Bethel College Adds Computer Science Major to Address Local and National Demand

Lissa Diaz

Bethel College announces a new major in Computer Science, to begin in the fall of 2019. The program was created in response to the increasing local, regional and national demand for professionals skilled in the areas of technology and software development, and builds on Bethel’s existing Computer Science minor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer science jobs are expected to grow much faster than average over the next 10 years. For example, software developer jobs are projected to increase by 24 percent, with a median pay of more than $100,000 per year.

A recent study commissioned by Bethel and conducted by STAMATS reported that our region has a deficit of workers to fill jobs in this field, despite 227 percent growth in Computer Science degrees awarded locally over the past five years.

Computer Science graduates will be equipped to innovate, design and build computer systems at tech-driven companies. The program will prepare students both for immediate employment in areas such as software development, database administration, computer systems management and analysis, computer network management, web development, computer programming and information security, as well as having the option to attend graduate school.

“This program is designed to prepare graduates to serve the needs in our communities for tech-savvy, computer literate, skilled thinkers and workers who can tackle with expertise, innovation and integrity the challenges posed by technology,” says Chair of the Department of Mathematical & Engineering Sciences Alice Ramos, Ph.D.

Several individuals and organizations are providing grants to renovate current classroom space into two dedicated computer labs – one instructional lab with about 25 stations and one collaboration lab for teamwork case studies. The dedicated lab space will facilitate inquiry-based and project-based learning opportunities for students. 

“These labs will simulate industry experiences for students as they grow in knowledge from the theoretical underpinnings of how computers work to the most current applications in web design, cloud-based computing and cyber security,” says Ramos.

She expects students will have no trouble completing a required internship because there is high demand for interns, as well as a wealth of computer science jobs available in the South Bend region.

“Our current math majors and computer science minors are offered internships related to computer programming and web design. We don’t have enough students to fill the current demand, so we expect students in the new major to easily find internship and employment opportunities,” she says.

As part of the program, students will attend national conferences, such as the International Conference on Supercomputing and the Federated Computing Research Conference, and participate in competitions such as the International Collegiate Programming Contest through the East Central North America Regional Contest.

For more information on the new major, visit Bethel’s website or email