Many of the first computer programmers were women. A mathematician named Ada Lovelace created a code that became the first computer program. Today, computer programmers write code for websites, video games, mobile apps, and corporate computer systems.

An in-person or online associate degree in computer programming provides the first step toward a computer programming career. Graduates with an associate in computer programming may go on to pursue a bachelor's degree or immediately enter the workforce.

Read on to learn what to expect from an associate degree in computer programming, including coursework and careers.

Should I Get an Associate in Computer Programming?

Earning an associate degree takes two years and provides graduates with the flexibility to either enter the workforce or pursue a bachelor's degree in computer programming.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for computer programmers to decline between 2019 and 2029. However, professionals can still explore thousands of computer programming jobs. Available jobs include RPG programmer, web developer/programmer, AS400 programmer, and gameplay programmer.

Most employers require a bachelor's degree, but some accept applicants with an associate degree in computer science or computer programming. Earning an associate degree typically takes two years and provides graduates with the flexibility to either enter the workforce or pursue a bachelor's degree in computer programming.

If you plan to use your associate degree as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree, check that the four-year college or university you plan to attend accepts your credits.

Computer programmers do not usually need certifications to qualify for a job. However, professionals can explore several certifications, including credentials from Microsoft and Oracle.

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What Will I Learn in a Computer Programming Associate Program?

An online associate degree in computer programming provides students with the skills they need to create their own computer programs in a variety of languages. Languages taught vary by school, but may include web languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Students may also learn multipurpose languages like Python and C#.

Each school offers a unique curriculum, but many classes are similar. At Southeast Technical College, for example, computer programming students take courses like introduction to programming, introduction to databases, C# programming, introduction to Java, and advanced object-oriented programming.

Some colleges offer an associate of science (AS) in computer programming, while others offer an associate of applied science (AAS). These degrees share similarities, but an AS prepares graduates to transfer to a four-year college, while an AAS prepares learners for the workforce.

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What Can I Do With an Associate in Computer Programming?

An associate degree in computer programming prepares graduates for entry-level jobs as computer programmers. Degree-holders may also qualify for web developer positions, especially if they learned web languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Although many companies now hire computer programmers overseas to take advantage of cheaper labor costs, demand for related positions such as web developer and software developer continues to climb. An associate degree is usually sufficient to land a job as a web developer.

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How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate in Computer Programming?

According to the BLS, computer programmers earned a median annual salary of $86,550 in 2019, while web developers earned $73,760. Students who go on to get their bachelor's degree may advance into higher-paying positions, such as computer systems analyst ($90,920), computer network architect ($112,690), or computer and information systems manager ($146,360).

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Computer Programming Programs

What is computer programming?

Computer programming is the process of writing code that tells computers what to do. Computer programmers write programs that do all sorts of things, from performing complex financial calculations to running an interactive game.

What is the entry-level salary for a programmer with an associate in computer programming?

According to PayScale data from March 2021, entry-level computer programmers earn an average annual salary of $55,750.

How much does it cost to get an associate in computer programming?

According to Student Debt Relief, the average cost of tuition for an associate degree at a public school is $3,570 per year, which puts the total cost of a two-year associate degree at $7,140. The cost is much higher at private schools, averaging $14,587 per year, or $29,174 for a two-year associate degree.

Is an associate in computer programming worth it?

Since learners can get an associate degree for around $7,140 and entry-level programmers earn an average annual salary of $55,750, an associate degree in computer programming is often worth the investment. However, students should consider the cost of tuition at the school they plan to attend to determine if earning the degree is worth it to them.

Are computer programmers in demand?

The BLS projects jobs for computer programmers to decline between 2019 and 2029. However, the BLS projects faster-than-average growth for related occupations, such as web developers. Many computer programming degrees cover web programming as well as general programming skills.