Online Programming Certifications and Certificates

Find out about online computer programming courses and in which certificate programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Undergraduate computer programming certificate programs are useful for individuals who want to learn about multiple programming languages at a basic level. These programs can be completed entirely online, with no requirement to physically attend campus. Hybrid computer programming undergraduate certificate programs are also available. Graduate certificates in Java programming can be earned fully online as well.

It should be noted that certificate programs themselves do not lead directly to certification. Certification in a programming language is typically offered through separate organizations, such as software vendors. Students interested in obtaining certification can verify whether or not a certificate program will qualify them to sit for a certification examination before enrolling.

Undergraduate Certificate in Computer Programming

A computer programming certificate provides individuals with a basic understanding of programming, along with a general introduction to computer science. Students typically learn to write code in one or more languages, such as Java, Visual Basic, or C++. Course content ranges from simple code writing exercises to advanced problem solving. Some certificate programs require potential students to successfully complete an introductory computer or math course before formally enrolling.

Program Information and Requirements

Most online undergraduate certificate programs are completed in six months to one year and consist of 21-36 credit hours. A third-party learning management service (LMS), such as Blackboard or ANGEL, is often used to deliver course content. Many such programs are offered fully online with no on-campus requirements. Some schools give online students the option of attending a few classes on campus if they choose.

Students need access to the Internet through an Internet Service Provider (ISP). They also need a Web browser such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. Course participants should have an e-mail account for communicating with the school, and they may need to download free software such as Adobe Acrobat, Flash or QuickTime to complete course requirements.

Course Topics

Computer programming certificate programs typically don't have any general education requirements, although a few may include math classes such as calculus. Most programs concentrate solely on computer science courses.

Introduction to Computer Programming

Introductory courses typically expose students to some of the languages of computer programming and the techniques used in writing programs. Subjects covered include data structures, object-oriented programming and Web programming.

Database Management

Students learn about relational databases and relational database management systems (RDBMS). Topics may include database design, data storage, indexing, writing queries, RDBMS implementation and file structure.

Introduction to C++

Online students explore the C++ programming language and learn the basic syntax used in developing C++ programs. They also learn how to create, debug and run C++ applications.


Graduate Certificate in Java Programming

Java is a programming language that is platform-independent. It can be used to write code such as applets and servlets for the Web. Students enrolled in a graduate Java programming certificate course learn the syntax and structure of the Java language. Using object-oriented programming, they learn to create applications in Java. They are also taught how to use standard Java packages.

Program Information and Requirements

Most Java programming certificates are designed for information technology professionals who have already attained a bachelor's degree. The certificate course can typically be completed in 6-9 months. Online programs are usually delivered to the student via an LMS such as Blackboard or ANGEL.

Online students must have access to a computer and a connection to the Internet. Individual courses may have specific software requirements such as JavaScript, Flash or Adobe Acrobat.

Course Topics

Courses in Java programming teach students how to use the Java language to create software applications that are platform independent.

Java II

Intermediate courses in Java move beyond the basics to cover more advanced topics such as Java security. Students also learn how to integrate Java with other applications and how to increase performance.

Java III

This is an advanced course where students explore such topics as writing regular expressions, sorting, data logging, using assertions, multithreading and networking. They also look at search functions and graphical user interfaces.

Java Web-Applications-Building

Students in the course learn to build dynamic Web applications using Java. Students are taught such topics as setting up a build environment, debugging code, ensuring version control with multiple users and setting up a test environment. Many instructors expect students to complete a working, Java-based Web application by the end of the course.


Career Information

Individuals with a certificate in computer programming may find entry-level positions in software publishing, computer manufacturing or finance. Some employers won't consider hiring a programmer who doesn't possess a bachelor's degree. A programmer's salary depends heavily on education level achieved and previous experience. However, as a general guideline, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the annual mean wage for a programmer working for a software publisher as $102,480 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Employment opportunities for programmers are expected to decline by 8% from 2014 through 2024.

Java programmers may find positions in business, government or educational institutions. Possible jobs include software engineer, applications developer, database programmer or Web programmer. According to the BLS, computer software applications developers are going to be in demand into the near future (www.bls.gov). The number of employment opportunities for applications developers is expected to rise by 19% from 2014-2024. In 2015, software applications developers working for software publishers earned an average median yearly salary of $112,460.

Continuing Education Information

Those with a certificate in computer programming may choose to pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in the field. Many on-campus programs are available at all levels, and online programs exist as well, though they are fewer in number.

There are currently no master's degrees in Java programming that are both accredited and offered online. Individuals with a graduate certificate in Java programming can pursue a master's or doctoral degree in computer science or software engineering. Many such programs are available online and some allow students to specialize in Java programming.

Online computer programming undergraduate certificate programs cover coding languages and database management, among other subjects. Graduate-level programs in Java provide advanced expertise for IT professionals.


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