C Programming Degree Program Options

Oct 20, 2019

Essential Information

Students who want to enroll in a program focused solely on C programming can pursue and undergraduate certificate. Some knowledge of programming may be required for admission to a certificate program and certificate-level credits can often be transferred towards an associate degree.

The C language is one of a few programming languages that may be covered in an associate program. Unlike certificate programs, general education coursework is part of the associate-level curriculum. Associate's degree graduates may also want to consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field to gain more advanced knowledge of the C language and enhance their employment prospects.

C Programming Certificates

The C programming language was developed in 1972 for software programs using UNIX-based operating systems. Since then, it has evolved through modifications for use with different operating systems. Numerous instructional books, online tutorials, and individual courses are available that focus on C.

Some colleges and universities offer formal training and skill assessment opportunities in the form of certificate programs, available through their extension or continuing education departments. Programs may incorporate classes in C and C-related languages for platforms using UNIX/Linux or Microsoft operating systems. Certificates can generally be obtained by taking 4-6 specific courses. Components of C language courses might include:

  • Structures and functions
  • C expressions
  • Input/output
  • Program statements
  • Strings
  • Data structures

Associate of Science in Computer Programming

An associate degree program provides students with a solid foundation of programming skills in several popular languages. Programs are typically two years in length and require courses in humanities, math, and social sciences as well as computer programming.

Most associate degree programs offer elective alternatives so that students can choose to concentrate on a particular type or application of programming. For example, C-based languages are commonly used for video game programming, and students may choose to augment their skills with courses in artificial intelligence and animation. Other courses include:

  • Introduction to computer programming
  • C++ programming
  • C# programming
  • Java programming
  • Visual Basic programming
  • Database management

Popular Career Options

An associate degree program in computer programming prepares students for entry-level jobs in many different industries that rely upon software programming for their success. Job opportunities are greatest for computer programmers who have superior skills and experience with current technologies. Graduates may find opportunities with:

  • Video game producers
  • Computer system designers
  • Software publishers
  • Banks
  • Insurance companies

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the demand for computer programmers was expected to decline 7% over the 2018-2028 decade in the United States, primarily due to outsourcing of labor to other countries. The BLS also reported that the average annual wage for computer programmers was $89,580 in May 2018.

Continuing Education Information

An associate degree program in computer programming provides the opportunity to acquire additional knowledge in software and hardware design, development and management. Coursework taken for a certificate program may apply toward an associate degree.

A bachelor's degree in computer information systems, computer science, or a related area provides advanced education for people who wish to work in the field beyond entry-level programming jobs. Graduates find employment as software developers, network administrators, and software engineers, to name just a few job titles.

Undergraduate students can gain proficiency in the C programming either by earning a certificate or by studying it as part of an associate's degree program. Graduates of either program may get an entry-level job, or they may choose to improve their computer skills through more advanced studies.

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