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The Oregonian: Portland State launches computer science program for non-techies
Author: Mike Rogoway, The Oregonian
Posted: April 28, 2014

Read the original story in The Oregonian

Software employment in Oregon is booming, creating increasing pressure on employers who seek skilled software developers for everything from tech startups to established companies that need engineering expertise.

A new program at Portland State University aims to help address the issue with a new, nine-month program that prepares students for a graduate program in computer science. “New Beginnings” is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree but without computer science training.

Students who complete the program win automatic admission to Portland State’s master’s program in computer science.

After falling steeply during the recession, software employment has been growing at a double-digit percentage rate in Oregon. Statewide employment totaled 12,600 last year in an industry that paid an average wage of more than $92,000 annually in 2012.

Oregon State also offers a computer science program for students with an undergraduate degree but no prior technical training, while many others teach themselves the skills to work the field.

Engineering and computer science enrollment is up sharply in the state. Enrollment across PSU’s engineering program is up 22 percent from 2011; at OSU, enrollment in the school of electrical engineering and computer science is up 30 percent in that stretch.

PSU’s new program is backed by a $195,000 grant from the Oregon Engineering and Technology Industrial Council, an industry-led consortium that invests funds allocated by the state Legislature. The university hopes to make New Beginnings self-sustaining within five years.