Career Information for a Degree in General Computer Programming

Computer programming is usually offered as a four-year degree program. Continue reading for an overview of the program, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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A degree in computer programming opens the door to various career options as many industries need these professionals, although many industries are hiring overseas workers for cheaper pay. Degree levels range from an associate's to a master's.

Essential Information

Computer programmers work in a variety of industries, including information technology, networking and computer software. Individuals interested in this career typically earn a bachelor's degree in computer programming or a related major, though associate's and master's degrees are also available. Individuals with specific skill sets may have better employment outlooks.

Career Title Computer Programmer
Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% decline
Median Salary (2015)* $79,530

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for a Computer Programming Degree

Computer programmers are individuals who help create computer systems and operations. O*Net Online states that they may develop codes, forms and scripts that were created by software developers (www.onetonline.org). They may also perform routine duties, such as providing technical support, making repairs or testing new programs. Additionally, O*Net indicates that computer programmers may make improvements to existing programs so that they will perform specific tasks. Aside from working with software developers, they often interact with engineers and technicians.

Computer programmers may operate under different job titles, including program analysts and applications developers. Some positions require individuals to be knowledgeable in specific programming languages, such as Python or Java. Computer programmers may become certified in one or more of these languages.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for computer programmers are expected to decrease by eight percent from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS indicates that prospects will be best for those who are well-versed in the latest technology and have expertise in a number of different programming languages.

Salary Information

In May 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for a computer programmer was $79,530, while individuals in the 90th percentile and above earned more than $130,800 per year. The BLS indicates that at that time, the computer systems design industry employed the highest number of programmers and paid a mean annual salary of $84,370.

Computer Programming Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs in computer programming include introductory coursework in networks, database management and operating systems. More advanced courses in security and programming may also be required. Some programs offer courses in a specific form of programming, while others may offer concentrations in a programming language or web development. General education requirements typically include basic sciences and calculus.

The BLS states that computer programmers may earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems. These programs contain coursework that's similar to an associate's curriculum, but also offer advanced coursework in data structures, computer algorithms and user interface. In addition to the core curriculum, students are required to complete mathematical coursework, such as differential equations, statistical reasoning or discrete mathematics. Some programs include business management coursework.

A computer programmer has a number of different jobs at their disposal. They can work with information technology, computer software, and networking, among other fields. Knowledge of various programming languages and a bachelor's degree at minimum are often required.

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