Kansas's technology sector contributes $9 billion to the state's economy, according to a 2019 report published by CompTIA, a leading technology industry association. The 2019 report also noted that Kansas experienced a 56 percent increase in job postings related to emerging technologies such artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain and drones.
This can be great information for adults enrolled in computer science degree programs in Kansas, as the skills typically taught in those programs can help prepare students for jobs in the state's tech sector. Upon completion of an education program, graduates are likely to find the most opportunities for meaningful employment in Topeka, Wichita, Lawrence, Overland Park, and other major cities in Kansas.
Kansas's Technology Education Initiatives
The Sunflower State is home to a variety of initiatives designed to support and grow the IT business sector as well as the number of graduates of IT degree programs in Kansas. Several of these initiatives include:
- Increasing enrollment in IT schools in Kansas: The Kansas Board of Regents developed the Foresight 2020 program, which strives to raise the number of students enrolled in higher education, prepare students to work in computer science, and upgrade universities in the state.
- Encouraging the completion of computer science degree programs: Another effort by the Kansas Board of Regents, known as the Get Ahead Initiative, works with seven Kansas public universities, 19 community colleges, and six technical colleges to help adult students complete their degree programs, including online computer science programs. Students can receive assistance in transferring college credits already earned as well as credit for military training.
- Bringing new technology jobs to Kansas: The Kansas Department of Commerce and organizations that were part of the former Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation have created Innovation Growth Partners, a program to help entrepreneurs and companies bring new technology jobs to the state.
- Supplying rural areas with technology: Kansas is receiving seven multi-million-dollar grants from the Federal Communications Commission to help expand broadband coverage to rural areas and allow rural Kansas to take advantage of technology.
Best Colleges for Computer Science and IT in Kansas
More than a dozen higher education institutions in The Sunflower State offer degree programs in computer science or information technology — including online IT programs. Kansas students planning for a career in computer science or IT can find programs at the associate, bachelor's and advance degree levels. How do you know which school is right for you? Start by reviewing our list of the best colleges below.
|Ranking||School Name||In-State Avg. Undergrad Tuition||% Receiving Financial Aid||Retention Rate||Number of Tech-Related Programs|
|1||Kansas City Kansas Community College||$2,640||73%||62%||3|
|2||North Central Kansas Technical College||$4,284||85%||89%||3|
|3||Dodge City Community College||$1,470||85%||55%||4|
|4||Flint Hills Technical College||$4,512||87%||72%||3|
|5||Independence Community College||$1,920||98%||44%||5|
|7||Barton County Community College||$2,368||91%||59%||3|
|8||Coffeyville Community College||$1,120||82%||63%||2|
|9||University of Kansas||$10,092||86%||84%||3|
|10||Hutchinson Community College||$2,848||92%||60%||3|
Spotlight on Computer Sciences Schools in Kansas
Let's dive deeper into computer science schools in Kansas with particularly notable programs.
- Kansas State University: At K-State, students may enroll in a brand-new program that culminates in the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a concentration in entrepreneurship. This program encourages students to think out-of-the-box and use computer science skills to create new products and/or companies. K-State's Department of Computer Science has also been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence for Research in Cybersecurity. Computer science students can also take part in research, mentorship and internship opportunities.
- Washburn University: Washburn offers a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Information Science with a concentration in digital forensics, which includes criminal justice and psychology courses. Students can participate in the Washburn University Student Computing Association as well as internships in the Topeka area.
- Fort Hays State University: Students in search of a flexible computer science program may find what they need at Fort Hays State. It offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science that can be completed online and includes courses such as programming languages and operating systems.
IT Salaries and Career Outlook in Kansas
The Kansas Department of Labor has found computer systems analysts, network and computer systems administrators, computer and information systems managers, and software developers to be several of the most high-demand occupations in Kansas.
Company Kitchen, a food and service provider for various workplaces; Garmin, the creator of navigation products; and Butler Transport, a leading refrigerated truckload carrier typically hire these types of IT professionals.
|Career||Annual Mean Wage|
|Computer Network Architects||$99,470|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||$51,300|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$77,770|
|Database Administrators and Architects||$89,810|
|Information Security Analysts||$87,290|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$76,260|
|Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers||$91,990|
|Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers||$65,670|
Computer Science Scholarships for Kansas Students
In addition to general scholarships, a couple of STEM-related awards in the state can help make it more affordable to attend IT schools in Kansas. Here's an overview of two of them:
- Robert Noyce Scholarship Program: This award, offered through the University of Kansas, is a collaboration between its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and its School of Education. Scholarships are granted to talented STEM undergraduate and graduate students who plan to pursue teaching careers in Kansas or nationwide.
- Washburn University's CIS Department offers multiple scholarships to eligible computer science majors. Some awards have minimum GPA requirements, while others offer preference to veterans.
Kansas Professional Organizations and Resources
There are several industry-focused groups and resources that may be beneficial to technology professionals as well as students enrolled in computer science schools in Kansas. Let's take a look at a few of them:
- Kansas Technology Student Association: This organization aims to provide students the opportunity to explore a wide range of STEM career interest areas. It hosts numerous competitions for high school students across the state.
- Association for Computing Machinery: The student chapter of the ACM at Kansas State University hosts programming contests, tech talks, and LAN parties. The Association for Computer Machinery is known as the largest association for computer scientists and technicians in the world.
- Kansas Association of Teachers of Science: Computer science teachers are encouraged to join KATS as its purpose is to advance, stimulate, improve, and coordinate science teaching in all fields of science at all educational levels.
- Kansas Association for Career and Technical Education: The K-ACTE offers a variety of opportunities for career and technical educators, administrators, and other supporters of career and technical education.
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
- 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
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Computer and Information Research Scientists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed December 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm
- Computer Information Science, Washburn University, Accessed July 2019, https://washburn.edu/academics/college-schools/arts-sciences/departments/computer-information-sciences/index.html
- Computer Science, Fort Hays State University, Accessed December 2018, https://www.fhsu.edu/cs/Academic-Programs/
- Computer Science, Kansas State University, Accessed December 2018, https://www.cs.ksu.edu/future_students/
- Foresight 2020, The Kansas Board of Regents, Accessed December 2018, https://www.kansasregents.org/foresight2020
- Kansas Association for Career and Technical Education, Accessed December 2018, https://www.k-acte.org
- Kansas Association of Teachers of Science, Accessed December 2018, http://kats.org
- Kansas Board of Regents Announces Get Ahead Initiative, The Kansas Board of Regents, Accessed December 2018, https://www.kansasregents.org/about/news-releases/2018-news-releases/692-kansas-board-of-regents-announces-get-ahead-initiative
- Kansas High Demand Occupations, Kansas Department of Labor, Accessed December 2018, https://klic.dol.ks.gov/gsipub/index.asp?docid=403
- Kansas State Association for Computer Machinery, Accessed December 2018, http://acm.cs.ksu.edu/
- Kansas Technology Student Association, Accessed December 2018, https://www.kansastsaweb.org/
- Kansas to Receive Millions in Federal Funding to Bring Broadband to Rural Areas, Kansas Central, Accessed December 2018, https://kansascentral.com/kansas-to-receive-millions-in-federal-funding-to-bring-broadband-to-rural-areas/
- New Report Details Employment, Economic Impact of Kansas Tech Industry, CompTIA, March 26, 2019, https://www.comptia.org/about-us/newsroom/press-releases/2019/03/26/new-report-details-employment-economic-impact-of-kansas-tech-industry
- Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, The University of Kansas, Accessed July 2019, https://cstem.ku.edu/robert-noyce-scholarship-program
- Technology, Kansas Department of Commerce, Accessed December 2018, https://www.kansascommerce.gov/440/Technology