges - including one of the country's most highly ranked computer engineering and computer science programs.

The Department of Computer Science is highly regarded, ranked #5 nationally by U.S. News & World Report for its undergraduate computer engineering program and #5 for its graduate program in computer science. According to the university, the department has more than 1,700 enrolled students (1,200+ undergraduates and 500+ graduates). There are 61 full-time faculty members in the department who conduct research across nine core areas of computer science:

Research Area

Architecture, Compilers, and Parallel Computing

Artificial Intelligence

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Database and Information Systems

Graphics, Visualization, and Human-Computer Interaction

Programming Languages, Formal Methods, and Software Engineering

Scientific Computing

Systems and Networking

Theory and Algorithms

Students can select between seven different degree programs at either the undergraduate and graduate level, including the following:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science + X. This is a new program that allows students to combine their computer science studies with a field from the liberal arts.
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science/Master of Science in Computer Science. A 5-year combined program of study.
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Bioinformatics
  • Master of Computer Science. A degree program designed for working professionals.
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science

Graduating students typically move into well-paying careers. The department reports that its graduates, as of 2013, earn $85,428 (BS), $102,471 (MS) and $131,333 (PhD).

Program Recognition

  • U.S. News & World Report - Best Graduate Program in Computer Science - #40
  • U.S. News & World Report - Best Graduate Program in Artificial Intelligence - #7
  • U.S. News & World Report - Best Graduate Program in Programming Language - #9
  • U.S. News & World Report - Best Graduate Program in Computer Systems - #7
  • U.S. News & World Report - Best Graduate Program in Computing Theory - #11

Tech Industry and Career Outlook in Illinois

Illinois is focusing on driving continued growth in its various high-tech industries. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development has developed a range of state-level initiatives to spur this growth, including financial support for clean-tech start-up companies, reducing the costs for university-based tech start-ups to operate and creating a technology transfer fund. Data from CompTIA shows these efforts are working as more than 5 percent of the state's economy can be attributed to the tech industry. According to CompTIA figures, the tech industry employs nearly 230,000 individuals in Illinois, and all indications points to continued growth well into the future. Overall, the state ranks 8th nationally for tech employment. By those employment numbers, the leading tech industries in CompTIA's report for Illinois included the following:

  • Computer Systems Design: 72,500
  • Telecommunications: 33,500
  • Engineering Services: 27,900
  • Research and Development Testing: 26,900
  • Internet Services: 17,700

In 2015, Deloitte placed 11 Illinois companies on its Deloitte Technology Fast 500, its list of North America's fastest growing media, technology, telecommunications, energy technology, and science companies. These companies work in areas ranging from digital media and content to software, biotechnology to computer hardware.

Rank

Company

Location

Primary Industry

226

Akorn, Inc.

Lake Forest

Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical

175

ContextMedia

Chicago

Digital Content

265

Rise Interactive

Chicago

Digital Content

346

L2TMedia

Evanston

Digital Content

404

Gogo

Chicago

Electronic Devices/Hardware

21

Sprout Social

Chicago

Software

11

Signal

Chicago

Software

164

Textura Corporation

Deerfield

Software

259

SMS Assist, LLC

Chicago

Software

284

Valence Health

Chicago

Software

366

Paylocity

Arlington Heights

Software

Source: Deloitte, Fast 500, 2015

The tech industry in Illinois is expansive with a total tech payroll of nearly $21 billion in 2014, says CompTIA. In turn, the average tech worker takes home a salary that's nearly double what the average private sector worker earns in the state: Tech workers earn $39,400 more per year ($91,800 versus $52,400). Those average salaries place Illinois #16 nationally when it comes to tech earnings, according to CompTIA.

Employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates the fastest growing tech occupations in the state of Illinois will be Computer Systems Analysts (26.4 percent), Computer Hardware Engineers (19 percent), and Computer User Support Specialists (18.7 percent). Eight of the nine fastest growing computer- and tech-related careers are all expected to experience double-digit employment growth in Illinois between 2012 and 2022. The table below is a career snapshot that includes employment figures, average earnings and projected job growth for tech fields in Illinois.

Tech Occupation

Total Employed (2014)

Average Salary (2014)

Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)

Computer Systems Analysts

23,060

$85,500

26.4%

Computer Hardware Engineers

1,120

$97,810

19.0%

Computer User Support Specialists

21,790

$53,380

18.7%

Computer Network Architects

4,650

$109,090

16.8%

Computer and Information Systems Managers

13,410

$123,530

15.2%

Computer Programmers

19,380

$74,060

13.5%

Computer and Information Research Scientists

710

$90,700

12.8%

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

14,610

$77,520

11.3%

Computer Network Support Specialists

6,460

$64,090

9.0%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015

Although experience and position impact earning potential, location has a major influence as well. In its 2016 salary survey of the IT industry, Robert Half Technology determined the local variance on salaries across tech occupations. In Illinois, two locations -- Chicago and Naperville -- paid above the national median, while Rockford and Springfield paid slightly below the national median. The table below is an example of how local variance can change the salaries of tech careers in Illinois.

Occupation

National Median

Chicago

Naperville

Rockford

Springfield

Mobile Applications Developer

$134,500

$165,435

$150,640

$111,635

$122,395

Database Developer

$121,375

$149,291

$135,940

$100,741

$110,451

Network Security Administrator

$79,750

$98,093

$89,320

$66,193

$72,573

Network Engineer

$97,750

$120,233

$109,480

$81,133

$88,953

Software Developer

$84,750

$104,243

$94,920

$70,343

$77,123

Web Developer

$111,000

$136,530

$124,320

$92,130

$101,010

Web Designer

$118,875

$146,216

$133,140

$98,666

$108,176

QA Analyst

$110,875

$136,376

$124,180

$92,026

$100,896

PC Technician

$41,750

$51,353

$46,760

$34,653

$37,993

Source: Robert Half Technology, 2016 IT Salary Survey

Top Metro Employment Centers for Computer Programmers in Illinois

Metro Area

Total Employed

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL

742

Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI

521

Peoria, IL

408

Rockford, IL

379

Champaign-Urbana, IL

346

Springfield, IL

340

Bloomington-Normal, IL

285

Kankakee-Bradley, IL

209

Decatur, IL

191

Danville, IL

148

Grand Total

3,569

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015

Sources

Business Insider, The Best 50 Computer Science and Engineering Programs in the Country, http://www.businessinsider.com/best-computer-science-engineering-schools-in-america-2015-7

Chicago Tribune, Illinois' share of high-tech businesses is among the nation's top states, http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/hub/chi-iin-illinois-high-tech-businesses-bsi-hub-story.html

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

Computer Science Department, University of Illinois, http://cs.illinois.edu/

Deloitte, Deloitte Fast 500, http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/technology-media-telecommunications/Technology-Fast-500-Winners-Brochure.PDF

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

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

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

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

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

Robert Half Technology, 2016 IT Salary Guide, http://www.roberthalf.com/sites/default/files/Media_Root/images/rht-pdfs/robert_half_technology_2016_salary_guide.pdf

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

US News and World Report, University of Illinois Rankings, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-illinois-at-urbana-champaign-145637/overall-rankings

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