Best Computer Science Schools In Indiana – Most computer science students do so for one simple reason: to prepare for a career in computer science. At the beginning of such a career, it is important to decide where to apply and where to register. But where to apply? How important is the decision?
Many students and parents rely on IT websites to help them decide which school to apply to. Some influential sites, like the United States. News & World Report brings a kind of “collective consciousness” to the admissions process. People often assume that ‘good schools’ are at the top, and conversely that lower ranked schools cannot be ‘good schools’. This assumption is wrong, especially when rankings are based on factors that applicants and parents don’t care about.
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Companies that provide IT rankings have varying degrees of transparency with their methodology, but the top rankings have one thing in common: none of them are based on actual industry hiring results. For example, USA News uses one metric: a survey of academics who work at universities, asking them to rate other universities. Other rankings, such as the Times Higher Education Computer Science Rankings and the QS Computer Science Rankings, include measures of ’employer reputation’ as well as measures of academic quality. This strengthens “common sense” about which institutions are “good schools” for computer science. As none of the other indicators use actual employment results, the misconceptions are compounded year after year. Additionally, none of the available sites include computer science colleges.
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So, we tried to create our own scientific classification. Our goal was to rank schools based on relevant and reliable data. Our rankings are based on two factors: employment in high-paying tech jobs and starting salaries for graduates. All schools that granted degrees in computer science were eligible to participate in our rankings, and our rankings include private research universities, public universities, online universities, and liberal arts colleges (including the best women’s colleges for computer science). Our original site only includes colleges and universities in the United States, but we also provide basic information about Canadian schools.
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is maintained by the US Department of Education and contains a wealth of information on undergraduate enrollment, demographics, course offerings, school resources, degrees awarded, and more. Data was collected for more than 250 schools, starting with a set of schools that awarded at least five computer science degrees in 2016, the most recent year for which data was available.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site. Recruiter is LinkedIn’s flagship product that enables highly specific searches. As the name suggests, its purpose is to enable professional recruiters to find job candidates with specific qualifications and experience. We could use it for another purpose: to find out which graduates are best represented in the software industry. Search parameters can be found below in the “Notes” section.
PayScale is a website that collects and reports salary data for various industries. Last year, PayScale partnered with the US. News and World Report provides data on starting and median salaries for graduates from various universities. PayScale claims to have surveyed millions of users, we’re not sure about the reliability of the data, especially for schools with a small sample size. However, we found the PayScale data to be reasonable and, even if not a great indicator of absolute salary expectations due to selection bias, an excellent indicator of the relative performance of graduates in the labor market.
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The Puter Science Ranking includes two components: relative employment and average starting salary. In all cases, scores were normalized with the highest score being 1 and the lowest score being zero. The final weighted average was then normalized to 1 to create the Computer Science Employment Index™ (CSEI).
Comparative Employment (50%) = Number of LinkedIn users who graduated 2012-2017 reporting CS-related jobs at leading companies divided by [number of computer science degrees awarded 2013-2016. years.
Median Starting Salary (50%) = Average starting salary reported by PayScale in Computer Science. When computer engineering data were available, we calculated a weighted average of the PayScale numbers for computer science and computer engineering based on the number of degrees offered.
According to US government data, these institutions awarded more than 1,500 degrees in computer science and computer engineering between 2013 and 2016. Not all are equally represented among high-paying tech companies. Western Governors University, a for-profit online university, had the worst results. George Mason University in Virginia, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and the University of Central Florida, which are not large public schools, also graduate many students who do not land at top tech companies. The state’s top school, Indiana University Bloomington, also fares poorly, especially compared to in-state rival Purdue.
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UT Austin beats UT Dallas by sending about the same number of graduates to high-paying tech jobs but awarding fewer degrees. Stanford and the University of Washington-Seattle, schools in tech hubs (Stanford is in Silicon Valley and Seattle is home to Microsoft and Amazon), have some of the best job prospects in terms of location.
The ratio is intended for comparing institutions; does not reflect the share of graduates in high-paying tech jobs because the data is for different periods (2013-2016 degree data and 2012-2017 graduate employment data). The search parameters also do not cover all high-paying tech jobs, but are intended to be a representative sample.
The 18 schools listed here returned over 1000 searches using our LinkedIn search parameters. If LinkedIn’s results are representative, graduates from these 18 schools alone make up about 40% of all workers in high-paying tech jobs. (66,628 total searches compared to 26,521 cumulative searches for these 18). The University of California, Berkeley, near Silicon Valley, has the highest number of high-paid tech workers in proportion to the number of graduates.
Computer Science is one of the few majors that makes paying full price for college a sound financial investment. Not surprisingly, most of the schools with the highest starting salaries in computer science are very expensive, costing over $60,000 a year. One school whose graduates earn good starting salaries, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is relatively more affordable. (Note that the price is not the full cost of attendance; it only includes tuition, required fees, room and board. We recommend adding $5,000-$10,000 to the total cost of attendance.)
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The results of the analysis were surprising. People tend to think of ‘rank’ as linear: going from 1 to 10 is the same as going from 20 to 30 or from 40 to 50. Our ranking is anything but:
Top-rated schools have a big advantage in recruitment. Comparing the CSEI to the rank, we saw a sharp decline in employment prospects among the top 40, a plateau between 40 and 60, and then a steady decline. The top 40 schools are highlighted here so you can see how they stack up against each other and the schools ranked below 40.
CS Employment Top 40 includes different types of schools. Slightly more than half (21) are private research universities (Caltech, Stanford, Duke, Carnegie Mellon, Dartmouth, UPenn, Princeton, MIT, Cornell, USC, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Rice, Santa Clara, Northwestern, Seattle University, Harvard , WPI, RPI and Tufts); there are also public schools (Berkeley, University of Washington, UCLA, Georgia Tech, UCSD, UT-Austin, UC-Davis, Cal Poly, UIUC, San Jose State University, University of Florida, Penn State, Michigan, UVA and Texas YN) ; community liberal arts colleges (Harvey Mudd and Pomona) and women’s liberal arts colleges (Wellesley and Mount Holyoke).
The top 20 schools award no more than 15% of all computer science degrees in unrelated countries, but if our LinkedIn data is representative, their graduates account for about 30% of all high-paying tech jobs. Graduates of these top 20 schools also earn significantly more money:
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The median reported starting salary (unweighted) for the top 10 schools was $92,748. The top 20 remain above $90,000 on average. The median starting salary for the top 40 CS hires was $83,802 For schools 41-60, the median starting salary was $71,721, down more than $12,000. 81-120. for schools it was even lower at $65,935. (It should be noted that this is still higher than the median income in the United States.)
Here’s a plot of our two factors (relative employment and average starting salary) on separate axes. Here’s where things get really interesting:
We’ve chosen to highlight a number of popular schools outside of the top 40. Looking at how the schools are grouped (especially in the top 40), we see some interesting characteristics:
Looking at the top 40, our rankings match up pretty well with Times Higher Education, followed by US News:
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(This does not include schools outside the Top 40 CS, some of which are highly rated by others.)
U.S. News & World Report has been ranking colleges for decades. They only provide computer science sites for graduate schools. The US Computer Science News rankings have only one metric: a survey of academics that asks them to rank institutions other than their own. The uniqueness of the graduate school lies in the liberal arts