Dakota State University
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Dakota State University: Leader in tech education

Dakota State University (DSU) has long been a centre for academic excellence, particularly in education and technology. Established in 1881, the university has evolved from its roots as a teacher training school to become a recognised leader in computer science and cybersecurity education.

One such student drawn to DSU’s unique offerings is Baby Vennela Kothakonda. Hailing from India, Kothakonda first earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science at another American university. This was when she developed an interest in the ever-evolving field of cybersecurity. This newfound passion propelled her towards further research and, ultimately, led her to Dakota State University for her graduate studies.

Dakota State University

Kothakonda aims to pursue a PhD in her field of study, a decision heavily influenced by her ongoing research and her educators’ unwavering support and motivation. Source: Dakota State University

“I am currently immersed in the MS in Computer Science,” she says. “The programme stands out to me, especially because of its comprehensive coursework and the diverse electives it offers.”

The programme’s tailored curriculum aligned with her passion for technology and cybersecurity, providing a platform to further refine her knowledge and skills in these specialised areas.

Through this programme, students benefit from both theoretical understanding and practical application. They delve into computer systems and computing fundamentals while focusing on real-world applications, preparing them to hit the ground running whether they return to the job market or pursue further study.

What’s more, the programme offers flexibility, allowing students to choose pre-designed specialisations such as Cyber Operations and Artificial Intelligence and tailor electives to their interests. DSU’s reputation as a leader in computer science at both undergraduate and graduate levels is further solidified by national recognition from federal agencies, making it a compelling choice for aspiring tech leaders like Kothakonda.

Another student, Basbo Ayelazono, a computer science undergraduate student, agrees. “The programme attracted me because of the opportunities I saw,” she says. “The research opportunities available for undergraduate students were uncommon in other schools. What’s more, The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences is known for its high job placement rate upon graduation, meaning a degree from here would be much respected.”

DSU’s BS in Computer Science programme equips you with a strong foundation in programming languages, data structures, algorithms, and operating systems, preparing you to tackle real-world challenges. You’ll gain experience with the latest software programmes, including DSUnix, Linux, Irix, Solaris, and Windows. State-of-the-art labs, data server rooms, and dedicated student spaces, coupled with advanced laptops and 3D printers provide a hands-on learning environment.

In fact, Ayelazono has acquired valuable skills for future job opportunities, including proficiency in C programming for database and game development and expertise in HTML, CSS, and Java for web page construction. “Next semester, I will be taking more in-depth courses like Data Structures, Object-Oriented Design, and Assembly Language, which are needed in my intended field of work in the future,” she says.

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Poudel chose Dakota State University after finding the college’s tech aspect extremely compelling. Source: Dakota State University

A BS in Artificial Intelligence is equally impactful. The programme offers a comprehensive foundation in both well-established and cutting-edge technical areas of artificial intelligence. Whether online or on campus, you will gain experience with diverse AI types, ranging from reactive systems to the theory of mind. The best part? Students get to apply what they learn in the classroom. Just ask Shishir Poudel. “I was involved in several experiential learning opportunities during my time,” he says. “One notable project involved applying microeconomics principles to analyse Slay the Spire, an advanced card game. Additionally, I created a similar card game in my CS class, which provided experience with programming and game development.”

Poudel is thankful for having such exposure as he believes it will help him later when he starts his business in the tech industry.

James Momoh, an MS in Data Analytics and Applied Artificial Intelligence student, also values the hands-on opportunities the programmes at DSU provide. “I was particularly drawn to the MS in Data Analytics and Applied Artificial Intelligence programme because of its practical focus and real-world applications, which align well with my career goals and learning style,” he says.

He enjoyed courses in predictive analysis and data mining, finding them “intriguing” for their insights into using data for informed decisions, which is essential in today’s data-driven world. Beyond that, Momoh is grateful for his educators, who have been supportive throughout his academic journey and readily available for any questions and help.

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James Momoh chose to pursue his master’s at Dakota State University because of the MS in Data Analytics programme and its affordability. Source: Dakota State University

Kothakonda echoes that sentiment. “Professor Jason Mixon has been pivotal in my academic development,” she says. “His support in addressing the challenges I faced in online coursework, and the constructive feedback on assignments, have been instrumental in my academic success, particularly in mastering the content and excelling in my studies.”

All of these programmes take place at The Beacom Institute of Technology, a launchpad for technological innovation. Students learn from some of the nation’s top authorities on preventing, detecting, and combating digital crime, with a focus on cybersecurity, ethical hacking, and cyber operations. They work in state-of-the-art facilities, classrooms, labs, and collaborative spaces designed specifically for cybersecurity and other tech-intensive programmes. When they graduate, these students are sought after. DSU has a 99.7% placement rate upon graduation.

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