Bachelors in Computer Programming Online Degree Programs of 2021

Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Programming Career Options & Salary

Computer programming is a field as old as computers. The job sector is full of diversified workers who specialize in specific computer languages or problems, but others apply a broad knowledge of computer programming languages and are able to solve problems across different platforms, operating systems, and applications. Computer programmers may spend all their time working on a single mobile app or creating wholly new operating systems. To launch a career in computer programming, you'll need to know at least one programming language, but ideally, you'll have a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer information systems, management information systems, or some other technologically oriented field.

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What is a Bachelor’s Degree?

A bachelor's degree is a blanket term for a four-year college degree. The term can be applied in a number of ways, such as: Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business Administration, or Bachelor of Fine Arts, to name a few. Though each of these degrees differ in terms of their content and career applications, they share many things in common.

Bachelor degrees typically require 120 credit hours to complete. For a student attending full-time classes, those hours can be completed in four years. Some students are able to shorten that timeframe by taking courses in the summer and even overloading their schedules. However, students in the U.S. have been trending toward longer completion times, since they sometimes need to work full- or part-time jobs to make ends meet.

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Where Do You Earn a Bachelor’s in Computer Programming?


Computer programming bachelor's degrees are available at four-year colleges and universities that are operated either as publicly-funded, state institutions or as private, often non-profit schools. Traditionally, the only way to earn a college degree was by way of a brick-and-mortar classroom. Now, students can log-in from a Wi-Fi connection and attend computer programming colleges from all over the nation or the world. There are also schools and bachelor degree programs that blend traditional classroom work with online learning, including online computer science degrees. These hybrid degree programs may become more of the norm in the future as schools seek to streamline how courses are delivered. Meanwhile, online computer science departments are sure to continue their positive growth.

Higher education has also pivoted to accommodate an expanding student population, so there are more opportunities for a four-year computer programming degree than ever before. In the past, community colleges only conferred a mix of associate degrees and professional certifications. Now, students find that their local community college may offer one or more bachelor's degrees. Furthermore, some community college campuses will host courses and even full programs from larger public universities.

Online Vs. Traditional Education in Computer Programming


These days, computer programming students have many different options for how they learn coding languages. The two main ways to accomplish this is through online or traditional courses. Since programming is already a computer-centric field, it is perhaps especially well-suited to online learning. In fact, it's not hard to imagine that most computer programming students are already acclimated to doing much of their work on a computer, so the transition may be particularly easy for them.

There are also perceived advantages to learning to code in a classroom. Beginning students may benefit from one-on-one interaction when they have difficulty with a coding problem. Though the online learning medium may offer good interaction with their instructor, there are bound to be lags between the time a question is sent and the response. It can also be difficult for a new computer science student to explain their difficulty, and they may find it easier to point to a problem on a screen rather than try to describe the issue.

At the end of the day, most educational studies have shown that the outcomes from online college or university courses equal that of their traditional counterparts. Though employers in certain fields might give less respect to an online bachelor's degree in computer science, most IT or other technology managers are less likely to be worried where a person learned to code as long as they are capable. In fact, the field is full of people who self-taught with a book and a PC.

What are the Admission Requirements?


The prerequisites for beginning a programming degree program vary from school to school. Some want to see a background in programming and perhaps a few introductory courses on one's transcript. Others have an open admission policy and will take any soul willing to learn a programming language. With that said, it would be wise to have a basic foundation in programming languages prior to enrolling in a college course.

In particular, it will be helpful to have a strong aptitude for mathematics. The logical rigor of a programming language mirrors that of mathematics and often computer programmers need to integrate formulas into their code in order to create the optimal algorithm. It may also be helpful to have some familiarity with coding languages. Students might explore various free or very affordable online learning opportunities and, through this, explore the world of computer programming. Even a course on basic HTML can be helpful in gaining familiarity with how code works.

Why a Degree in Computer Programming?


Students are often curious to know what level degree they should seek. In computer programming, students can start with an associate degree in computer science and possibly land an entry-level job. Since programmers often advance based largely on their on-the-job successes, many can make lucrative careers without any formal education at all. However, this is becoming more and more rare.

To start the strongest possible career, computer programmers should first earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or some equivalent. The formal training will be helpful in an interview since a degree is one reliable way to show competency. Once in a career track, programmers can then use their bachelor's degree to return to school for a master’s degree. The bachelor's will open up options such as a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Science in Computer Science, or a Master of Science in Information Technology, and other options.

Thus, starting a career based on a bachelor's degree is probably the best route for most students. The verifiable credentials and academic achievement will impress interviewers while also providing a springboard for later learning. Furthermore, a four-year undergraduate degree offers students the opportunity to take courses in business, mathematics, or any other field that will help to inform their long-term career goals. While an associate degree can be a good springboard, two-year degrees offer a narrow scope.

Why Earn a Computer Programming Bachelor’s?


Students are often curious to know what level degree they should seek. In computer programming, students can start with an associate degree in computer science and possibly land an entry-level job. Since programmers often advance based largely on their on-the-job successes, many can make lucrative careers without any formal education at all. However, this is becoming more and more rare.

To start the strongest possible career, computer programmers should first earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or some equivalent. The formal training will be helpful in an interview since a degree is one reliable way to show competency. Once in a career track, programmers can then use their bachelor's degree to return to school for a master’s degree. The bachelor's will open up options such as a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Science in Computer Science, or a Master of Science in Information Technology, and other options.

Thus, starting a career based on a bachelor's degree is probably the best route for most students. The verifiable credentials and academic achievement will impress interviewers while also providing a springboard for later learning. Furthermore, a four-year undergraduate degree offers students the opportunity to take courses in business, mathematics, or any other field that will help to inform their long-term career goals. While an associate degree can be a good springboard, two-year degrees offer a narrow scope.

What to Consider When Choosing a Bachelor’s Program for Computer Programming


Accreditation


Accreditation should be a major part of any search for a computer programming degree program. That's because accreditation indicates that a school has been successfully evaluated by an independent academic agency. For computer science or computer programming, students should look for schools that have regional accreditation at minimum. However, programs with a nationally recognized credential may take you further than general regional accreditation.

One of the major accreditation agencies for computer programming is ABET. They accredit all sorts of STEM programs, including computer science departments. A degree from an ABET-accredited program will surely be recognized by any potential employer as well as any graduate admissions officer. In fact, your program's accreditation status may well determine the trajectory of your career. Thus, make sure that every program you consider has an accreditation approved by CHEA, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

What to Expect in the Curriculum?


The road to a degree in computer science or programming is full of possibilities. There are fundamental skills that most any computer programming department offers, but then each program might offer specific focus areas for you to delve into. Most bachelor's degrees in computer programming will cover a range of programming languages. You might learn to write code in C++, Java, Python, and HTML, to name a few. Computer programming also can cover topics such as how to create an algorithm, artificial intelligence, and computer modeling.

Some computer science departments may also offer a concentration in business solutions. Thus, you might focus your programming acumen on creating software specific to accounting, cloud storage, cyber security, database design and management, marketing, or management applications. Other programs might offer concentrations in machine learning, managing big data, the Internet of Things, or healthcare applications. You will probably also cover a lot of theoretical and mathematical concepts such as probability, statistics, and even robotics.

Common Courses:

  • Data Systems
  • Algorithm Design
  • Technical Writing and Communication
  • Calculus
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Game Design
  • Database Technology
  • Cyber Security
  • Introduction to Computer Science
  • Application Development
  • Data Structures
  • Software Engineering
  • Graph Theory
  • Programming Languages
  • Parallel Systems
  • Mobile Applications

Additional Computer Programming Education


Master’s Degree


Once you've earned a bachelor's degree in computer programming or computer science, you should start considering a master’s degree to advance your skills and knowledge. A Master of Science in Computer Programming will help your resume stand out among the pack and it will help you achieve a higher salary, greater status, and the most successful career possible.

You might also consider working for a few years with your bachelor's degree before enrolling in a master’s degree program. This is because you will want to get a first-hand view of what working in the field is really like. With a bit of experience, you will have a handle on exactly where to focus your graduate studies and have an easier time getting into a graduate school program. For instance, you may wish to dive into artificial intelligence or maybe your interest lies in security issues and defeating hackers. Only experience will help you make this sort of decision.

MBA


An MBA is a terrific addition to a degree in computer science or computer programming. MBA curriculum has diversified enough in recent years that you will find any number of options. For instance, one major decision is whether to pursue a dual MBA alongside a master’s degree in computer science or earn a two-year MBA with a concentration in computer programming or some other technological focus.

With an MBA you can rise in the ranks of your corporation and perhaps land a position as a chief financial officer (CFO) or a chief information officer (CIO). You can also work in management information systems or computer information systems, depending on your interest.

Doctorate or PhD


A doctoral degree in computer science is a terrific way to launch a career in a think-tank or research facility. You could land in the research department of a corporation like Google or maybe you will take your knowledge of programming languages and start your own consulting firm. The degree will also open up the possibility of teaching at the college level. A career in academia doesn't only mean teaching undergraduates how to write code but it can involve cutting edge research projects in your passion areas, as well.

Post Graduate Certifications


A certification in computer programming may be all you need to launch a brilliant career. This is an especially good choice for those who already have a degree and a career underway. When you add a certification to your resume, you show that your skill sets are still growing and highlight your ability in a certain field. Furthermore, you'll show that you know how to work with code, which is a skill that employers love to see. In fact, most young workers make sure they have at least some familiarity with JavaScript, HTML, or CSS, all of which are key to building websites.

Certifications are often very specific. You can become certified in a specific language, such as Python or Java, or a particular technology such as cloud computing. That may be valuable if you're seeking jobs that you know will ask for one of those specific languages or technologies. If you're thinking of a certification, you might look into both academic and non-academic sources.

You don' t need to dig up your transcripts and apply to school all over again if you don't want to. There are very good avenues available, such as Linux Academy, which offer industry-class courses that are very affordable to take. You may need to pay an added fee to receive a certification, but the option is yours. One of the great things about such a school is that your success or lack thereof is not recorded on an official transcript. Thus, beginning programmers can learn without putting their permanent record on the line.

Potential Careers and Salary Outlook for Programming Graduates


  • Analyst Programmer:
    This job is posted by a university in search of a new member to its technology staff. You'll work with a variety of software packages and platforms designed for higher education. To land this job you will need a bachelor's degree in computer science and experience with SQL languages. These types of positions are also available from businesses looking for someone to give them more in-depth analysis.

  • SQL Correspondence Developer:
    For this position, you will need a bachelor's degree in a technology field such as computer science, management information systems, or mathematics, among other options. SQL is mandatory and the employer needs you to have excellent written and oral communication skills.

  • QA Tester:
    This position needs a programming expert with special knowledge of Ruby/Rails. They are also looking for knowledge of HTML, SQL languages, CSS, and PHP.

  • IT Support Specialist:
    For this position, the employer is only looking for a candidate with an associate degree. However, with a bachelor's degree in computer programming or computer science you surely can merit the upper end of the salary range and move up the ladder even faster. These types of positions are available in a variety of businesses, from marketing and manufacturing to healthcare.

  • Systems Developer:
    This health services provider is seeking someone with a bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems. Your programming language skill will help design and program software solutions for business customers.

Salary Expectations


Computer programming is an exciting and dynamic field that offers terrific job opportunities and salaries. When you enter the field with a bachelor's degree in computer programming or computer science, you will be faced with exciting challenges and good pay. However, if you don't move past the bachelor's degree level, your salary and status will eventually stagnate. Special industry certifications may help, but nothing will match the power of a master’s degree in computer science, an MBA, or a Master of Science in Computer Engineering, to name a few.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently shows that computer programmers are earning a median annual salary of $87,000 and that their typical entry-level education level is a bachelor's degree. Computer systems analysts have similar training and job duties yet make the slightly higher median salary of $90,000, while systems administrators earn a median annual salary of $84,000. Note that these salaries factor neither bonus pay nor benefits. Furthermore, the median salary is based on the whole field, with master’s degree holders earning more than the median.

Note that the BLS is projecting a decline in the specific job title of computer programmer. However, other areas of the technology sector continue to grow. For instance, computer and information systems managers are projected to report job growth in their field of around 10% through 2029. System analysts and security analysts are both slated for significant job growth, with the latter profession slated for a phenomenal 30% increase in employment.

Outlook


Overall, the technology sector is expected to post great growth in the near future. New technologies are constantly sprouting up that require computer programming skills, and information security or cyber security experts are in very high demand. The security sector in particular is expecting to grow its ranks by over 30% through 2029, according to BLS projections. Deloitte is expecting that artificial intelligence and cloud computing will continue to be strong factors in technology growth, as will edge computing.

There are thus likely to be many opportunities for those with a bachelor's degree in computer science. With a little experience and a strong portfolio or resume, a computer programmer can likely strike out as a freelancer or independent consultant. Smaller firms will surely need expert technological assistance, but they may not be able to afford a full-time employee. For instance, firms are still clamoring for mobile applications and programmers can do a great deal of business filling that need. Thus, an enterprising technology entrepreneur can take this opportunity to take on short-term challenges and build a strong reputation faster than someone in a full-time position.

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Computer Science Degrees & Career Paths