Associates Degree in Computer Programming Overview

Associate's degree programs in computer programming are generally offered at community colleges, and they may also be offered through distance learning. Along with courses in programming languages, students will learn about operating systems, networking, software maintenance, databases, and data management.

Essential Information

2-year associate's degrees prepare graduates to work directly in the field of computer programming and/or to transfer to a related 4-year program. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate of Science or an Associate of Applied Science, and they may go on to pursue certification in various programming languages or operating systems.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma
  • Online Availability: Common
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Other Requirements: Capstone project

Associate's Degree in Computer Programming

A high school diploma or the equivalent is usually required for admission. The curriculum typically includes courses that teach students to write computer programs and maintain computer functions. In addition to coursework, students may spend extensive lab time gaining hands-on training with computers. Participants may be required to write computer programs from design to completion as capstone experiences. Topics of study may include:

  • Java programming
  • Computer networking and data structure
  • Programming and logic
  • Systems analysis and design
  • Computer security and servicing
  • Linux operating system

Popular Career Options

Computer programming graduates can write computer programs for a variety of purposes. Some common career titles include:

  • Computer programmer
  • Programmer analyst
  • Web developer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Computer programmer employment is projected to increase 8% over the 2012-2022 decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for programmers in May 2014 was $77,550. The BLS also reported a faster-than-average 20% growth rate for web developers over the 2012-2022 period. Median annual earnings for web developers in May 2014 were $63,490.

Continuing Education and Certification Info

Employers may prefer to hire computer programmers who have completed bachelor's degrees, although an associate's degree is often sufficient, especially when combined with work experience and professional certifications. Some positions, however, may require completion of a relevant bachelor's degree program in areas such as information systems or computer science.

Certification can demonstrate an individual's knowledge and skill, while also being a bonus on a job resume. Candidates can obtain certification through many software and product vendors, and some training programs offer courses that also prepare students for certification examinations.

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