Jasmine Leonas

Getting a jump start on a computer science career

Colorado School of Mines’ CS for Professionals Certificate helps expand workers’ toolkits
computer science online

Employment opportunities for computer and information research scientists are projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s much faster than the average for all occupations, which are projected to see an average increase of 8 percent during the same time period.

The Computer Science Professional Program at Colorado School of Mines is designed to help workers in industry set themselves apart. With courses that introduce common programming languages and development structures, graduates of the flexible program leave with a strong understanding of the different ways computer science is used to solve challenges.

“This program is a great way for someone who is working in an industry where they need more programming skills. They can get the foundational understanding of how to apply computational thinking to solve problems,” said Wendy Fisher, assistant department head and teaching associate professor of computer science. She is one of the Mines computer science faculty members who teaches courses for the program.

The Computer Science Professional Program consists of four courses:

  • Programming Concepts, which gives students an introduction to the programming language C++ and how to use different development environments to create, test and execute a computer program. Topics covered include variables, loops, functions and an introduction to object-oriented programming.
  • Data Structures builds on the previous course, with more pointers, memory management and explanation of the different types of structures that hold data – sets, maps, arrays, linked lists and more – and the ways to store and then access or use data. More instruction in C++ is also included.
  • Introduction to Data Science introduces students to the programming language Python. Students also learn the entire workflow of getting data, cleaning up data, running certain machine-learning algorithms and gaining insights from the results.
  • Software Engineering teaches students how to use an agile framework for the full software development life cycle and how to create and manage large programs. The programming language Java is also introduced during this course.

The program is flexible, with all courses able to be taken in-person, online or some combination of the two. The end goal, Fisher said, is to offer a seamless experience for working professionals, who need to manage their time.

The program is also a good option for students who are interested in getting a graduate degree in computer science, but don’t have the proper undergraduate credentials. Those students can complete the certificate as a bridge to a master’s degree program in computer science, Fisher said.

“We really wanted to target the working professional who needs those extra skills to do better and maybe get promoted in their job,” Fisher said. “They’ll leave this program understanding three different critical programming languages needed to work with data, able to evaluate the results of that work and knowing how to create and support a project in a software engineering environment. These are definitely desirable skills in today’s job market.”

To learn more about the CS for Professionals program, go to:

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Jasmine Leonas

Public Information Specialist
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.