According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alaska has one of the highest concentrations of computer programmers in the country. In addition, since the state is so massive, technology has become a vital way to operate in Alaska — the sector employed more than 19,000 tech workers, according to CompTIA's report Cyberstates 2019.
Students enrolled in computer science degree programs in Alaska may benefit from the importance of technology in The Last Frontier as there are a variety of organizations that are likely to find their education valuable and hire them as a result.
Alaska's Technology Education Initiatives
Alaska's technology education initiatives are designed to help promote online computer science programs in the state and ensure there are qualified employees to fill Alaska's open tech positions. A few of these initiatives include:
- Supporting computer science in high schools: Alaska passed a policy to allow computer science to count as a mathematics, science, or local CTE/technology credit for high school graduation. Although districts can decide whether they'd like to implement this policy, they are encouraged to do so.
- Offering computer science advanced placement courses: High schools in Alaska are giving their students the opportunity to take a computer science AP course and use it toward their college degree. Eight schools offered this course in the 2017-18 school year.
- Creating computer science standards for educators: The goal of the Alaska Computer Science Standards is to establish a baseline literacy in computer science for all Alaskan students. They also strive to guide teachers in designing appropriate computer science curriculum and assessments.
Spotlight on Computer Sciences Schools in Alaska
These computer science schools in Alaska feature programs that are particularly interesting.
- University of Alaska Anchorage: UAA offers students the opportunity to pursue either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in computer science. While the B.S. focuses on science and math, the B.A. gives students the chance to complement the computing courses with courses from other disciplines. Those who are interested in the field of information security can participate in the Cyber Security Club. Students who are also Alaska Natives or American Indians can join the American Indian Science & Engineering Society.
- University of Alaska Fairbanks: At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, students can pursue a bachelor's and master's degree in computer science simultaneously. The B.S./M.S. Computer Science program consists of 141 credits and must be completed in seven years. UAF's Department of Computer Science aims to prepare students to be involved in a variety of career paths that could involve robotics, game design, computer security and even infectious diseases.
IT Salaries and Career Outlook in Alaska
Information security analysts, software developers, and computer systems analysts are some of the in-demand tech occupations in Alaska, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Bering Straits Information Technology, which provides technology services to local organizations and companies in Alaska as well as the lower 48 states, typically hires these types of professionals. Additionally, tech startups such as Quick Cup, a company that allows customers to find their quickest drive-thru option and Indemnis, a safety solutions provider to the commercial UAV community are two examples of may also look to employed graduates of IT degree programs in Alaska.
|Career||Annual Mean Wage|
|Computer Network Architects||$93,730|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||$59,670|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$72,980|
|Database Administrators and Architects||$86,940|
|Information Security Analysts||$97,000|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$79,760|
|Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers||$103,270|
|Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers||$65,920|
Computer Science Scholarships for Alaska Students
To save money on computer science degree programs in Alaska, students may apply for program-specific scholarships such as the following ones.
- Don R. Withey Memorial Scholarship: This award, available through the University of Alaska Anchorage, is for full-time juniors or seniors who are enrolled in a bachelor of science program in computer science. Applicants must hold a minimum GPA of 2.88.
- CIO Roundtable Technology Scholarship: Awarded by the University of Alaska Anchorage, this scholarship is for students who have completed the King Career Center's Computer Information Technology program or the Electronics and Telecommunications Technology program.
Other state-specific scholarships can be found through the scholarship database on our partner site, Schools.com.
Alaska Professional Organizations and Resources
Students enrolled in IT degree programs in Alaska may benefit from the following organizations and resources:
- Alaska Web Developers: This meetup group for web developers and other IT professionals in Anchorage holds two meetings per month and offers networking opportunities as well as guest speakers.
- CompTIA Training Classes: CompTIA, a leading technology industry association hosts hands-on IT courses in Anchorage and the surrounding areas. A few examples of these courses include CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Network+.
- 2019 State of Computer Science Education, Code.org, Accessed October 2019, https://advocacy.code.org/2019_state_of_cs.pdf
- Alaska Web Developers, Meetup, Accessed December 2019, https://www.meetup.com/alaskadev/
- B.S./M.S. Computer Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Accessed December 2019, https://catalog.uaf.edu/bachelors/bachelors-degree-programs/computer-science/bs-ms/#programrequirementstext
- Bering Straits Information Technology (BSIT), Bering Straits Native Corporation, Accessed December 2019, https://sites.beringstraits.com/bsit/
- Best Tech Startups in Alaska, The Tech Tribune, Accessed December 2019, http://thetechtribune.com/3-best-tech-startups-in-alaska/
- CIO Roundtable Technology Scholarship, University of Alaska Anchorage, Accessed December 2019, https://alaska.academicworks.com/opportunities/6133
- CompTIA Training in Anchorage, Trainup, Accessed December 2019, https://www.trainup.com/CompTIA-Training-In-Anchorage-AK/2448/1
- Computer Programmers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed October 2019, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151131.htm#st
- Computer Science, Alaska.Gov, Accessed October 2019, https://education.alaska.gov/standards/computer-science
- Computer Science and Engineering Degree Programs, University of Alaska Anchorage, Accessed December 2019, https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/academics/college-of-engineering/departments/computer-science-and-engineering/degree-programs-cse/
- Don R. Withey Memorial Scholarship, University of Alaska Anchorage, Accessed December 2019, https://alaska.academicworks.com/opportunities/7438
- New Report Details Employment, Economic Impact of Alaska's Tech Industry, CompTIA, March 26, 2019, https://www.comptia.org/newsroom/press-releases/2019/09/03/new-report-details-employment-economic-impact-of-alaska-s-tech-industry