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There are five items to consider when choosing a computer programming school: programming language, equipment, accreditation, faculty, and reputation. Computer programming school is widely available at community, career and online colleges. This program is typically one to two years in length, and provides the training necessary to become a computer programmer.
Computer programmer is a broad term used to describe information technology staff who have learned the code for at least two major programming languages. The field of information technology has expanded so much that there are different genres of computer programming languages. Web-based, functional, operational, and graphical are just the main types of computer languages.
The best computer programming school will have the latest computer hardware and software available for student use. Check the availability of the equipment to ensure there are enough opportunities for every student to practice. Almost all classes should be held in computer labs, allowing students to gain hands-on experience writing code, fixing bugs, and using testing protocols.
When looking for a computer programming school, check the accreditation status. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party. Courses from an accredited school can be transferred to other post-secondary institutions. Only accredited schools are able to offer students access to government student aid programs.
Review the qualifications of the faculty or course instructors with care. Most schools post a short biography of their course instructors on the school's website. Review this information and look for both academic credentials and working experience.
It is important to note that this is a growing field and requires dedication to continuing education in order to keep your skills relevant. Look for schools that offer short courses or certificates in the latest technology to students after graduation. These programs are typically available on weekends, in the evenings, or online.
The reputation of the school is very important when choosing the best computer programming school. Ask the admissions counselor about alumni events, where you can speak with graduates. Talk with area employers about the school to get a sense of its reputation.
@allenJo - I’ve never attended a computer programming school, and I took few computer courses of any kind. I am completely self-taught.
I started with BASIC when I was a teenager, then I graduated to C, C++ and .NET. Let me let you in on a little secret. There is a low barrier to entry for computer programming jobs.
You could conceivably get a job as a computer programmer (as I have) and never take a formal course. Of course that doesn’t mean you can be completely ignorant. You have to teach yourself.
The only time I would consider enrolling in a computer programming school (and I speak for myself here) is if I wanted to specialize in network security or database security or something like that.
In other words, something that involved more than picking up the latest language – something that was more akin to engineering. But that’s just me.
@hamje32 - While I believe that computer programming schools are important, I think that it’s very rare nowadays that you will get by without having at least some computer programming instruction in other venues first.
For example, some high school computer programming classes are teaching Java to juniors and seniors. That would have been unheard of years ago.
I was taught BASIC in high school, but that was before Java came on the scene. So why would you enroll in a computer programming school? I think if you wanted to specialize in a particular software vendor’s products, whether it’s Microsoft, Sun or Oracle, then it would make sense.
You should load up on any and every course targeted towards that vendor in the computer programming school. Most importantly, when you’re done you should shoot for certification to validate your credentials. This will also help you to land a higher paying job as well.
When evaluating a computer programmer school, evaluate their course work. If you really want to be relevant you want to make sure that they are offering courses in the latest information technology tools and languages.
Some technologies come and go and you want to be on the cutting edge. COBOL for example was once a widely used business programming language, but no more. I know a guy who knows COBOL and he is on the verge of being unemployed.
Nowadays people are using different technologies, more Windows and web driven stuff. If you don’t pick the right courses you may be obsolete from the moment that you graduate.
I know that sounds crazy but it’s true. Technology is changing that fast and some companies, like Microsoft, have a reputation for rolling out a new technology every two years or so, constantly keeping programmers on their feet.
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