Matthew Staten

Matthew Staten is one of the first graduates from OSU's new online computer science degree program. He will starting a job with Huron Consulting Group in July.

Just a year after inception, Oregon State’s online computer science professional degree program will graduate 23 students this Saturday.

The program is the first in the nation that can be completed in one year for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. It aims to align under- and unemployed workers with a growing computing job market. The program also supports Oregon’s high tech companies by providing employees that match their needs.

“We need to create new avenues for people to enter the field of computing and help grow our nation’s industries,” said Terri Fiez, head of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science who spearheaded the program in collaboration with Oregon State Ecampus.

The flexible structure of the online format offers an opportunity for individuals who can’t relocate and have to work around jobs and family commitments. The course work, delivered online through OSU’s Ecampus, is designed for people who do not have previous experience in computer science.

The program attracted more women than OSU’s on-campus computer science program (22 percent versus 10 percent) and individuals from a broad range of disciplines (45 percent from humanities and social sciences, 25 percent from science and math, 16 percent from business, and 14 percent from engineering).

Matthew Staten will be one of the program’s first graduates, and will be starting a job with Huron Consulting Group in Lake Oswego, Ore. in July. Staten’s first degree was in anthropology specializing in archaeology, which is currently a challenging job market.

“The online degree program allowed me to get a computer science degree in a short period of time and go from having several odd jobs unrelated to my degree, to starting a career,” Staten said.