How to Become a Computer Programmer Online

Dec 10, 2019

This article describes the steps for becoming a computer programmer online. Read further to see more details about the career of a computer programmer, and discover how you can prepare for this job online.

Computer Programmer: Career Overview

Computer programmers create computer applications and software programs - specifically, they write the codes that serve as instructions for this programs. At least a bachelor's degree is necessary to become a computer programmer, and many of the degree programs, certifications, and other resources to learn the essential skills of a computer programmer are available online. The below table describes more career-related details of a computer programmer.

Required Skills Analytical, communication, time management, and coding skills; knowledge of algorithms, data structures, programming languages, and database management
Job Growth* -7% (Decline) for 2018-2028
Median Salary (2018)* $84,280 per year; $40.52 per hour

Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Computer Programmer Online

From obtaining an bachelor's degree to earning industry certifications, many of the steps required to become a computer programmer can be completed online.

Step 1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree Online

A bachelor's degree is often required for an entry-level job as a computer programmer, although an associate's degree and experience may be accepted by some employers. There are many schools that offer undergraduate degrees in computer science fully online. The curriculum typically focuses on providing a strong foundation in computer programming and includes courses in calculus and statistics as well as in programming concepts, such as data structures, algorithms, operating systems, databases, and computer security. Some degree programs specifically focus on particular fields within computer programming, such as web development, data science, networking, or network security. Students typically need to complete around 120 credits to earn this degree.

Step 2. Learn Additional Programming Languages

Learning multiple programming languages can help in career development and open numerous opportunities for a computer developer. There are various online training options and courses available to build an expertise in new programming languages. Schools typically offer these online training programs to teach languages such as Java, Python, R, C++, Javascript, and PHP. These online programs provide good exposure and hands-on experience to understand algorithms, data structures, and language-specific programming concepts. You can learn functional programming, object-oriented programming concepts, and you can also gain an understanding of the applications of a programming language, such as web development, mobile apps, data research, data mining, and operating system programming.

Step 3. Earn Industry Certification

Holding an industry certification can demonstrate that you hold industry-level programming skills, which can increase the chances of getting a job and career advancements. Multiple organizations, such as Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, and IBM, offer certifications for programmers. Generally, these certifications are available for different technologies and professions, such as programming, application development, cloud architecture, database administration, networking, and business intelligence. To earn these recognition, you will need to pass online exams. You can prepare for the exams through online courses offered by a number of providers.

Step 4. Complete Continuing Education

Even though a bachelor's degree and industry certification can prepare you for an entry-level job as a computer programmer, continuing education can help in learning and mastering skills related to a particular technology as well as help you keep up with changes in technology and new programming languages. Colleges and universities offer online advanced certificate programs or individual courses in various areas of programming, such as advanced JAVA programming or C++ for financial engineering.

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