Write the code that builds applications, software and the Internet as a computer programmer. In this specialization, you can use your knowledge of computer languages to design, develop, test and maintain the programs that keep systems running worldwide.
The two-year associate degree offers targeted training in this area of information technology. Associate degrees in computer programming typically cover essentials like an introduction to operating systems, logic structures, network infrastructure, programming fundamentals, security concepts and more.
Beyond the associate degree
Graduates may go on to find entry level employment in the field, or they could continue their training with related bachelor's degrees such as computer science, management information systems or database administration. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that a bachelor's degree is typical for entry-level programmers.
The Department of Labor's O*NET website explains that professionals in this field must be familiar with a broad range of technology, for example:
- Compilers and decompilers
- Database management system software (MySQL, Oracle PL/SQL)
- Database user interface and query software (SQL)
- Development software (C, Microsoft Visual Basic)
- Object/component oriented development software (C++, Python)
With the necessary qualifications, career options include software engineers, systems programmers, applications programmers, analysts and consultants.
Career outlook and salary
The BLS reports that the 333,620 computer programmers employed nationwide earned mean annual wages of $74,900 in 2010. Most worked in computer systems design and related services, though programmers could also be found at software publishers and contracted at employment services.
Between 2010 and 2020, the BLS projects that job opportunities for computer programmers will increase by 12 percent, which is below the estimated growth rate for all U.S. occupations. The projections for the industry don't tell the whole story. Some computer programming jobs are likely to be outsourced overseas, while others are absorbed into other fields that are expanding, such as database administration and systems analysis. For example, jobs for computer systems analysts are projected to grow by 20 percent between 2008 and 2018.
Online associate degrees in computer programming offer a technically oriented start to your training. Whether you use your education to begin work at the entry level or you continue your studies, the associate degree offers a strong foundation. Specialized high-tech workers like software developers and coders are important to the IT world -- explore online degree options today to learn more.