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Pennsylvania Computer Training Schools (PA)

Perhaps surprisingly, Pennsylvania has a robust technology ecosystem and is a hotbed for education and employment opportunities for prospective professionals. According to CompTIA's 2015 research report, Cyberstates, Pennsylvania ranked 7th in the nation for total tech employment, with more than 280,000 individuals employed in the industry.

Technology has joined the list of eight industries, such as aviation, tourism and advanced manufacturing that are central to the economic success of Pennsylvania and are supported by the state's Department of Community and Economic Development. At both the state and local level, efforts are being made to nurture investments in tech and, in the process, create new jobs and bring economic growth to the state. Example groups leading this effort include the following:

  • Ben Franklin Technology Partners. An economic development program dedicated to helping both early-stage and established technology companies access funding, networking opportunities, and technical expertise
  • Innovation Partnership. Consortium of economic development organizations helping start-ups technology companies to get federal funding
  • Technology Council of Pennsylvania. A member-based trade association, the Technology Council of Pennsylvania promotes technology development in the state

Computer Science Education in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has a nationally recognized higher education system, with highly ranked universities and colleges. The development of a highly qualified workforce in this educational system is a major reason why tech companies are being attracted to the state. In its annual ranking of the country's top graduate programs in computer science, seven Pennsylvania universities were ranked, including top ranked Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Overall, five of the state's universities placed in the top 100, which makes Pennsylvania one of the hottest states for computer science education in the U.S.:

  • Carnegie Mellon University - #1
  • University of Pennsylvania - #19
  • Penn State University (University Park) - #29
  • University of Pittsburgh - #52
  • Drexel University - #90
  • Lehigh University - #101
  • Temple University - #112

In addition to being able to pursue a graduate education at leading academic institutions like Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pennsylvania, prospective computer science professionals can complete their academic studies in a tech-related program at more than 175 colleges and universities across the state.

Institution

Count

Public, 4-Year

41

Private, 4-Year

64

Private, For-Profit

8

Public, 2-Year

22

Private, 2-Year

6

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

The popularity of computer science (and related fields) as a major has increased in popularity in the past ten years. In 2012-2013 (the most recent year data is available), more than 10,000 students graduated with a degree or certificate in a computer science or related field in Pennsylvania.

Degree

Degrees Conferred

Bachelor's degree

4,116

Associate degree

3,417

Master's degree

1,864

Award of at least 1 but less than 2 academic years

362

Award of less than 1 academic year

351

Doctoral Degree

207

Grand Total

10,317

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

By area of study at the undergraduate and graduate level, the most popular majors included the following:

Undergraduate

Graduate

Computer and Information Sciences

Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

Computer Science

Computer Science

Computer Programming

Computer Software and Media Applications

Computer Software and Media Applications

Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management

Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications

Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications

Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management

Computer Systems Analysis

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Computer Science School Spotlight: University of Pennsylvania

Located in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania is a private institution and member of the Ivy League. Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the university is a top-tier research institution with faculty and alumni among the ranks of Nobel Laureates, US Supreme Court justices, and global business leaders. Situated on a 992-acre campus, the University of Pennsylvania educates nearly 25,000 students with four undergraduate schools and 12 graduate and professional schools and 141 research centers. The university faculty numbers nearly 5,000 and includes some of the top researchers and scholars in the world.

The University is routinely ranked among the nation's best with U.S. News & World Report ranking it as the ninth best college in the United States. The Department of Computer and Information Science is one of the country's top programs, with its graduate program ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report. Undergraduate students may choose from two academic paths: Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) and Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS). Within those fields, students may select from seven different majors:

Bachelor of Engineering

Bachelor of Applied Science

Computer Science

Computer Science

Computer Engineering

Computational Biology

Digital Media Design

Computer and Cognitive Science

Networked and Social Systems Engineering

At the graduate level, students may select from five master's degrees and a doctoral program in computer and information science. Master's degrees in computer science include the following:

  • Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) in Computer and Information Science (CIS)
  • Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) in Embedded Systems (EMBS)
  • Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) in Embedded Systems (EMBS)
  • Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) in Robotics (ROBO)
  • Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT)

The department's curriculum blends both theory and practice, combining the study of data structures and discrete mathematics with hands-on study of computer architecture and operating systems. Students learn in the classroom and in the laboratory and can focus their studies in areas ranging from web programming to artificial intelligence, computer security to natural language processing. Faculty research interests are grouped into five major categories:

  • Intelligent Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Software Systems
  • Networks
  • Theory

Program Recognition

U.S. News & World Report - Best Graduate Program in Computer Science - #9

  • #13 - Artificial Intelligence
  • #7 - Programming Language
  • #18 - Systems

Tech Industry and Career Outlook in Pennsylvania

As it turns out, numerous tech hubs are sprouting up in Pennsylvania, led by Pittsburgh. Between 2013 and 2014, job postings for high-tech jobs increased by 40 percent in Pittsburgh, according to the Pennsylvania Center for Workforce Information and Analysis. City leaders and stakeholders continue to invest in tech industry development, with organizations such as the Pittsburgh Technology Council driving business development, talent recruitment and retention, and other efforts to connect prospective and current companies to investment capital and more. Example Pittsburgh-based start-ups gaining national attention include the following:

  • Athlete Trax - Cloud-based team management platform
  • Dynamix - Credit card security system
  • PieceMaker - 3D printing systems
  • Rhiza - Online analytical tools

However, tech darlings are not only limited to Pittsburgh. In its most recent Fast 500 Ranking, a list of the fastest growing technology businesses in the country, Deloitte recognized Pennsylvania as an emerging East Coast Silicon Valley. Pennsylvania landed 21 companies on the list, with five companies making the top 100. The table below includes the complete list of Pennsylvania companies on the Fast 500:

Rank

Company

Location

Primary Industry

21

MeetMe, Inc

New Hope

Internet

48

Greenphire

King of Prussia

Software

61

Panopto

Pittsburg

Software

89

Coldlight

Wayne

Medical Devices

99

Actua Corp

Radnor

Software

136

CenTrak, Inc

Newtown

Networking/Communications

249

InstaMed

Philadelphia

Software

318

Epam Systems, Inc

Newtown

Software

320

RDC

King of Prussia

Software

326

iPipeline

Exton

Software

329

Futura Mobility

Fort Washington

Computers/Peripherals

344

Beyond.com

King of Prussia

Internet

354

CRF Health

Plymouth Meeting

Biotech/Pharma

388

USA Technologies

Malvern

Networking/Communications

389

Qlik

Radnor

Software

391

Anexinet

Blue Bell

Networking/Communications

397

Halfpenny Technologies

Blue Bell

Software

398

Education Management Solutions, Inc

Exton

Software

467

Pentec Health In

Boothwyn

Biotech/Pharma

476

Health Advocate Inc

Plymouth Meeting

Software

480

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals

Chesterbrook

Biotech/Pharma

Source: Deloitte, Fast 500, 2014

With its large and diverse tech sector (280,000+ jobs), Pennsylvania represents opportunity for prospective students. There are more than 14,000 technology firms in the state with a total payroll greater than $20 billion in 2014, according to CompTIA. The average tech worker earned $90,700 in 2014, notes CompTIA, compared to the $48,700 of all other private workers in the state. Those are not small figures. In fact, 7.1 percent of the state's economy is derived from the technology industry. Some of the largest employing tech occupation fields include:

  • IT Services (62,900)
  • Engineering Services (39,500)
  • Research and Development (36,900)
  • Telecommunications (27,900)

An examination of employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the best opportunities in the technology industry in Pennsylvania include Computer Systems Analysts, Computer User Support Specialists, and Computer and Information Research Scientists, with projected job growth between 2012 and 2022 of 25.2 percent, 19.3 percent, and 15.5 percent, respectively. Overall, eight of the nine fastest-growing tech occupations in the state are projected to grow by double figures between 2012 and 2022. The table below includes a breakdown of the salaries and employment figures of tech-related careers in Pennsylvania.

Occupation

Total Employed (2014)

Average Salary (2014)

Projected Job Growth (2012-22)

Computer User Support Specialists

25,350

$49,860

19.30%

Computer Systems Analysts

23,180

$84,800

25.20%

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

14,600

$75,970

11.20%

Computer Programmers

14,310

$78,060

9%

Computer and Information Systems Managers

10,780

$134,760

14.90%

Computer Network Support Specialists

5,380

$65,310

10.50%

Computer Network Architects

3,640

$95,090

11.70%

Computer Hardware Engineers

1,220

$90,310

14.70%

Computer and Information Research Scientists

280

$111,670

15.50%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, 2015

Top Metro Employment Centers for Computer Programmers in Pennsylvania

Metro Area

Total Employed

Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan Division

6,800

Pittsburgh, PA

3,330

Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA

890

Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ

780

Scranton -- Wilkes-Barre, PA

340

Lancaster, PA

310

York-Hanover, PA

280

Reading, PA

280

Johnstown, PA

160

Erie, PA

160

Altoona, PA

140

State College, PA

80

Grand Total

13,550

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015

Sources

"The Best 50 Computer Science and Engineering Programs in the Country," Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com/best-computer-science-engineering-schools-in-america-2015-7
"Deloitte Fast 500," Deloitte, http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/technology-media-telecommunications/us-tmt-fast500-2014-ranking-list.pdf
"2015 Cyberstates," CompTIA, https://www.comptia.org/resources/2015-cyberstates
"Texas," Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
"2014 5000," Inc., http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2014/state/pa/
"Inc. 5000," Inc., 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/
Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Technology, http://newpa.com/technology-office
"Number of jobs in high-tech industry outpace workers in Pittsburgh, nation," Tribune Live, http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6765473-74/jobs-job-tech#axzz3mclsuh00
"Best Computer Science Graduate Programs," US News and World Review, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-science-schools/computer-science-rankings
Start-Ups, Next Pittburgh, http://www.nextpittsburgh.com/features/pittsburgh-startups-watch-2015/
"Department of Computer Science," University of Pennsylvania, http://www.cis.upenn.edu/prospective-students/index.php

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