Named after George Washington, the Evergreen State is noteworthy for many reasons. It's the second most populous state in the West. It also contains a wide variety of climate types, including temperate rainforests, mountainous regions and high deserts. Popularly known for lumber production and agriculture, a large segment of Washington's economy is focused on computer software development. Large tech-related companies headquartered there include Microsoft, Amazon, and Nintendo, among others. This means the state is not only rich in natural resources, but also opportunities for those interested in careers in computer science and related fields.
In addition to software development, Washington is home to several aircraft and automobile manufacturers and hydroelectric power plants. According to US census data, 31 percent of residents of Washington have attained at least a bachelor's degree. In fact, the state ranks 11th in the nation in the percentage of people 25+ with bachelor's degrees. Given the economic weight attributable to IT specialties, pursuing a degree in computer science may pay lifelong career dividends.
Computer science education in Washington
|Institution Name||No. of Computer Science Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees||Admission Rate|
|University of Washington-Seattle Campus||4||$10,753||45.35%|
|South Puget Sound Community College||3||$4,104||N/A|
|Central Washington University||3||$7,719||79.71%|
|Bates Technical College||3||$4,601||N/A|
Not surprisingly, the US News & World Report has repeatedly identified computer science as one of the top-paying university majors. For those interested in working for one of the technology giants in the state of Washington, earning a degree in computer science or closely-related area may help get one's foot in the door.
Whether a prospective student is interested in a public research university like the University of Washington; a state college like Central Washington University; a community college like Big Bend Community College or Highline College; a private college like Gonzaga University or Seattle Pacific University; a two-year degree from a school like Interface College; or just wants to brush up on technical skills by earning an IT certification from a technical or vocational school like the Academy of Interactive Entertainment or the Seattle Vocational Institute, there are many options in Washington for those who want to pursue a potential career in computer programming or a related information technology field.
Tech industries and careers in Washington
|Career||Annual Mean Wage||Statewide Projected Job Growth Rate||Statewide Current Number of Jobs|
|Computer Network Architects||$104,890||13.4%||6,230|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||$76,970||21.8%||3,470|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$94,470||30%||18,680|
|Information Security Analysts||$106,040||26.9%||1,850|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$90,290||24.7%||7,970|
|Software Developers, Applications||$131,430||37.5%||60,450|
|Software Developers, Systems Software||$117,810||25.3%||13,220|
Keeping up-to-date on the latest technologies is vital throughout almost any career in today's increasingly tech-saturated world. It's especially important, however, in a field that evolves as quickly as IT and computer science. Whether an individual chooses a university or a vocational school when initially earning their degree or certification, it is important for individuals to make long-term career plans that include seeking out additional certs. This may help enable one to keep pace with system upgrades and other improvements and innovations.
Fortunately, if one attends a school with a strong program initially, then finding employment may be easier in the future. Once an individual has a job, employers, such as Washington-based Microsoft, may cover the cost of additional trainings or certifications wholly or partially, particularly if the employee is seeking trainings in the company's own products. Selecting an employer known for being supportive of its employees' professional development may facilitate an individual's career advancement.
Obviously wages can vary a great deal, not only because of one's job specialization, but also due to other factors, such as an individual's educational attainment and professional experience or the metropolitan area in which a position is located. Individuals seeking an IT-related program in Washington should consider their career goals carefully. This means taking into account which institution, major, and specialization are a good fit for one's needs. Personal (non-professional) life plans after earning a credential should be considered as well. If you plan to live in a particular area, for example, knowing whether there is a demand for one's chosen career in that city or region is important.
"Educational attainment in the United States: 2009," U.S. Census, 22 May 2015, http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p20-566.pdf
"College majors with the best return on investment," U.S. News & World Report, 25 April 2015, http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2012/09/12/college-majors-with-the-best-return-on-investment
"College Navigator," National Center for Education Statistics, 17 May 2015, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
"University of Washington," U.S. News & World Report, 22 May 2015, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-washington-seattle-campus-236948/overall-rankings
"Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington," University of Washington, 22 May 2015, https://www.cs.washington.edu/
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"Computer Science," Central Washington University, 22 May 2015, http://www.cwu.edu/computer-science/about
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"Computer Science," Gonzaga University, 22 May 2015, http://www.gonzaga.edu/Academics/Colleges-and-Schools/School-of-Engineering-and-Applied-Science/Majors-Programs/Computer-Science/default.asp
"Computing Accreditation Commission," ABET.org, 22 May 2015, http://www.abet.org/about-abet/governance/accreditation-commissions/computing-accreditation-commission/
"May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Washington," Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22 May 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wa.htm