Associates Degree in Computer Programming Overview

Oct 21, 2019

Students who want to study computer programming at the associate's degree level can earn an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in the field. Find out more about these programs and future options for graduates.

Essential Information

Two-year AS and AAS programs in computer programming are generally offered at community colleges, and they may also be offered online through distance learning. Along with courses in programming languages, students will learn about operating systems, networking, software maintenance, databases and data management. Prior to graduation, students may be required to write computer programs from design to completion as capstone experiences. A high school diploma or the equivalent is usually required for admission.

Associate's Degree in Computer Programming

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. 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

Graduates are prepared for entry-level work in the computer programming field. Some common career titles include:

  • Computer programmer
  • Programmer analyst
  • Web developer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Computer programmer employment is projected to decline 7% over the 2018-2028 decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, The median annual salary for programmers in May 2018 was $84,280. The BLS also reported a much-faster-than-average 13% growth rate for web developers over the 2018-2028 period. Median annual earnings for web developers in May 2018 were $69,430.

Continuing Education and Certification Info

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

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.

Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming degree programs provide aspiring programmers with the technical skills and general education they need for entry-level jobs or to pursue professional certifications or bachelor's degrees in related subjects.

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