Minnesota Computer Programming Schools

It may come as a surprise, but Minnesota has a robust, growing and diverse technology sector that goes largely unnoticed when compared to the state's financial or health care industries. For example, the medical technology industry has strong ties to Minnesota, home to Medtronic, St. Jude Medical and Boston Scientific -- some of the largest firms in the country. In 2014, investments in health information technology and biotechnology spiked, seeing $12 million and $45 million increases over 2013 levels, according to LifeScience Alley's annual report. Overall, the tech industry is a major contributor to Minnesota's economy, responsible for driving approximately 7% of state's annual economy, notes CompTIA.

CompTIA's report, 2015 Cyberstates, estimates there are slightly more than 9,000 technology companies across Minnesota with Minneapolis-St. Paul serving as the anchor. Numerous $100 million dollar tech businesses are either have headquarters or an office in the area, including the following:

Ecolab, Inc -- An industry leader in energy, hygiene and water technologies, Ecolab has offices in 171 countries and has $14 billion in annual sales.

Digital River, Inc -- An ecommerce, marketing and payment services company, Digital River is on pace to handle $30 billion in online transactions in 2015.

Bio-Techne -- The parent company to multiple life science and biotechnology companies, including R&D Systems, Novus, and Tocris, Bio-Techne, the company has 1,000 companies worldwide and had $358 million in net sales in 2014.

Fostering and advancing the technology sector's reach and impact in the state is led -- in part -- by the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA). A nonprofit organization, the MHTA brings together more than 350 tech companies, government agencies and universities across a range of technology sectors, ranging from bio and life sciences to green technology, advanced manufacturing to edutech.

Computer science education in Minnesota

Prospective students thinking about an education in computer science can choose from 81 different universities and colleges in the state -- public, private and for-profit -- at both the two-year and four-year level. A review of graduation data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals the most popular programs of study include computer science, computer systems networking, information technology, computer and information systems security, network and systems administration and computer programming. Depending on their career goals, students may pursue degree options at the undergraduate (associate and bachelor's) and the graduate level (master's, doctorate). In 2013, more than 2,800 students graduated with degrees in the various computer and information science fields.

  • Bachelor's: 1,120
  • Associate: 958
  • Master's: 654
  • Doctorate: 81

For students interested in short-term computer science programs, an associate degree can prepare them for direct employment into entry-level career fields. The state has 25 two-year colleges offering degrees in the computer science fields. Examples include Minneapolis Community & Technical College (Minneapolis), Inver Hills Community College (Inver Grover Heights), Century College (White Bear Lake) and Ridgewater College (Willmar). The range of curriculum available varies by program. For example, students at Minneapolis Community & Technical College can choose from associate degrees in computer science, computer forensics, computer software development, and computer support and network administration.

On the other hand, for students interested in bachelor's or graduate degrees in computer science, Minnesota is home to 56 universities and colleges that offer programs at those levels. The University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) is a nationally recognized public institution with a computer science and engineering department that is highly ranked by US News & World Report. Other public institutions include St. Cloud State University (Saint Cloud), Metropolitan State University (St. Paul), and Bemidji State University (Bemidji). At Bemidji State for example, students can pursue either a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems or a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. The most common fields of study at four-year institutions in Minnesota include the following:

Area of Study

Bachelor's degree

Master's degree

Doctoral Degree

Computer Science




Information Technology




Computer and Information Systems Security




Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2013

Computer science school spotlight: University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities is a public university with more than 34,000 undergraduate students and has a campus that stretches across 1,200 acres. Ranked as the 71st best college in the country by US News & World Report, the University of Minnesota has a nationally recognized computer science and engineering department. On its annual list of the best global universities for computer science, US News & World Review ranked the University of Minnesota as the 57th best program in the world.

The department has approximately 1,000 students (600 undergraduate; 400 graduate) and 36 faculty members. Faculty are committed to research, evidenced by the $40 million in grant funding secured for research projects during the past two years. Spread across theoretical and application-based fields of study, University of Minnesota researchers are producing cutting-edge results in areas such as bioinformatics and computational biology, embedded systems, human computer interaction, software engineering, robotics and artificial intelligence, high performance computing and more.

Students can pursue education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in computer science at the university. Degree tracks include a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Master of Science in Software Engineering, Master of Science in Data Science, Master of Computer Science, and Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science. Program highlights include the following:

  • 23 faculty members have received the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Award
  • Current faculty members have authored 800 journal articles
  • Graduates of the program have gone on to found more than 180 companies

Program recognition

The graduate program in computer science is ranked as the 29th best in the country by US News & World Report, with information systems ranking #3. Additionally, the program has garnered recognition from other publications, including the following:

  • 4th best data mining institution per Microsoft Academic Research (2014)
  • 11th best computer science program per Academic Ranking of World Universities
  • 6th best university for technology and transfer commercialization per Milken Institute of Technology

Tech industries and careers in Minnesota

Indeed, the state of Minnesota -- like many other states -- is undergoing a technological revolution, one that's dramatically impacting the shape and scope of its economy. As noted above, Minneapolis -- in particular -- has become an emerging technology hub that is attracting some of the country's most innovative software companies. Four of those companies made the Deloitte Technology 500, a list of the fastest growing technology businesses in the country.

  • #95 - Code42 (1213% growth)
  • #190 - JAMF Software (530% growth)
  • #424 - SPS Commerce, Inc. (177% growth)
  • #455 - Outsell (156% growth)

In 2014, Minnesota placed 94 companies on the Inc. 5,000, the publication's list of the country's fastest growing privatecompanies. Again, Minneapolis is well-represented as a tech hub, with 84 companies in the region making the list -- making the city one of the top tech metro areas in the country. Example tech companies in Minneapolis included the following:

  • Avanti Global Resources (Computer Hardware) - $5.2 million in revenue
  • eCapital Advisors (IT Services) - $21.8 million in revenue
  • Coherent Solutions (IT Services) - $16.9 million in revenue
  • The Nerdery (Software) - $51.8 million in revenue
  • Javen Technologies (Software) - $9.4 million in revenue

CompTIA estimates there are 136,000 technology sector jobs in Minnesota and total payroll for the industry surpassed $12 billion in 2014. Those figures indicate skilled graduates with computer science degrees are well-positioned for success within Minnesota's growing technology sector. Tech industry wages approached $90,000 in 2014, according to CompTIA -- 77 percent higher than the state's average private sector wage of $50,400. However, earning potential varies by specialty, location, experience and industry. A review of employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed the best paying technology job in the state is computer and information research scientist ($127,390). The table below outlines some of the best-paying computer science-related careers in Minnesota.


2014 Average Salary

Computer and Information Research Scientists


Computer and Information Systems Managers


Computer Hardware Engineers


Computer Network Architects


Computer Systems Analysts


Network and Computer Systems Administrators


Computer Programmers


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

In its cyberstates report, CompTIA identified some of the top employing tech industries in the state, such as IT services and telecommunications. The table below outlines employment totals by industry, according to CompTIA:

Computer Science Sector

Total Employed

Computer and information systems design


Measuring and control instruments manufacturing




Engineering services


R&D and testing


Source: CompTIA, 2015 Cyberstates

As for employment outlook, the state is expected to see approximately 5,300 technology-related career openings between 2012 and 2022, according to Projections Central. The career fields projected to experience the largest gains include computer systems analysts, computer user support specialists and computer and information systems managers. Below is a list of the five fastest growing technology careers in the state:

  • Computer systems analysts: 17 percent
  • Computer user support specialists: 11 percent
  • Computer and information systems managers: 10 percent
  • Computer occupations (all other): 10 percent
  • Computer network architects: 6 percent

Top Metro Employment Centers for Computer Programmers in Minnesota

Metropolitan Area

Total Employed

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI


Rochester, MN


St. Cloud, MN


Duluth, MN-WI


Mankato-North Mankato, MN


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota


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

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

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

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

MHTA, About, https://www.mhta.org/about/

Minnesota Business Magazine, 100 Best Companies to Work For, http://minnesotabusiness.com/2014-100-best-companies-work-list

BizListr, Twin Cities Top High-Tech Companies, http://bizlistr.com/company.php?id=63

Star Tribune, The changing face of high tech in Minnesota, http://www.startribune.com/business/274189841.html

University of Minnesota, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, http://www.cs.umn.edu/about/facts

US News and World Report, University of Minnesota, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-minnesota-twin-cities-174066/overall-rankings

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

Inc. Minneapolis, http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2014/metro/minneapolis/

Minneapolis Community & Technical College, Degree Programs, http://www.minneapolis.edu/Educational-Programs/Media-Arts