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Career Info for a Computer Programming Degree

Computer programming is generally a hands-on field. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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A computer programmer can work for various companies, as many have computers and online databases. As job growth in this field is declining, those who are certified in different programming languages with at least a bachelor's degree will have the best job prospects.

Essential Information

Through a hands-on learning environment, bachelor's degree-level computer programming students learn to design programs, as well as debug and troubleshoot computer systems. Some schools offer computer science degree programs with concentrations in computer programming. Specific classes might include instruction in database applications, object-oriented programming, spreadsheet applications and a variety of programming languages, including HTML, Java, SQL, C++ and Visual Basic. Computer programming courses may also be offered through distance learning. In addition to earning degrees, computer programmers may obtain certifications in their area of specialty. Certifications are typically offered through software and computer vendors.

Career title Computer programmer Computer systems analyst
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -8% 21%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $79,530 $85,800

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Completing a degree or certification in computer programming can prepare students for careers as computer systems programmers or computer systems analysts. Educational requirements may vary from employer to employer. Some companies require their computer programmers to hold bachelor's degrees, while certificate and 2-year programs may suffice in other jobs. Read on for overviews of some career options, as well as occupational outlook and salary details.

Computer Programmer

Every application and operating system has a programmer behind it. Computer programmers design, modify and assess the codes and scripts used to make computer applications work. They may also assist software developers in determining a user's needs and creating the appropriate software. Computer programmers may also develop programs used in document and data retrieval.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment of computer programmers is expected to decline by 8% between 2014 and 2024. This employment prediction, which is below the average rate for all jobs, stems in part from the trend of businesses hiring foreign workers. The BLS also reports the median annual salary for computer programmers in May 2015 was $79,530.

Computer Systems Analyst

Computer systems analysts assess a company's existing IT infrastructure and its computer needs to reconcile the two. They may take on a project management role that includes overseeing the installation of new or upgraded systems, or a training role, making sure that employees know how to utilize new systems to improve work processes.

According to the BLS, jobs in this field are expected to increase 21% from 2014 to 2024. The median salary for this occupation was $85,800 in May 2015.

A bachelor's or associate's degree in computer programming is the minimum for these professionals, and certification can be useful. Computer programmers may wish to specialize in an area specific to the industry they desire to work in. Besides being a computer programmer, individuals with this degree can also become computer systems analysts.

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