Why Computer Science at Simpson?

One of the best paying, highest demand jobs you can get:

  • Graduates with computer degrees have the 2nd highest average starting salary, and the most likely to get a job offer when applying according to NACE. MoneyWatch agrees as well.
  • CareerCast named “Software Engineer” as the best job of 2012, using a combination of criteria, including work environment, income and stress. US News ranks it as second best.
  • According to Iowa Workforce Development, computer jobs ties with healthcare for the highest annual growth rate in the Des Moines area.

What have our students been doing recently while at Simpson College?

  • Projects
    • Students have created their own 3D animated movies, used a small embedded computer and sensors to control a small electric powered helicopter, developed their own iPhone applications, and constructed advanced, interactive web sites.
    • Seniors from computer science worked with art majors, business majors, education majors, and music majors to create three different computer games.
    • Students in the Computer Club build computers every year.
  • Presentations:
    • In 2010, a student paper on gene regulatory networks was selected to be presented at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.
    • Students presented their iPhone projects at Simpson’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.
  • Competitions:
    • In 2012 Simpson students placed 2nd out of 48 mid-western teams in a programming contest, and in 2011 we placed 5th and 9th out of 45 teams.
    • Many of our students participate in an international mathematical modeling contest to use their skills to address real-world problems, and see how their results compare against other students all over the world.
  • Internships:
    • One student has an internship doing classified work in Washington with the U.S. government that pays for his college and offers a stipend.
    • With Des Moines only twenty minutes away, many students have paid internships at companies close by.

Sampling of Recent Department Graduates

Patrick Carlson 2008 participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of New Mexico in summer 2007. Patrick started a Ph.D. program at Iowa State in 2008 in Human-Computer Interaction.

Bryce Klinker 2010 was recently promoted to Senior Developer at Pioneer, and is working on one of their highest priority projects responsible for billions of dollars in transactions. Pioneer is also helping pay for him to get his Master’s degree.

Carl Davidson 2010 presented a paper on gene regulatory networks at the Computer Sciences in Colleges conference in Kansas City; his work was selected to be presented at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C in 2010. Carl started a Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois in Ecological Modeling.

Brett Smithart 2011 did an internship with the National Security Agency as a student, and now works for the U.S. government.

Curriculum Powered in a Friendly State-of-the-Art Space

We offer a wide range of upper level courses covering such areas as operating systems, database systems, artificial intelligence, computer networking, and software engineering. These courses incorporate training in current programming languages and software development tools. Almost all courses in our curriculum include significant laboratory components where students are provided with supervised, hands-on experiences.

The small student-to-faculty ratio in our department makes it possible to provide a caring, friendly atmosphere and to give individual attention to each student. Our faculty are dedicated teachers and possess a variety of backgrounds, both academic and from industry. An Advisory Council consisting of practicing professionals and managers in information technology provide us with valuable advice and recommendations on employment trends and curriculum matters important in today’s world.

Simpson’s computer science facilities are attractive and well-equipped. They include instructional computer labs with dual monitors and a research/study lab reserved for departmental majors. New computer systems for these labs (desktops and servers) are purchased on a regular basis. Last year our computer club built two water-cooled computer systems, each of which was capable of handling multiple screens and multiple operating systems at the same time.

We are located 20 miles from 3,800 companies in the greater Des Moines area with terrific computer science internships. We invite you to come visit us and see for yourself!

Contact: Dr. Paul Craven paul.craven@simpson.edu 515-962-1135