At the associate's degree level, computer applications specialist programs teach students the basics of computer applications, with a focus on programming languages, system analysis, business software and database management. Students learn through a combination of classes and labs and can often gain hands-on experience through supervised internships. Most programs also require general education courses.
These two-year programs are offered at community colleges or technical schools. Applicants are required to have high school diplomas or the equivalent for admission.
Associate's in Computer Applications Specialist
Curriculum includes coursework and lab studies where students get hands-on experience with computers. In addition to learning to use computer software correctly, students also develop skills in mathematics, records management and communication. Possible courses topics include:
- Computer information systems
- LAN networking
- Java programming
- Internet basics
- Web construction
Popular Career Options
Graduates of this program have career options in various businesses, including jobs in educational, professional or industrial office settings. Possible career titles may include software technician support, software trainer, software support specialist, PC support specialist, and help desk technician.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected 12% employment growth for computer support specialists from 2014 to 2024. Computer user support specialists earned a median annual salary of $48,620 in 2015, while computer network support specialists earned $62,250, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Upon completion of this program, candidates can begin work in a business or office setting, or they may wish to pursue further studies. Individuals may specialize in specific areas of computer use, such as network support or network security. Additionally, they may pursue bachelor's degree programs in computer-related fields. Advancement and promotions often occur with work experience, continued training and professional certifications.
Certification can be obtained through certifying organizations or computer product vendors. Training programs may also offer courses that prepare students for certification in specific areas of study. For instance, this program may prepare students for Cisco or Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS) certifications, among others.
By providing a basic introduction to computers alongside a general education curriculum, associate's degree programs for computer applications specialists prepare students for entry-level employment in the information technology field. Many graduates choose to improve their job prospects by enrolling in a bachelor's degree program or earning professional certifications to demonstrate their skills.