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Computer Science

The Computer Science program strikes a balance between theory and application. You will learn about real-life networking environments so you can be immediately productive when you graduate. You will enter the job market ready and prepared to take on a wide variety of information technology roles.

Western Dakota Technical College Public Virtual Cisco Academy

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Degree Description

The four-semester Associate of Applied Science degree program combines lecture with hands-on experience so you apply classroom theory to real-world problems. Students also can choose a two-semester diploma option.

The Computer Science program strikes a balance between theory and application. Students will learn about real-life networking and security environments, making them immediately productive upon graduation and prepared to take on a variety of information technology (IT) roles.

The first year builds a solid foundation of basic hands-on computer skills and networking concepts. The second year challenges students to learn to adapt and react to the changing world of computers. Deeper networking concepts are introduced, including security, administration of complex networks, and programming skills. The emphasis of coursework will be based on preparing students for CompTIA, Cisco CCNA, and Microsoft certification testing. The Computer Science program partners with Cisco Academy, Red Hat Academy, and Palo Alto Academy which give students access to free training courses and certifications.

Students also will be prepared to continue learning and advancing within the field, allowing them to work within an organization to apply networking to business strategy, tactics, and goals. 

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Application Process

1. Complete Western Dakota Technical College Admissions Application
2. Complete the ACCUPLACER test ($15 fee)
3. Schedule your Admissions Advising Session
4. Provide an official copy of a High School transcript or GED scores. If you graduated from an international high school, you must submit your transcript to Educational Credential Evaluators to determine U.S. equivalence. Additionally, an official transcript must be submitted if you have attended other post-secondary institutions or universities.
5. Submit Immunization Records verifying two doses of MMR vaccinations
6. Once you receive your acceptance letter, schedule a time to register for classes

The ACCUPLACER test will be waived if you have an ACT sub-score of 18 or better in English, Math, and Reading.  To waive the ACCUPLACER with SAT scores a student will need a 500 on the MATH subsection of ACT and a composite of 970 to waive Writing and Reading. To place into MATH 114 a student will need a 520 on the MATH subsection.  

Please call 605-718-2565 to make an appointment.

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Career Description

Computer Science specialists work with every employee in an organization as well as outside personnel to provide a stable computing environment. As support personnel, specialists give advice to users by interpreting problems and providing technical support for hardware, software, and networks. Technicians troubleshoot hardware and software errors, add new equipment, and install, configure, and troubleshoot problems. They also create, secure, and maintain networks of all types.

A typical job description for a computer science specialist would generally include working in an office environment.  The job is often performed alone, and the specialist must possess strong troubleshooting and technical skills, including strong math skills.  Conversely, the specialist must also work with users who are not comfortable with the system or who are experiencing difficulties, this the requirement for strong communication skills.

Configuring a network can require long hours of work in a short period of time.  Maintaining the network can alternate between routine tasks to install, maintain, and update programs, as well as the hectic work of troubleshooting and fixing network problems.  If a network crashes, the specialist must work quickly and purposefully to solve problems and restore the network operation.

In addition, the task of updating and maintaining network services can require late hours and work on an irregular schedule.  The IT worker must also be prepared to maintain related technology within an organization, including audio-visual equipment, televisions, phones, and cabling infrastructure.  Physical duties may include climbing and working using ladders, installing cabling, moving computers and related equipment, and installing equipment.

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Virtual Tour Computer Science Server Lab

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General Education EMT

After Earning Your Degree

Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Computer science specialists are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. Computer science specialists work with the physical computer networks of a variety of organizations and therefore are employed in many industries. Employment of computer science specialists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for information technology workers is high and should continue to grow as firms invest in newer, faster technology and mobile networks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2023, the average wage for a Network Support Specialist in western South Dakota was $51,970. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2023, the average wage for a User Support Specialist in western South Dakota was $48,680. 

Meet Your Faculty

Western Dakota Technical College has a low student-to-faculty ratio, meaning more one-on-one learning. Individual attention from your professor can make your college experience more fulfilling.

  • John Geiman

  • Matthew Pawelski

  • Bryon Christian

Financial Aid

Continuing your education is crucial and Western Dakota Technical College wants to make sure that any student who wants to attend school, has the opportunity to do so. For this reason, WDTC is dedicated to administering the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IV Financial Assistance Program fair and consistently to anyone who needs it.

Build Dakota Scholarships

The Build Dakota Scholarship at Western Dakota Technical College will pay all your tuition and fees and prepare you for a career that is in-demand and growing in South Dakota. Build Dakota Scholarships will be awarded to students entering high-need workforce programs at South Dakota’s technical institutes to fill the state’s technical careers with skilled professionals.

Student Housing

Finding affordable housing during school can be a challenge for students. Western Dakota Technical College currently does not have on-campus housing, but partners with a Rapid City VRBO to offer a limited number of apartments for full-time students in the fall and spring semesters.

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Child Care

Finding child care during school is a challenge for many students. Western Dakota Technical College currently does not offer on-campus child care, but here are some resources that may help you in your search.

Youth & Family Services is an organization dedicated to helping children in Western South Dakota. They offer a variety of services, including child care at multiple locations.

The Y of Rapid City offers child care and other services.

Disclaimer: Western Dakota Technical College provides these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation, endorsement or adoption by Western Dakota Technical College of any site or any information contained therein. When you leave, you should be aware that our terms and policies no longer govern. Western Dakota Technical College makes no claim or representation regarding, and accepts no responsibility for, the quality, content, nature or reliability of third-party websites or vendors.

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