A 2-year associate's degree program in computer programming gives students a firm foundation for a future in the information technology industry. Curriculum includes courses in basic computer science principles, database programming and complex programming languages, like Java or C++. Students must successfully create and write a computer program prior to graduation.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and a basic understanding of computer operating systems and keyboarding. Many schools provide students with access to computer labs, but recommend that students invest in their own computer systems.
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Associate of Applied Science in Programming
Students in these programs learn primarily through hands-on sessions in computer laboratories. Example lecture topics include:
- Introduction to computer science
- Principles of networking
- Operating systems
- Information security
- Introduction to programming and logic
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Computer programmers are employed by computer systems design companies, software publishers, and individual businesses and corporations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, programmers held 328,600 jobs in 2014. Employment for the profession is expected to decline 8% from 2014 to 2024. In May 2015, computer programmers made a median annual salary of $79,530.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of an associate's degree program in computer programming might choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, such as computer information systems. These programs sometimes offer a programming emphasis. After completing a bachelor's program, students might continue their education even further through a master's or doctoral program in computer science.
Certification is not required for computer programmers, but it is desired by many employers. Professionals in the field can seek out certification from a variety of software companies and product vendors specializing in programming software. Some businesses are interested in hiring computer programmers who are certified to work with a particular product.
Associate's programs in computer programming explore fundamental IT topics, with a particular focus on programming skills. Graduates are prepared to work as programmers, though they can also pursue bachelor's degrees, which may boost their career prospects. Voluntary certification is another option for associate's-degree holders.