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December 8, 2020

UMPI launches undergrad computer science program

college kids at computers Courtesy / University of Maine at Presque Isle UMPI's new program seeks to prepare students for a wide range of careers, from software engineer and programmer to security analyst, data scientist and network administrator.

The University of Maine at Presque Isle has launched an undergraduate degree program in computer science aimed at giving students a running start in that fast-growing professional field.

The school set up the new bachelor of science program via a federal grant received last fall from the U.S. Department of Education Title III Strengthening Institutions Program.

The grant is for $2.25 million over the course of five years and allows UMPI to create bachelor’s programs in computer science as well as health administration, and develop stronger career readiness and experiential learning offerings for students.

Students majoring in computer science will learn about algorithms and data structure, computer architecture, cloud computing and machine learning. There will also be courses in game development, advanced programming, and software testing, and students can train in the new instructional lab to solve real-world tech problems.

A spokesman for UMPI told Mainebiz on Tuesday that while there are only a few students in the new program right now, the plan is to have 10 to 12 students next year.

"We are so pleased to be providing our students with greater access to high-demand degree programs like computer science," UMPI President Raymond Rice said in a news release. "This will not only help us to better meet the workforce needs of our region and state, but also provide our students with new avenues for prosperous careers."

In a September 2019 "On the Record" interview with Mainebiz, Rice said that one of his goals was to ensure the school has programs to meet workforce needs, both in The County and nationwide.

He also said that UMPI would continue to work with the University of Maine at Fort Kent and with Northern Maine Community College, to ensure we have good synergies, adding, "We really need to work together to meet workforce needs and keep the community vibrant."

UMPI said its new computer science program aims to prepare students for a wide range of careers, from software engineer and programmer to security analyst, data scientist and network administrator. In addition, activities with the new Computer Science Club will prepare members for specific certification opportunities, including Certified Security Analyst and Certified Ethical Hacker.

Computer science students have the opportunity to learn in a highly functional space equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Folsom Hall 101B received a $100,000 transformation, including renovations and new technologies, to become a new computer science teaching lab.

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