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Technology at its Best: Utah State Universities

"This is the place!" to be, according to Utah's state song, which students at Utah state universities undoubtedly become familiar with by the time they graduate. And if you're a computer whiz hoping to turn your techie skills into a prosperous career, then consider attending Neumont University (South Jordan, UT), which boasts one of the most innovative and effective computer science programs out of all the universities in Utah, as well as in the entire country.

A few years ago, under the direction of IBM and JP Morgan Chase, Neumont University executives developed a new program to teach and train the future leaders of the Information Technology (IT) world. This year, 98 percent of the school's graduating seniors were secured a job prior to graduation, and the average starting salary for Neumont grads is $61,400.

To get an idea of why this program is so different from anything offered at other Utah universities, we spoke with Julie Blake, senior vice president of enrollment at Neumont University.

To begin with, says Blake, the school has implemented a unique structure to the program. Instead of four years of study, broken into two semesters each year, the bachelor of science in computer science (BSCS) program at Neumont consists of nine nine-week "quarters" and a final five-week quarter, with a three-week break in between each quarter. And, course content is specifically geared toward preparing students for a successful career in IT.

"Neumont University is addressing the critical skills gap that exists between what traditional colleges and universities provide computer science graduates, and what employers actually require," she says. "All computer science projects and coursework are designed to provide graduates with a strong foundation in technical skills and standards, an understanding of the business environment, and the ability to communicate and function well as members of a team."

Blake also attributes the school's close ties to employers with the outstanding success rate of their graduating class. "Employer partners are invited to campus each quarter to interview and hire [soon-to-be] graduates, thus providing students with a rich array of employment opportunities prior to graduation," she explains.

In addition to Neumont's cutting-edge program, Utah universities have a history rich in IT, considering that they are located in the birth state of programs like WordPerfect, Novell, Megahertz, and MyFamily.com. Oh, and if you happen to end up at Neumont University, warm up your vocals, because you'll also have a shot at becoming the "South Jordan Idol." Anyone between the ages of 15 and 30 is eligible to contend in this American Idol-esque competition, including, of course, students at Utah state universities.

Aside from technological treasures and musical opportunities, students at Utah state universities are surrounded by some of the best ski and snowboarding resorts. So, if applying to Utah colleges and universities is something that's been on your mind, trust your instincts and find out more.

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