• New Computer Science Program Helps Students Earn 4-Year Degrees

    A new two-year program at MHCC will prepare students to transfer to a four-year degree program in Computer Science.The field of computer science is a rapidly growing sector offering high salary potential and jobs in a variety of different industries and roles. According to 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for software developers can vary from $108,000 to $118,000, depending on the industry that they work in (i.e. manufacturing, engineering services, finance, insurance, etc.). The BLS also projects that the need for software developers will grow 31 percent, from 2016 – 2026, resulting in a much faster growth rate than the average for all occupations.

    Software development represents only one occupational option for computer science graduates. Other jobs with similar or higher pay include computer and information systems managers, computer programmers, database administrators, computer systems analysts – all jobs that typically require a bachelor’s degree to enter.

    This fall, Mt. Hood Community College will launch a new two-year program aimed at helping students to graduate with an Associate of Science in Computer Science before transferring to a four-year computer science degree program at a college or university. Computer Science Success (CSS) will offer a variety of wraparound support, ensuring that enrolled students achieve their educational goals before transferring. While enrolled, CSS students will become proficient in several different programming languages, including C++, Java, and SQL, and they’ll build skill sets in developing applications for databases, games, business software, and other uses.

    Historically, earning a degree in computer science has been difficult. In 2018, the U.K.’s Higher Education Statistics Agency listed computer science as the program with the highest dropout rate (10.7 percent) among U.K. colleges and universities. Students in computer science programs must possess strong skills in problem solving and analytical, creative, and critical thinking. CSS will help students succeed by providing them with tutoring and study groups, by offering them priority registration, and by connecting them to critical internships after their second year of study.

    The will teach both programming languages and application development.“Research conducted by the Association for Computing Machinery identified two major barriers to completion for computer science students,” described Pam Wiese, director of the CSS program. “They include financial limitations and a lack of student support. This unique program will ensure that students are well connected to both support services, in the form of tutoring, peer-led learning opportunities, and more, and to financial support, such as scholarships.”

    Ultimately, CSS will prepare students to transfer to a college or university Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science program. It will achieve that through field trips to institutions with computer science degree programs, as well as to organizations serving and operating within the industry, allowing students to explore their career options.

    Enrollment for CSS and MHCC’s Associate of Science in Computer Science program is now open for fall 2019. Students interested in enrolling in CSS must be eligible to take MTH 112 and WR 121 during the fall of their first academic year. Applicants must submit an application letter and two letters of reference, and complete an interview with the selection committee.

    Interested in enrolling or learning more? Contact computer science instructor Pam Wiese at Pamela.Wiese@mhcc.edu or 503-491-7198.