New computer science degree links Fresno Pacific University with tech demand

A new degree at Fresno Pacific University will respond to the Valley’s demand for educated information systems professionals.

The Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems begins in January 2017. One exciting feature is that classes will be at Bitwise Industries, the downtown Fresno tech hub that is a center of technical development in the Valley, giving students contact with entrepreneurs and innovators while they learn. The degree is also part of the bachelor’s degree completion program, so working adults with some college can earn a four-year degree while balancing work and family responsibilities. Groups of students, known as cohorts, proceed through the program together for mutual learning and support.

Classes meet one evening per week, and the 15 courses (39 units) required for the major are designed to be completed in three consecutive semesters, or 18 months. The curriculum comes from conversations with industry leaders and focuses on communication skills and practical applications. “Professionals must know how to develop information technology solutions, how to work with other people, how to communicate their ideas and how to communicate with a customer,” said program director Simon Sultana, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science and information systems.

Technology is a fast-growing employment area, and demand in the Central Valley is projected to grow as much as 40 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/aspdotnet/SupportPage/AllOccPrj.aspx?soccode=151121). “With this degree, graduates can begin employment in computer systems analysis, information and systems management, web development, and database administration,” Sultana said. “In addition, leadership and ethical development is central to all FPU programs, so people are prepared for careers.”

To start the program, candidates need at least 60 transferable units from a community college, four-year college or university with a grade-point average of at least 2.4 on a four-point scale and two years of work or other experience after high school. For more information, contact Stephen Woods at stephen.woods@fresno.edu or 209-354-5814.