Best Colleges in Iowa for Computer Science and IT

Iowa Computer Training Schools

Iowa is home to more than 4,300 tech establishments and has more than 92,000 tech workers. And the impact of those businesses? CompTIA's Cyberstates 2019 report notes that Iowa's tech sector is responsible for about $10.4 billion of the state's overall economy, an increase over the previous year.

Adults who are pursuing IT degree programs in Iowa are likely be excited about these figures as they show that there is a real need for IT professionals in the Hawkeye State. After graduating with an IT or computer science degree, they are likely to land employment in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Iowa City, and other thriving cities with tech jobs.

Iowa's Technology Education Initiatives

Iowa is working hard to support and grow both its IT sector and the computer science schools who help to educate its future tech workforce. Several examples of the state's initiatives include:

  • Expanding computer science opportunities: Senate File 274 was passed to encourage computer science education in all Iowa schools by July 1, 2019. It establishes computer science standards and develops a computer science professional development incentive fund for teachers. Iowa's government has dedicated $250,000 to train teachers in computer science instruction.
  • Connecting students with technology leaders: The Technology Association of Iowa has created the Catalysts program to provide students, professionals, and other interested parties with opportunities to hear how technology leaders are aiming spark tech innovation in the state and inspire change.
  • Increasing the effectiveness of IT: The University of Iowa has designed OneIT, an effort to raise the efficiency and effectiveness of IT by dramatically reducing the cost of providing general IT services that are necessary for the daily operations of the campus.
  • Supporting teachers with technology education: The Iowa Technology and Education Connection hosts IT conferences to give IT professionals and district technology leaders the opportunity to connect and learn about the most recent hardware and software developments for schools.

Best Computer Science and IT Colleges in Iowa

More than two dozen schools in Iowa offer degree programs in the tech field, including online IT programs. While a large number of schools are private nonprofit institutions — some of which are Christian-based colleges — the state also hosts a several large public community colleges and universities. How to choose which one to attend? You can start by checking out the schools in our ranking of the best colleges for computer science in the state to see which ones meet your goals for variety of programs and the all-important cost factor, among other metrics.

Methodology
Ranking School Name In-State Avg. Undergrad Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Retention Rate Number of Tech-Related Programs
1 Iowa State University $7,740 89% 87% 4
2 University of Northern Iowa $7,665 81% 84% 3
3 Grinnell College $51,924 86% 92% 1
4 Eastern Iowa Community College District $5,184 86% 63% 3
5 Luther College $41,950 100% 84% 1
6 Marshalltown Community College $4,152 83% 71% 2
7 Purdue University Global-Davenport $13,356 25% 100% 4
8 Maharishi University of Management $16,000 100% 53% 2
9 Southwestern Community College $5,130 94% 60% 3
10 Loras College $32,524 100% 81% 1
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Spotlight on Computer Sciences Schools in Iowa

Here's a closer look at some of the most noteworthy computer science programs in Iowa. This is just a sampling, and given the number of available IT programs in Iowa, it's worth investing additional schools to find the most that best aligns with your education plans.

  • The University of Iowa: A Bachelor of Science in Engineering at the UI combines the technical aspect of a computer science degree and a computer engineering degree into one program. Students in this joint program are taught by faculty from both the Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments.
  • Mount Mercy University: At Mount Mercy, students who major in computer science can participate in research projects, STEM initiatives, and internships through the Computer Science Club. Majors can focus on computational science, information security, software development, web development, embedded systems, or software engineering.
  • University of Northern Iowa: UNI offers a Bachelor of Science in Networking & Administration. This program aims to prepare students for research opportunities and careers in reliable and distributed network computing. Students can conduct research on topics such as high-performance computing, system security, data encryption, and grid computing.
  • St. Ambrose University: Students may choose from undergraduate majors in computer science, cybersecurity, and computer network administration — any of which can be combined with the M.S. program in information technology management. This 4+1 program can be completed in five years — a potential time and money saver.

IT Salaries and Career Outlook in Iowa

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a number of computer-related occupations are projected to have double-digit growth in the coming years, especially web developers, information security analysts, and software developers.

Newly minted graduates of IT schools in Iowa can explore career opportunities with large employers IBM, Wells Fargo, and Rockwell Collins. Additional options to pursue may be found with smaller companies or start-ups.

CareerAnnual Mean Wage
Computer Network Architects$104,660
Computer Network Support Specialists$55,820
Computer Programmers$78,040
Computer Systems Analysts$85,040
Database Administrators and Architects$93,370
Information Security Analysts$87,080
Network and Computer Systems Administrators$76,660
Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers$95,370
Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers$66,340
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Computer Science Scholarships for Iowa Students

Paying for one of the computer science degree programs in Iowa may be a daunting prospect, but scholarships and grants can help to defray costs. State- or program-related scholarships may be available to eligible applicants. In addition to the ones highlighted below, it may be worth exploring the scholarship database on our sister site, Schools.com, as well as checking the computer science department at your target school.

  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund: While this scholarship is available for all majors and graduate fields, emphasis is given to STEM majors. Award amounts can vary.
  • University of Iowa's Computer Science Department: Multiple awards may be available to eligible applicants, including the David Spang Award, the Jason and Leslie Weber Women in Computer Science Scholarship, the John Deere Scholarship, and the Arthur Collins Scholarship, among others.
  • Iowa State University's Department of Computer Science: Scholarships available to new and/or current students include the Charlie and Barb Hunt Scholarship in Computer Science, the Mark Geise Computer Science Scholarship, and the Arthur A. Collins Education Fund in Computer Science.

Iowa Professional Organizations and Resources

Iowa has numerous professional organizations and resources that may be of value to students enrolled in IT programs in Iowa as well as active technology professionals. Several of them include:

  • Technology Association of Iowa: TAI unites the technology community by connecting leaders, driving public policy, developing talent, and cultivating diversity and inclusion.
  • Iowa Technology Summit: Powered by Wellmark, the Iowa Technology Summit aims to bring together the technology community in Iowa — to connect current and future IT leaders.
  • Association for Computing Machinery: The University of Iowa has a student chapter of ACM, which is a global organization dedicated to advancing computer science technology.
  • STEM Scale Up Program: In an effort to engage Iowa students in STEM, the STEM Scale-Up Program offers a variety of initiatives such as workshops and after-school programs.
Article Sources
Methodology

To be included in the rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria:

  • Be an accredited U.S. institution
  • Offer either 2 or 4-year degree programs
  • Be active in the 2016-17 school year
  • Offer a degree in a technology-related subject
  • Have awarded at least one degree in that subject in 2015-16
  • Have reported data for all ranking variables listed below

Ranking variables:

  • Related subjects, based on the number of relevant programs that are offered at any level
  • Flexibility, based on number of relevant programs that are offered at any level via distance education
  • Average in-state undergraduate tuition
  • Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  • Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students
  • Graduation rate
  • Retention rate

Methodology Sources:

  1. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
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Article Sources

Sources

  • A Major in Networking and System Administration, University of Northern Iowa, Accessed December 2018, https://www.cs.uni.edu/overview_networking.php
  • Association for Computing Machinery, The University of Iowa, Accessed August 2019, https://acm.org.uiowa.edu/
  • Computer Science, Mount Mercy University, Accessed August 2019, https://www.mtmercy.edu/computer-science
  • Computer Science, St. Ambrose University, Accessed August 2019, https://www.sau.edu/computer-science
  • Computer Science and Engineering, The University of Iowa, Accessed August 2019, https://cs.uiowa.edu/undergraduate-programs/computer-science-and-engineering-0
  • Fastest Growing Jobs in Iowa, Zippia, Accessed December 2018, https://www.zippia.com/advice/fastest-growing-jobs-in-iowa/
  • Iowa Makes Progress in Expanding Computer Science Opportunities for Students, Educate Iowa, Accessed December 2018, https://www.educateiowa.gov/article/2017/11/01/iowa-makes-progress-expanding-computer-science-opportunities-students
  • Iowa Technology Summit, Accessed August 2019, https://www.iowatechsummit.com/
  • IT Conference, Iowa Technology & Education Connection, Accessed August 2019, https://oneit.uiowa.edu/about
  • OneIT, University of Iowa, Accessed December 2018, https://oneit.uiowa.edu/about
  • STEM Scale-Up Program, Iowa.gov, Accessed August 2019, https://www.iowastem.gov/Scale-Up
  • Technology Employment Expands its Presence in Iowa's Workforce, CompTIA, Accessed August 2019, https://www.comptia.org/about-us/newsroom/press-releases/2019/03/26/technology-employment-expands-its-presence-in-iowa-s-workforce
  • Technology Association of Iowa, Accessed August 2019, https://www.technologyiowa.org
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