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Kentucky Computer Training Schools

A state that has long relied on agriculture, transportation, utilities, and manufacturing to support its economy, Kentucky has been making strides in recent years to foster the growth of its information technology industry. For example, the state's SBIR-STTR Matching Funds program is designed to promote small business innovation research and entrepreneurial growth by matching federal research grants. In the fourth quarter of 2014 alone, the state provided $2.7 million to nine different companies. This type of investment has led to the emergence of new tech industries, including clean technology, software and information technology, and advanced manufacturing.

The low cost-of-living and strong post-secondary educational system make Kentucky an attractive location for technology companies to set-up shop. CompTIA's 2015 report estimates that 3.7 percent of the state's economy can be attributed to the tech industry, and that number is moving upwards and to the right. Job growth projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Kentucky's tech occupations are strong -- with double-digit growth expected for most careers between 2012 and 2022. In the long run, Kentucky's investment into its information economy should present a wealth of employment opportunities for students considering an education in computer science.

Computer Science Education in Kentucky

Kentucky has an expansive and diverse array of postsecondary institutions, including the highly ranked University of Kentucky (#129 nationally) and University of Louisville (#168 nationally). In addition to major universities, Kentucky is also home to smaller, regionally ranked universities such as Asbury University (Wilmore), Alice Lloyd College (Pippa Passes), Centre College (Danville) and Murray State University (Murray). Overall, prospective students can select from a variety of postsecondary educational institutions that offer computer science programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The table below outlines the number of two- and four-year institutions offering computer science programs throughout the state.

Institution

Count

Public, 4-Year

8

Private, 4-Year

13

Private, For-Profit, 4-Year

12

Public, 2-Year

16

Private, 2-Year

0

Private, For-Profit, 2-Year

13

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

During the 2013-2014 school year, more than 2,000 individuals earned a degree in a computer science-related field in the state of Kentucky.

Degree Type

Degrees Conferred

Associate degree

980

Bachelor's degree

850

Master's degree

378

Doctoral degree

18

Grand Total

2,226

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Graduation data from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals Computer and Information Science was the most popular field of study. The table below includes a list of each field of study (by total degrees conferred in 2013-2014) in the state of Kentucky.

Field of Study

Degrees Awarded

Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

1,113

Computer and Information Sciences, General

716

Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management

198

Computer Software and Media Applications

65

Information Science/Studies

41

Computer Science

35

Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications

22

Computer Systems Analysis

11

Data Processing

11

Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Other

9

Computer Programming

5

Grand Total

2,226

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Computer Science School Spotlight: University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky is the largest university in the state, serving approximately 30,000 students. A public land-grant research university, the University of Kentucky offers more than 200 academic majors across its 16 colleges and professional schools. Founded in 1865, the university is situated on an 813-acre campus. Ranked as the 129th best national university by U.S. News & World Report, the university has a nearly $1 billion dollar endowment and is following a strategic plan to become a top 20 research university by the year 2020.

As part of the College of Engineering, the Department of Computer Science provides a nationally recognized academic program in computer science. Students may complete a degree in computer science at both the undergraduate and graduate levels: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science; Master of Science in Computer Science; or Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. There are 25 faculty members in the department who conduct research across a spectrum of computer science interests, including the following:

Research Area

Artificial intelligence

Bioinformatics

Computational science, scientific computation and numerical analysis

Computer vision, graphics, visualization and multimedia

Cryptography

Data mining

Networking

Security

Software Engineering

Program Recognition

  • U.S. News & World Report - Best Graduate Program in Computer Science - #90

Tech Industry and Career Outlook in Kentucky

Kentucky's business leaders and government have been working to develop the state's information economy. During the past decade, Lexington and Louisville have slowly started to emerge as tech hubs in the state. As a growing leader in information jobs, Lexington was ranked as #17 in Atlantic City Lab's list of the country's top 25 high-tech hotspots in 2014. The Bluegrass Business Development, a unique partnership between the University of Kentucky, Commerce Lexington Inc. and the city of Lexington have been working to attract new technology investments and companies to the region. Today, the city has brought in a number of software and other tech companies, including Xerox (3,000 employees), Lexmark (2,630 employees), Hewlett Packard (125 employees), Dell (20 employees), and IBM (500 employees).

The state has launched numerous other partnerships and investment programs, including the Kentucky Angel Investment Act Program. This program provides tax incentives of up to 50 percent to companies that create jobs and promote economic development. According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, 160 investments have been approved to date. Evidence of continued recruitment efforts can be found in Northern Kentucky, where the support of the technology sector has led to significant growth in informatics, data management and software/hardware development. The region is now home to companies including Tier 1 Performance Solutions, Psion Teklogix and dbaDirect.

Kentucky does have a small, but rapidly growing information economy. State research from CompTIA reveals there are more than 5,000 technology companies in the state with a payroll that exceeded $3.1 billion in 2014. According to CompTIA, there are nearly 50,000 jobs in the tech industry in Kentucky and several business sectors are experiencing growth. By total employment numbers, CompTIA's leading tech sectors in the state include the following:

  • Computer Systems Design: 13,200
  • Telecommunications: 10,200
  • Engineering Services: 8,300
  • Internet Services: 6,100
  • Computer and Electronics Repair: 2,800

On the earnings front, the average tech worker brings a salary home that is 40 percent more than the average private sector worker: Technology professionals earn an average salary of $63,000, while private sector professionals only earn $40,500.

Employment research from the BLS paints a positive outlook across the tech industry in Kentucky. Multiple career paths are projected to see double-digit employment gains between 2012 and 2022, led by Computer Systems Analysts (26.9 percent) and Computer Hardware Engineers (26 percent), respectively. Each of the fastest growing computer occupations in the state is expected to grow by 13 percent or more between 2012 and 2022. The table below details the top computer occupations in Kentucky, by projected job growth, average salaries and total employment figures.

Tech Occupation

Total Employed (2014)

Average Salary (2014)

Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)

Computer Systems Analysts

3,250

$69,580

26.9%

Computer Hardware Engineers

300

$92,800

26.0%

Computer and Information Systems Managers

2,400

$103,300

23.8%

Electronics Engineers, Except Computer

580

$76,990

22.8%

Computer Network Architects

1,450

$75,910

22.0%

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

3,420

$61,960

18.0%

Computer User Support Specialists

5,250

$42,300

17.6%

Computer Programmers

1,160

$64,080

13.4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015

Location has a major impact on earning potential, along with professional experience and the specific field of work. Robert Half Technology's 2016 IT salary survey takes into account how local variances impact salaries within the technology industry. Two Kentucky cities -- Lexington and Louisville -- were included in the survey. The table below shows the slight difference in pay for a range of tech positions in each city.

Occupation

Lexington

Louisville

Mobile Applications Developer

$123,068

$123,740

Database Developer

$111,058

$111,665

Web Designer

$108,771

$109,365

Web Developer

$101,565

$102,120

QA Analyst

$101,451

$102,005

Network Engineer

$89,441

$89,930

Software Developer

$77,546

$77,970

Network Security Administrator

$72,971

$73,370

PC Technician

$38,201

$38,410

Source: Robert Half Technology, 2016 IT Salary Survey

Top Metro Employment Centers for Computer Programmers in Kentucky

Metro Area

Total Employed

Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN

611

Lexington-Fayette, KY

513

Bowling Green, KY

277

Elizabethtown, KY

247

Owensboro, KY

233

Grand Total

1,881

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

Commerce Lexington, Software and Information Technology, http://www.locateinlexington.com/software.aspx

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

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

Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Business Climate, https://www.thinkkentucky.com/kyedc/pdfs/kybc.pdf

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, Kentucky, 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

Tri-County Economic Development Corporation, Information Technology, http://www.northernkentuckyusa.com/target-industry/information-tech.aspx

University of Kentucky, Computer Science Department, http://www.cs.uky.edu/

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 Kentucky, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-kentucky-157085/overall-rankings

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