University of Puget Sound in Top 20 “Best Colleges for Getting a Job in Tech”

September 17, 2015

MSN’s IT Insider ranks U.S. colleges that give students the
best chance of getting a job in technology

– University of Puget Sound has been named among the Top 20 American “Best Colleges for Getting a Job in Tech,” by MSN’s IT Insider technology section.

The Tacoma-based liberal arts college, which is home to a popular mathematics and computer science department, rated highly on several academic and career-readiness factors, and particularly strongly in “average salary of computer science graduates,” which the survey put at $110,000 a year.

The national recognition follows Puget Sound’s naming in the Top 20 Most Entrepreneurial Colleges, by Forbes magazine this summer. In both lists, Puget Sound was the only school selected in the Pacific Northwest.

The Top 20 Best Colleges for Getting a Job in Tech list (created by data firm Graphiq) includes schools such as California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Duke, and Cornell universities, among others.

 “With our liberal arts focus, we teach students not only technical skills such as how to write code and perform data analysis, but also how to communicate complicated ideas,” said Mike Spivey, professor and chair of Puget Sound’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. “This is an important ability for someone working in the technology sector, and I think our focus on it helps set us apart from many larger institutions. We're also located in the Seattle metro area, an important technology center.”

The Puget Sound region is home to or a base for companies including Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Hitachi Consulting, Twitter, Uber, LinkedIn, Netflix, Adobe, EBay, Expedia, and others. Puget Sound graduates majoring in many disciplines often serve in internships during their studies and are regularly headhunted by regional companies.

The ranking of colleges and universities offering computer science or computer engineering took into account the following criteria:

  • a holistic Smart Rating system, which is based on a school’s financial affordability, career readiness, admissions selectivity, and academic excellence, plus outside expert opinion
  • the percentage of students studying computer science or computer engineering
  • the reported salary of students who graduated with degrees in computer science or computer engineering
  • the amount of funding the school received from the National Science Foundation for computer science projects and research.

The rankings were done using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Education, with 2014 salary information from PayScale. The assessment was handled by the education research website StartClass, which runs rankings on educational institutions using a large proprietary database and search engine.

Puget Sound’s mathematics and computer science department offers a lively program of classes and co-curricular activities, such as weekly public seminars, summer research opportunities, and participation in the Student Chapter for the Association for Computing Machinery and the national Putnam mathematics competition for college students. Female students in the department also run a college group supporting women in computer science that aims to affiliate with the ACM’s Women in Computing national body.

University of Puget Sound is an independent national liberal arts college, with more than three-quarters of its students coming from out of state or overseas; a 12:1 student to faculty ratio; and an engaged and welcoming faculty, the vast majority of whom hold the highest degree in their field.  

Press photos of University of Puget Sound can be downloaded from

Photos on page: Top right: A computer science class at Puget Sound; Above left: Puget Sound students work outdoors on their laptops. Photos by Ross Mulhausen.

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