Program Spotlight: Computer Science

Computer Science Education Week December 7 –13, 2020

Inver Hills Community College offers a 60-credit Computer Science A.S. Transfer Pathway that opens the door to some of the highest-paying and fastest-growing computer science-related careers in Minnesota and across the United States.

The discipline of computer science is concerned with understanding and implementing theory and best practices along with developing the ability to solve problems accurately, creatively and logically through abstract modeling and objective analysis. Computers are indispensable tools in civilization’s crucial fields, sciences and activities, including:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Banking
  • Robotics
  • Defense
  • Law enforcement
  • Healthcare
  • Engineering
  • Sports
  • Biology
  • Space travel
  • Transportation
  • Entertainment
  • Personal use
  • And much, much more…

Making sure computers perform at optimum levels requires intensive hands-on experience. Computers and computational process design merge theoretical studies, experimental methods and engineering applications into one discipline. Computer scientists are good at mathematics, solid on their science and adept at building hardware and software. They enjoy their work and have a broad range of lucrative career opportunities.

Computer programmers refine concepts and troubleshoot problems that occur when programs are converted to code. Programming is exceptionally detailed work that requires rewriting, debugging, maintaining and testing software and programs that direct computer tasks. Programmers are typically fluent in several computer languages.

John Jeries: Faculty perspective…

John Jeries

John Jeries serves as a computer science and information technology instructor at Inver Hills. John previously served as chief information officer (CIO) at Benedictine University and St. Catherine University. He has a Master of Science (M.S.) in Computer Science from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

“Computing is all around us, impacting our lives in everything we do,” John said. “A degree in computer science provides our graduates with a range of rewarding career opportunities around the country and the world.”

John reported that programming skills offer his students the capacity to be creative while making significant, positive changes in the lives of people in many fields.

“I enjoy working with students and watching as their minds adapt to thinking systematically with the goal to solve often complex problems,” he added, “not only for the assigned program, but also when dealing with bigger projects. Students start seeing the big picture as they manage the many pieces that make up their work.”

Kyle Andersen: Student perspective…

Kyle Andersen is earning his A.S. in Computer Science at Inver Hills. Kyle is on track to graduate from Inver in 2021. He is also earning his Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy from the University of Minnesota. He has a B.A. in Political Science and Government from St. Cloud State University.

Kyle and daughter, Sawyer, age 5

Kyle works full-time while going to school as a senior business development manager at SpartanNash, an American food distributor and grocery store retailer headquartered in Byron Center, Michigan.

“As a working professional, U of M master’s student in my final semester, and prospective Ph.D. candidate for public policy, I find that people ask me why I am obtaining an associate degree in computer science,” Kyle said. “My answer is simple: Learning computer programs, systems and hardware can help me effectively promote and understand policy in emerging technologies.”

Kyle related that computer science is an area that impacts all facets of life. Computer science gives him the skills, knowledge and competitive edge he needs to help him succeed in his future endeavors.

“Computer science doesn’t mean you are pursuing a career in technology,” he said. “Computer science to me means that you are passionate about understanding the intricacies of the technology we use in our daily lives. The skills I have learned have already set me apart from my peers in not only my professional life, but also my graduate studies. I highly recommend this program to every individual seeking professional and personal growth.” 

Computer Science Education Week

December 7 –13, 2020

Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual call to action to inspire K–12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field.

This week is held in recognition of the birthday of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906), who invented the first compiler and coined the term “bug” (an error in a program) after removing an actual moth from a computer in 1947.

Connect with CSEdWeek on:

#CSforSocialJustice Theme

Social justice, as a concept, arose in the early 19th century primarily focused on economics- capital, property, and the distribution of wealth. By the mid-20th century, social justice expanded from being primarily concerned with economics to include other spheres of social life including the environment, race, gender, and other causes and manifestations of inequality.

Now, the concept of social justice often refers to human rights, centered around improving the lives of groups historically marginalized based on race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion and disability.


Grace Hopper at UNIVAC I console, circa 1960

Computer Science Degree Options

Computer Science A.S. Transfer Pathway 60 credits

The Computer Science Transfer Pathway Associate of Science (A.S.) offers you a powerful option: the opportunity to complete your A.S. degree with course credits that directly transfer with junior-year status to designated computer science bachelor’s degree programs at one of seven Minnesota State universities.¹

All courses in Transfer Pathway associate degrees directly transfer and apply to designated bachelor’s degree programs in a related field. The Computer Science Transfer Pathway A.S. consists of the required pathway curriculum and select Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) requirements to bring your credit total to 60 credits.


Computer Programmer A.A.S. 60 credits

As a graduate of Computer Programmer Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program, you will be well-prepared in software programming and software engineering abilities, allowing you to execute a wide variety of information technology projects.


Computer Science Career Paths

Computer and Information Research Scientists

What Computer and Information Research Scientists Do

Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology.


The median annual wage for computer and information research scientists was $122,840 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects are expected to be excellent.

Software Developers

What Software Developers Do

Software developers create the applications or systems that run on a computer or another device.


The median annual wage for software developers was $107,510 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of software developers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Software developers will be needed to respond to an increased demand for computer software.

Database Administrators

What Database Administrators Do

Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data.


The median annual wage for database administrators was $93,750 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of database administrators is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in this occupation will be driven by the increased data needs of companies across the economy.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections

Why Inver Hills?

Completing your Computer Science Transfer Pathway (A.S.) obligations at Inver Hills is smart on several key levels:

  1. You will receive an excellent education with one-on-one interactions with computer science faculty
  2. You will benefit from small class sizes while developing the practical, real-world skills needed for a career as a computer programmer, software developer, software engineer, computer scientist, web developer, database administrator and more
  3. You will save money and continue your academic and professional careers with far less student debt

On a national scale, student loan debt has mushroomed to $1.53 trillion with 44.7 million borrowers and an average loan debt topping $37,000. Minnesota’s average debt per borrower in 2020 was $33,400, according to

Tuition and fees for one year at Inver Hills costs less than $5,500.² Compare that to $15,000 to $20,000 at a four-year school, or $40,000 to $50,000 at a private college or university. You can complete your first two years at Inver getting a topflight education working directly with computer science faculty and then transfer to a four-year university with junior-year status all while saving thousands of dollars.

Learn more about Computer Science at Inver Hills by contacting:

John Jeries
Computer Science Faculty

Ben Franske
Network Technology and Security Faculty

Admissions Team
College Center

¹ The Computer Science A.S. Transfer Pathway paves the way for transfer to the following majors at Minnesota State universities:
Bemidji State University: Computer Science: BS
Metropolitan State University: Computer Science: BS
Minnesota State University, Moorhead: Computer Science: BS
Southwest Minnesota State University: Computer Science: BS
St. Cloud State University: Computer Science: BS
Winona State University: Computer Science: BS (Bioinformatics Emphasis, Computer Information Systems Emphasis or Human Computer Interaction Emphasis)
² Source: Tuition and Fees Chart: Minnesota: 2019–2020

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