All that we are able to do today on our computers and smartphones is thanks to computer programming. Computer programming is generally seen as the act of writing, running and debugging codes, but can formally be defined as “the process of developing and implementing various sets of instructions to enable a computer to do a certain task. These instructions are considered computer programs and help the computer to operate smoothly.”
More often than not, computer programming is not offered as a full bachelor’s degree program. It is generally offered as a specialization or track in full-time degree programs such as Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Technology, Computer Engineeringand other related degree programs. These full-time degree programs usually take four to five years of study. A significant number of employers nowadays require a bachelor’s degree from an applicant.
Another option could be taking an associate’s degree program in either purely programming or more general computer science. This normally takes two years. Most employers who hire computer programmers with an associate’s degree require the applicant to have relevant work experience.
Whether you are interested in taking a bachelor degree program or getting an associate’s degree, expect to take classes that will give you experience writing code and debugging programs. Coursework for associate’s programs generally focus on systems, the different programming languages and creation and testing of programs, while coursework for full degrees usually include mathematics such as algebra, calculus and statistics, plus foundational computer science courses in areas such as operating systems, computer networking, data communication and computation theory. Assessment of an individual can include laboratory work, programming projects and written work.
Entrance into computer programming courses or degree programs that include computer programming in its curriculum varies from institution to institution. Some universities require you to take an entrance exam, while some will take into consideration national or standard exams. A number of institutions consider advanced placement exams. For a complete list of requirements, you are advised to check out or contact the institution you are interested in applying to.
As mentioned earlier in the article, computer programming is considered as a specialization in most computer science and information technology-related degrees. Those studying computer programming can usually specialize in a specific language and/or platform through experience.
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates. Please check with the institution you are interested in for their accreditation details.
After completing a program in computer programing, an individual can choose to be certified in a number of programming languages and programming products specific to some vendors.
As with bachelor degrees, computer programming graduate studies are usually just an aspect or portion of graduate degree programs in computer science, computer and software engineering and other related fields of study.
Throughout a program that focuses on computer programming, individuals usually gain several important transferable skills such as computer literacy, analytical skills, concentration, orientation to detail and troubleshooting. Some other skills include critical thinking, problem-solving and deductive reasoning.
A significant percentage of those who have completed computer programming programs or courses pursue a career directly in computer programming in different positions such as web programmer, application programmer, database programmer, systems analyst and java programmer. These professionals can choose to work full-time in private companies or even as freelancers.
As for salary and career advancement, those who have completed a bachelor’s degree generally earn more than those with just an associate’s degree and can be preferred over the latter. Of course, there are different factors to this such as an individual’s relevant work experience, specialization and the sector wherein he or she is a part of.
Completion of computer programming programs or courses also normally open up opportunities in other related fields in information technology. Because of the high number of transferable skills they possess, especially computer literacy and troubleshooting, those who have completed degree programs or courses in computer programming can choose to pursue career paths in different fields or sectors.
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