Computer Science

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 Real World


Successful Careers

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


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.
Central College student

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

Courses & Faculty

The computer science major is designed to be flexible, facilitating study abroad, 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 Computer Science in the course catalog.

Meet the faculty:

Robert Franks, B.S., M.S., Ph.D. Professor of Computer Science, interest areas include: operating systems, user interface design, computer security, digital photography, literature and running

Stephen Fyfe, B.A., M.S., Ph.D. Professor of Computer Science, interest areas include: object-oriented software development, introductory computer science and computer science topics for non-majors

Allen Hibbard, B.A., M.S., Ph.D. Professor of Mathematics/Computer Science, interest areas include: teaching abstract algebra and calculus using Mathematica, programming, genealogy

Mark Johnson, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Ruth & Marvin Denekas Endowed Chair in Science and Humanities and Professor of Mathematics/Computer Science, interest areas include: computer graphics, theory of computation and mathematical logic

Sample Schedule

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

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.

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.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad with one of Central’s international programs to enhance their development as global citizens, or with partner programs in Chicago, Washington, D.C. or New York City. Bangor University offers unique coursework opportunities for computer science majors, while a variety of internships are available through the London program. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.


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Learn More

Want to find out more about Computer Science at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.