Paths to a High Tech Career

Looking to break into the high tech sector? Whether you’re a high school senior thinking about the future, a late-career person looking for a change, or somewhere in the middle, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve compiled a starting place for you to start planning how to get one of the highest-paid starting wages in Montana. Check out the first steps you should be taking, institutions in Montana that can give you the skills you need, and advice based on where you’re coming from.

The first five steps to a high tech career, from any starting point

  1. Take coding or programming courses.
  2. Get experience through volunteering or interning.
  3. Write a program, and show it off.
  4. Build a website– for your employer, your cousin, or yourself.
  5. Network through organizations like the High Tech Business Alliance.

Code School or College?

There are pros and cons to choosing code school or college. You must carefully consider your own career goals and finances to decided which option is best for you.

Colleges offer the traditional four-year experience and the chance to take courses outside your chosen field of study. As many employers look for applicants with both technical and social skills, it’s well worth the consideration.

Code schools, however, tend to be cheaper but more intense. For example, a full-time semester at Montana Code School costs around $8,000 and qualifies students to be a Jr. Web Developer by its conclusion. It might take a few years to achieve that same qualification at a traditional university, which can end up costing three times the amount a code school will charge. However, the intense structure of these courses is a serious commitment and should not be understated. Check out some of the code schools in the Alliance:

Code Schools in Montana

Montana Code School

Montana Code School’s full-time immersive program gives you the skills and fundamentals you need to land a job as a full-stack Jr. Web Developer.

The full-time program runs for 12 weeks on a three semester rotation: Sept.-Dec., Feb.-Apr., May-Aug. Some scholarships are available, and the school boasts a 95% employment rate upon completion of the course. Tuition costs $8,000, and part-time classes are also available.

Locations: Missoula & Bozeman

Big Sky Code Academy

Learn full stack JavaScript and become a Web Developer in just 12 weeks. There are scholarships available, and Big Sky Code accepts GI Bill for tuition. Job offer guaranteed.

Full time classes run for 12 weeks, and part time courses run for 21 weeks. Tuition costs $7,500 for full-time in-person or online classes.

Locations: Billings, Bozeman, Missoula, and online options.

Dawson Software School

Dawson Community College is partnering with Bottega to bring Dawson Software School to Eastern Montana.

For 12 weeks, students live and breathe code. The full time course requires as much attention and dedication as possible. Students can expect to attend remotely from 9:00 – 5:00 Monday through Friday. Class consists of teacher instruction, video content, and student interaction. There is homework assigned and projects that will be worked on throughout the curriculum.

Location: Glendive

Certificates, Associates, and Traditional Four-Year Programs

While this is not meant to be a comprehensive list, check out some of the options for high-tech study in Montana.


Montana State University-Billings offers courses in Business Administration, Finance, Information Systems, Computer Science, Automotive Technology, Computer Desktop/Network Support, Computer Programming & Application Development, Computer Systems Technology, Construction Management, Diesel Technology, Energy Technician, Process Plant Technology, Radiologic Technology, Sustainable Energy Technician, Welding/Metal Fabrication Technology, and Welding for Energy Technology.

MSUB offers a number of online programs including Accounting, Accounting Technology, Business Administration, Medical Coding and Insurance Billing, Marketing, and Public Relations.

MSUB also offers a Craft Brewing and Fermentation program which would make a nice addition to any program.


Montana State University offers courses in Agricultural Business, Biotechnology, Business Administration, Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Industrial Technology, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Construction Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering, Financial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Aerospace, and Mechatronics.

Gallatin College is a two-year college designed to provide an accessible student-centered education. Programs include Business Management, CNC Machining Technology, Design Drafting Technology, Health Information Coding, Network Technology, Photonics and Laser Technology, and Welding Technology.


Highlands College-Montana Tech offers courses in Business and Accounting Technology, Aerospace Welding, Automotive Technology, Civil Engineering Technology, Construction Technology, Drafting Technology, Metals Fabrication Technology, Web Development and Administration.

Montana Tech of UM offers courses in Business & Information Technology, Computer Science, Data Science, Healthcare Informatics, Network Technology, Software Engineering, , Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Geological Engineering, Geophysical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgical & Materials Engineering, Mining Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Industrial Hygience, Mineral Processing, Project Engineering & Management, Welding Engineering,

Flathead Valley

Among the traditional Business Administration, Computer Science, and Economics programs, Flathead Valley Community College offers courses in Geospatial Technology, Programming and Game Development, Medical Coding, Entrepreneurship, Information Technology, Support Professional, Radiologic Technology, Surgical Technology, Engineering, Graphic Design, Web Technology, and a number of occupational trades including Advanced Manufacturing and Welding & Fabrication Technology.

Salish Kootenai College in Pablo offers courses in Business Management, Engineering, Highway Construction Training, Hydrology, Information Technology, Media Design, Office Professions, and Workforce Development.


The University of Montana offers the traditional four-year college experience and programs, such as Business Administration, but it also offers courses in the following: Social Media Management, Business programs including , Computer Science, Management Information Systems, Media Arts.

University of Montana – Missoula College offers Associate’s Degree for the following: Accounting Technology, Entrepreneurship, Information Technology, Medical Information Technology, Radiologic Technology, Surgical Technology, Sustainable Construction, Welding Technology

Missoula College also offers certificates for Accounting Information Systems, Big Data Analytics, Business Media Design, Computer Programming, Computer Support, Construction Management, Cybersecurity, Digital Marketing, Electronics Technology, Energy Technology, Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management, GIS Sciences and Technologies, Health Information Technology, Pharmacy Technology, Recycling Technology, Sales and Marketing, Sustainable Construction, Welding Technology,


Box Elder- Stone Child College, Information Systems, General Business, Accounting/Information Management

Browning- Blackfeet Community College, Accounting, Business Management, Computer Information Systems, Construction Technology

Crow Agency- Little Big Horn College, Business Administration, Information Systems, Welding Technology & Fabrication

Dillon- University of Montana-Western, Business & Technology

Great Falls- Great Falls College-Montana State University, Accounting, Business Administration and Fundamentals, Computer Assistant, Computer Network Infrastructure, CIT courses, Computer Programming, Electronics Technician, Graphic Design, Health Information Coding and Technology, Industrial Technician, Machinist Technician, Medical Billing and Coding Specialist, Welding Technology & Fabrication.

Glendive- Dawson Community College, Agribusiness Technology, Business Management, Engineering Technology, Music Technology, Welding Technology.

Harlem- Aaniiih Nakoda College, Business

Havre- Montana State University-Northern, Agricultural Mechanics and Operations Technology, Business Administration and Technology, Graphic Design, Automotive Technology, Marketing, Computer Information Systems, Diesel Technology, Design Drafting Technology, Civil Engineering Technology, Electrical Technology, Plumbing Technology, Welding Technology

Helena- Helena College-University of Montana, Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Business Administration, Hybrid Vehicle Service Technology, Aviation Maintenance Technology, Computer-Aided Manufacturing, Network Administration, Programming, Computer Skills Specialist, Welding Technology

Lame Deer- Chief Dull Knife College, Business Management

Miles City- Miles Community College, Agribusiness, Business, Information Technology, Graphic and Web Design

Poplar- Fort Peck Community College, Business Administration, Biomedical Science, Environmental Technology & Compliance


For High School Students

Are you a high school junior or senior starting to think about the best route to a high-paying tech job? Consider combining technical skills with soft skills. Employers are always looking for technically-savvy employers with people skills.

If you’re looking at studying the liberal arts, it wouldn’t hurt to bolster your resume with a couple of technical classes. Take a coding class or learn how to shoot and edit video. Many employers are looking for people who can produce content and be personable. Try to do a bit of both. Double major, or get a minor if you’d like. Many large universities also offer certificate programs.

Code schools like Montana Code School, Big Sky Code Academy, and ikuw Solutions offer cost-efficient options. See above.

For College Students

Start thinking of ways to market yourself. Consider the following:

  • Minor in computer science, marketing, or business
  • Attend career fairs
  • Take coding courses at Montana Code School, Big Sky Code Academy, or ikuw Solutions
  • Network through organizations like MHTBA
  • Find internships related to your work interests
  • Join clubs related to your work interests
  • Add liberal arts courses like communication, sociology, or literary analysis to a tech major
  • Add technical skills like web design, data analytics, or audio/video production to a liberal arts major
  • Check regularly for open positions and internships that will help you gain experience.

For Mid-Career Transitions

Thinking of shifting careers, but not sure how? Consider enrolling at your local code school to strengthen your resume. Many educational institutions also offer certificate programs, which can be less demanding in terms of time commitment and coursework. See the list above for some options.


For veterans:

Check out our Veterans Resources page.

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