Best Online Associate in Computer Programming Programs
Check out this list of the best online associate in computer programming programs and learn what you can do with an associate in computer programming.
Updated April 22, 2022
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An associate in computer programming is a two-year degree that students can usually earn at a community college. This degree prepares learners for entry-level jobs in computer programming.
According to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data, tuition and fees at a two-year college cost an average of $3,621 per year, for a total of $7,242. This costs less than the average tuition and fees of $16,647 per year at a four-year school. Students who plan to complete a bachelor's in computer programming can save money by earning their associate degree at a community college and then transferring to a four-year institution.
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Some schools charge less for online students, while others charge additional technology fees. Many online schools charge the same rate to all students.
The job outlook for graduates with an associate in computer programming varies by occupation. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 10% decline in jobs for computer programmers from 2020-2030. The BLS also projects a 22% increase in jobs for software developers during the same period.
What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Computer Programming Program?
Students enrolled in an associate in computer programming must be patient. Programs do not always work on the first try. Programmers need the patience to troubleshoot the program and figure out how to fix it. Other traits that benefit both students and graduates of computer programming programs include passion, creativity, and logic.
The typical online associate in computer programming requires about 60 college credits and takes about two years to complete. Students can often complete the program faster by taking classes during the spring and summer terms.
Some schools feature concentrations in computer programming. For example, Atlantic Cape Community College offers a concentration in computer programming or database design and development. Some computer science or computer information systems degrees offer computer programming as a concentration.
Some schools may require labs or internships. Degree-seekers should check with their school to learn about any additional requirements beyond their regular classes.
Associate in science (AS) and associate in applied science (AAS) degrees are both common. Students may benefit more from an AS degree if they plan to pursue a bachelor's degree. An AAS degree may suit learners who want to enter the workforce after graduating.
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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Computer Programming Program?
Computer Programming - C++
This course introduces C++ programming language. Students learn object-oriented programming with C++. The course includes C++ syntax, input and output devices, and data and file structures.
Computer Programming - Java
This course teaches beginner programmers how to design and code applications using Java. Students learn how to create web-based applications with attractive graphical user interfaces.
Systems Analysis and Design
In this course, students learn how to analyze users' needs and determine the systems required for an organization. They consider various options for systems design, including open-source software, IT service firms, and in-house software developers.
Programming in Oracle SQL
This course teaches students how to design and create relational databases. They learn how to store, retrieve, display, and update data using SQL. This course covers functions, stored procedures, packages, and triggers.
Computer Programming - Visual Basic
In this course, students learn how to program computers using the Visual BASIC programming language. The course integrates object-oriented programming, with an emphasis on event-driven programming.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Computer Programming Program?
Admission requirements vary by program. However, they all start with an application and usually an application fee. Most schools require official high school transcripts or proof of a GED diploma. Some schools may require test scores from college entrance exams such as the ACT or SAT.
Depending on the school, students may need to write a college application essay or get letters of recommendation. Recent high school graduates should ask their high school teachers for recommendation letters. Otherwise, prospective students can ask their work supervisor.
What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Computer Programming Degree?
The BLS projects the demand for computer programmers in the U.S. to drop due to employers hiring programmers from other countries. Computer programmers can work remotely from anywhere, so many companies hire programmers from places where wages are lower.
Still, the average base salary of $61,000 per year for those with an associate of applied science degree in computer programming compares favorably to other degrees. For example, Payscale reports that people with an associate of arts degree in communication earn an average base salary of $54,000 per year as of Feb. 2022.
Many computer programmers work for computer systems design and related companies. They can also work in finance, insurance, manufacturing, and software publishing.
See where an associate in computer programming can take you. Learn more about computer programming careers.
Computer programmers work with software developers to create the code that runs a software program. The software developer designs the program, and the programmer codes it. Programmers also test the code to make sure it runs properly. In addition, the programmer troubleshoots any problems and figures out how to fix them.
Median Annual Salary: $89,190
Software developers create a plan for the design of a software program. They talk to users and figure out necessary program features. They also plan how the user will interact with the software and decide what happens behind the scenes. The software developer then gives this plan to a programmer for coding.
Median Annual Salary: $110,140
Web developers create websites and keep them running smoothly. They troubleshoot problems, such as page errors and slow-loading webpages. They use markup languages such as HTML and XML to code webpages. In addition, they work with graphic artists to perfect the layout and look of the website. Web developers monitor website traffic and bandwidth.
Median Annual Salary: $77,200
Computer Support Specialists
Computer support specialists provide technical support to computer users. They listen to customers describe their problems and ask questions to learn the source of the problem. Then, they either walk the customer through the necessary steps to resolve their problem, or fix the customer's issue in person or remotely. Computer support specialists may also provide training to help users learn to use computer equipment.
Median Annual Salary: $55,510
Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Network and computer systems administrators make sure a company's computer networks operate smoothly. They monitor the day-to-day operation of the networks and install software upgrades and new equipment as needed. They install wide-area networks, intranets, local area networks, and other data communication systems.
Median Annual Salary: $84,810
Computer Programming Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
An associate in computer programming prepares graduates for entry-level computer programming jobs. However, a bachelor's degree in the field may enhance job advancement opportunities. People may pursue a bachelor's in computer programming, computer science, or computer forensics.
- BS in Computer Programming: A bachelor's in computer programming focuses on actual programming. Students usually learn at least three or four programming languages, such as Visual BASIC, C++, Python, and Java. The actual languages vary by program.
- BS in Computer Science: A BS in computer science focuses on the theory, design, and development of software. Students learn about software engineering, programming languages, and numerical analysis. They also explore database systems and artificial intelligence.
- BS in Computer Forensics:A bachelor's in computer forensics trains students to think like investigators. They learn to use computer skills to help solve crimes.
How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Computer Programming Program?
According to NCES, the total program cost, including room and board, tuition, and fees, averages $11,391 per year for a two-year college. That averages to $22,782 for two years. Public schools are often cheaper than private schools. In-state students also typically pay less than out-of-state students. Some online schools offer in-state rates to out-of-state students taking online courses.
Before enrolling, students should check to see if the school offers a synchronous or asynchronous program. Synchronous programs require learners to log in at specific times for live classes. A part-time class schedule may allow students to continue working, while a full-time schedule may allow them to finish school sooner. Students in an accelerated program may graduate in as little as 18 months.
Students who choose an online associate in computer programming degree may not need to worry about location. However, learners should check with their prospective school for any in-person program requirements. Usually, online schools offer more flexibility, making it easier to balance schoolwork with life commitments.
Most colleges and universities hold institutional accreditation. This type of school-level accreditation ensures that an institution provides high academic quality. Individual programs can hold programmatic accreditation as well, but it is more common with programs like nursing and dental hygiene than computer programming.
Many schools offer student support services, such as academic advising and mentorships. Students should also check what online student services, such as tutoring, their prospective schools offer. Learners concerned about job placement can look for schools with internship assistance or alumni networking events.
Best Accredited Online Associate in Computer Programming Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Computer Programming Programs
Is an associate degree in computer programming worth it?
Yes, an associate in computer programming is worth it. An associate degree costs an average of about $23,000 and can help prepare students for jobs that pay more the national median salary.
Even if you consider the cost of not working for two years so you can attend college, you still may see a fairly quick return on your investment. If you make $30,000 now, you'll lose about $60,000 in income while attending school, which brings the cost of your education up to $83,000. However, you'll likely recoup your costs within a few years.
How fast can I get an associate in computer programming degree online?
An associate degree usually takes about two years. However, students can graduate faster by taking extra credits each term. They can also attend school during the spring and summer terms when most students take a break.
Some schools also offer accelerated programs. Schools design these programs to be completed faster than usual, sometimes in as little as 18 months. Learners in an accelerated program can get their degree faster and start working sooner.
Is an online associate degree in computer programming credible?
An online associate in computer programming is as credible as the college from which students receive it. A degree from an accredited school with a good reputation may stand out to prospective employers.
However, students can stand out even more if they continue their education and earn a bachelor's. Some employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree.
How much money can I make with an associate in computer programming?
An associate in computer programming qualifies degree-holders for entry-level jobs in the field. Professionals often make a lower salary when starting out and gradually earn more in time. For example, an entry-level computer programmer makes an average of $58,440 per year as of Feb. 2022. But people with over 20 years of experience earn an average of $87,810 per year.
An entry-level web developer makes an average of $50,860 per year, but web developers with over 20 years of experience earn $79,910 per year on average. Other factors, such as geographical location, can affect salary as well.
Is an associate degree in computer programming in demand?
Students unable to learn the skills they need on their own may want to consider attending a web development or software development bootcamp to fill in any gaps in their skillset.
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