Computer Science

Students using computer

Are you interested in becoming a computer programmer, web designer or network administrator? Central College offers a broad range of computer science courses where students gain experience working with programming languages such as Python, Java, C++ and PHP, to become well prepared for immediate employment or graduate programs. Past graduates have gone on to become application developers, network administrators, systems analysts, web programmers and software engineers.

of the last 5 years' grads accepted jobs or entered grad school within three months of graduation
The 2019 college salary report lists computer science as the no. 2 major for salary potential
of Computer Science grads in the last 5 years had at least one internship or summer research experience in their field before graduation

The Central Difference

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Many computer science alumni have gone on to start their own companies, and with Des Moines’ recent growth in startups, students have direct access to these highly entrepreneurial environments for internships and job offers after graduation. Central offers an entrepreneurship minor for anyone interested in developing his or her own startup.

Mark Johnson

Title: Ruth & Marvin Denekas Endowed Chair in Science and Humanities and Professor of Mathematics/Computer Science
Book: “A Concise Introduction to Programming in Python”
Advice for students: Learn about business and entrepreneurship at Central, too.

Research Opportunities

All students complete an independent project of their choice in the senior project course. Honors students are encouraged to expand their senior work into senior honors theses.

Technical Communication

Central has a long history of developing communication skills in its graduates. Central's computer science majors are known for their ability to write and speak clearly about technical material.

Alumni Connections

Central alumni stay in touch and are available to help current students find their career path through internships and jobs.


Central’s Vermeer Science Center was awarded the silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the United States Green Building Council, the first LEED-rated building in the state. Students have direct access to classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and presentation technology.

Off-Campus Experiences

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • Ashley Robbins ’23, Software Engineer, Vermeer Corporation
  • Melissa Smith ’16, programmer, Rain and Hail Insurance
  • Blake Rozendaal ’15, web application developer, IBS, Inc.
  • Nick Lutsch ’15, software developer, CMMS Data Group
  • Daniel Stumme ’13, programmer, C.H. Robinson
  • Jordan Foreman ’13, lead developer, Men’s Style Lab
  • David Ziemann ’12, web developer, GlobalVetLINK
  • Corey Oliver ’10, software engineer, Dwolla, Wichita
  • Sean Clark ’00, cloud solution architect, Microsoft, Bloomington
  • Tej Dhawan ’91, partner, Formation Partners

PPI Presents Gift to Central College

PPI makes donation to Central College to develop decision science curriculum for students.


The mathematics and computer science department regularly organizes social activities for its students. No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group for you! Learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central.

Graduate Placement

82% of computer science students who apply to graduate school are admitted to a program of their choice.

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of Iowa
  • Iowa State University


Internships in computer science are abundant for a variety of positions in a wide range of companies.

  • Principal Financial Group
  • Alliance Technology
  • Advanced Technology Group
  • Vermeer Corporation
Central College student

Courses & Faculty

The computer science major is designed to be flexible, facilitating off-campus experiences, internships and second majors or minors. Introductory courses in Python and Java lay the foundation for a software design course in the second year. After taking these courses, students are prepared for a variety of upper-level required courses and electives. The senior year culminates in a senior project of your choice.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

  • Stephen Fyfe, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science
  • Erik Insko, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science
  • Michael Thompson, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Computer Science
  • Wendy Weber, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics

Sample Coursework

First Year

  • Introduction to Computer Science
  • Data Structures
  • Calculus I

Sophomore Year

  • Discrete Structures
  • Software Design
  • Computer science elective courses

Junior Year

  • Computer Organization and Architecture
  • Algorithms
  • Computer science elective courses
  • Mathematics elective

Senior Year

  • Senior project
  • Computer science elective courses


Learn More

Want to find out more about Computer Science at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.


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