The IT industry plays a significant role in the growth and economic strength of North Dakota. According to CompTIA's 2019 Cyberstates report, it contributed more than $2 billion to North Dakota's economy and employed more than 22,000 people.
This thriving industry — and its overall state of health — can be reassuring for students pursuing computer science programs in North Dakota. It shows that they are likely to find jobs in their field of study once they graduate with their degree. For graduates looking to start careers in newer tech fields, CompTIA's report also found that job postings in North Dakota related to emerging technologies has grown by 95 percent.
North Dakota's Technology Education Initiatives
There are several government and university-led initiatives that strive to support technology education and computer science programs in North Dakota. These represent a long-term interest in fostering interest and skills aligned with the tech industry. A few of these include:
- Adopting computer science and cybersecurity standards: In February 2019, North Dakota became the first state to adopt computer science and cybersecurity standards in it K-12 schools.
- Providing teachers with resources to teach computer science: North Dakota's Department of Public Instruction is working to secure $6 million to train teachers on how to teach computer science. Its goal is to train 700 teachers so that there is one computer science teacher for every 160 students.
- Fostering STEM in rural areas: Grow Rural Education is a program that encourages the state's farmers to nominate local public schools to receive grants of up to $25,000 for the purpose of improving STEM curriculums in rural areas.
- Inspiring youth to understand cybersecurity: North Dakota State University and Dakota State University offered the first GenCyber Camp in 2019 to high schools students. At the week-long program, attendees could learn about cybersecurity, programming and networking.
Spotlight on Computer Sciences Schools in North Dakota
An educated workforce is imperative for growing the technology sector in North Dakota. Students who would like to pursue a career in information technology or computer science can select from several colleges and universities to earn their degrees. Here are a few of the schools that offer particularly interesting IT degree programs in North Dakota.
- University of North Dakota: The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at the UND presents students with the opportunity to create web and mobile apps, develop virtual reality systems and computer animations, and collaborate with other students in engineering, aerospace, and medicine. This is one of the state's online computer science programs.
- North Dakota State University: At NDSU, students can complete their Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Computer Science seamlessly through the 4+1 program. Students in this program participate in a senor capstone experience which involves a hands-on semester-long project related to the computer science industry.
- University of Jamestown: UJ offers a bachelor's degree program in computer science with optional minors in computer science, game design, information technology, or computer graphic design. There is a supervised internship program, which can allow students to gain real-world work experience for a semester or longer.
IT Salaries and Career Outlook in North Dakota
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software applications developers, information security analysts and computer user support specialists are three of the most in-demand occupations in North Dakota, although many tech-related occupations in the state are projected to experience double-digit growth in the coming years.
Microsoft in Fargo, Altru Health System in Grand Forks, and North Dakota State University are a few examples of the types of employers that typically hire these professionals.
|Career||Annual Mean Wage|
|Computer Network Architects||$91,030|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||$66,930|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$68,080|
|Database Administrators and Architects||$78,110|
|Information Security Analysts||$87,090|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$74,750|
|Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers||$82,930|
|Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers||$56,230|
Computer Science Scholarships for North Dakota Students
Students who are interested in saving money on their computer science education at one of the IT schools in North Dakota may want to consider these scholarship opportunities.
- Crowhurst Family Women in Technology Scholarship: Offered through the UND, this scholarship is for sophomore, junior, or senior female students who are majoring in computer science.
- Stephen and Frances Fetter Computer Science Scholarship: This award, based on financial need, is designed for computer science students at the freshmen through senior level who attend UND.
Other subject- or state-specific scholarships may be available at North Dakota colleges, so be sure to check with the school's financial aid office to see what they can offer. Additional options for scholarships and grants can be found by exploring the scholarship database on our partner site, Schools.com.
North Dakota Professional Organizations and Resources
- Technology Council of North Dakota: TechND advocates for a "positive business technology climate" throughout the state. It offers technical educational opportunities for students and introduces them to technology professionals that can serve as their mentors.
- IEEE Computer Society: Known as one of the largest largest technical professional organizations in the world, IEEE offers professional webinars and events, awards, and educational activities for students enrolled in computer science programs in North Dakota. North Dakota is part of IEEE's Region 4 chapter.
- The Institute for Cyber Security Education at North Dakota State University: This institute strives to promote cybersecurity to students and others in the state via scholarships, internships, and competitions. It's also an official National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research.
- 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates North Dakota, University of North Dakota, Accessed January 2020, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nd.htm
- 2019 State of Computer Science Education, CODE Advocacy Coalition, Accessed January 2020, https://advocacy.code.org/2019_state_of_cs.pdf
- Computer Science, North Dakota State University, Accessed January 2020, https://www.ndsu.edu/majors/compsci/
- Computer Science, University of Jamestown, Accessed January 2020, https://www.uj.edu/academics/comp-science
- Computer Science, University of North Dakota, Accessed January 2020, https://und.edu/programs/computer-science-bs/
- Crowhurst Family Women in Technology Scholarship, University of North Dakota, Accessed January 2020, https://und.academicworks.com/opportunities/14192
- DPI Seeks $6 Million to Train Teachers in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Bismarck Tribune, Accessed September 2019, https://bismarcktribune.com/news/local/education/dpi-seeks-million-to-train-teachers-in-computer-science-cybersecurity/article_6118435c-5c27-5f47-86a1-ef2119f2e9c7.html
- Farmers empowering rural schools, The Dickinson Press, Accessed January 2020, https://www.thedickinsonpress.com/news/4568382-farmers-empowering-rural-schools-stem-grant-program-gives-nd-farmers-chance-aid-schools
- GenCyber Camp @ NDSU, North Dakota State University, Accessed January 2020, https://www.gencybernd.com/
- IEEE, Region 4, Accessed January 2020, http://www.ewh.ieee.org/reg/4/index.php
- Information Technology, NorthDakota.Gov, Accessed January 2020, https://www.nd.gov/innovation-industries/information-technology
- Institute for Cyber Security Education, North Dakota State University, Accessed January 2020, https://www.ndsu.edu/cybersecurity/
- New Report Details Impact of North Dakota Tech Industry, CompTIA, Accessed January 2020, https://www.comptia.org/newsroom/2019/09/03/new-report-details-impact-of-north-dakota-tech-industry
- Stephen and Frances Fetter Computer Science Scholarship, University of North Dakota, Accessed January 2020, https://und.academicworks.com/opportunities/14705
- Technology Council of North Dakota, Accessed January 2020, https://www.technd.org