Computer programming education is offered through an Associate in Occupational Science (AOS) program at some for-profit schools. Study in this subject is more commonly offered through Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs at nonprofit institutions. In addition to learning about basic computer programming, students gain hands-on training through internships and cooperative education experiences.
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Associate of Occupational Science in Computer Programming
A student who pursues an associate's degree in computer programming can acquire skills in programming, systems analysis and design. Students in these programs can also learn various computer programming languages and become familiar with Microsoft products, such as Access and Excel. Students may become familiar with such subjects as Cisco, networking essentials, C++ programming, and Java programming as well as the following subjects:
- Visual Basic
- Microcomputer diagnostics
- Data structures
- Unix/Linux programming
Popular Career Options
Graduates of computer programming associate's degree programs can use their knowledge of computer technology to obtain entry-level employment in a variety of settings where the operation and management of computer programs is necessary. An associate's degree program could qualify an individual to obtain work as a computer programmer, but employers may give preference to candidates with bachelor's degrees. Additional career titles could include:
- System technician
- Computer operator
- Database specialist
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that computer programmers received median annual earnings of $79,530 in May 2015, and employment in this field is projected to decline by 8% over the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). The median annual pay for computer user support specialists was $49,620 in May 2015, and 13% growth for this profession is expected during the 2014-2024 period.
Continuing Education Information
After earning an associate's degree, graduates may pursue relevant bachelor's degrees in subjects like computer science, software engineering or computer information systems. Graduates of bachelor's degree programs may be better qualified to become programmers or to enter administrative positions. Industry certification can be obtained through software product vendors and may help a professional in this field prove competency to a prospective employer.
Students who earn an AOS, AS or AAS in Computer Programming receive a comprehensive introduction in computer programming and computer science. This education is enough for entry-level jobs, and it can also provide a foundation for further studies or professional certification in the field.