What Are the Different Types of Computer Programming Degrees?

G. Wiesen

Most computer programming degrees are either based on the subject area in which a programmer chooses to focus his or her studies or the time required to receive the degree. While many schools offer programs in computer science or information technology (IT), there are also schools with more specific programs in computer programming and software engineering. Much like other types of degrees, there are also various levels of degrees offered, including associate’s and bachelor’s degrees as well as postgraduate degrees. Beyond the computer programming degrees available, there are also a number of certifications that can be pursued by programmers for additional training and specialization.

Computer programmers often gain experience working on independent projects outside of the classroom.
Computer programmers often gain experience working on independent projects outside of the classroom.

Computer programming degrees are typically awarded by a college or university, though some technical schools also offer full degree-granting programs. There are a number of different subjects in which a computer programmer can choose to focus and receive a degree, such as computer science or IT. Degrees in computer programming itself can also be pursued at some schools, and these can better prepare a student for the specific needs and requirements of a career in writing code and programming. Outside of computer programming degrees granted for majoring in computers, students can also focus on other subjects as a major and pursue programming as a minor.

Some computer programmers may focus strictly on writing code.
Some computer programmers may focus strictly on writing code.

Much like other types of tertiary school subjects, computer programming degrees can also be divided by the level of degree earned. An associate’s degree is often pursued by those interested in programming at a beginning level, and this degree takes about two years to earn. For those interested in higher level programming and software engineering, a bachelor’s degree is often preferable and takes about four years to complete. Higher level computer programming degrees, include a master’s or doctoral degree, can also be earned with additional years and are often pursued by those interested in teaching programming or being a team leader at a major software developer.

Beyond these computer programming degrees, there are also other types of certification that can be pursued by computer programmers. These certifications are usually based on specific programming platforms or programs, such as Java or cascading style sheets (CSS). The developers or organizations behind these systems usually offer a program or test that can be completed to receive certification in that particular type of software. While these are not necessarily equivalent to formal computer programming degrees, many programmers complete these certifications to improve their abilities and better demonstrate their understanding of different systems.

The salaries of computer programmers typically vary widely from employer to employer.
The salaries of computer programmers typically vary widely from employer to employer.

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