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If you're passionate about technology and want to enter an exciting and evolving field, earning an online associate in computer programming can be a smart way to build your foundation. By completing this degree, you can learn the key programming skills you need to pursue a career in the industry.
Many different avenues of specialization are available for individuals with computer programming expertise. Early-career programmers may choose to advance from entry-level positions to more advanced developer roles, or may choose to return to school to receive an advanced degree. Either way, entering an associate program can be a good first step to starting your computer programming career.
Read on to learn what to expect from an online associate program in computer programming and find the answers to your most common questions about this degree.
What Are the Best Online Associate in Computer Programming Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|1||Southeast Technical Institute||Sioux Falls, SD|
|2||Cochise College||Douglas, AZ|
|3||St. Petersburg College||Clearwater, FL|
|4||Minnesota State Community and Technical College||Fergus Falls, MN|
|5||University of Toledo||Toledo, OH|
|6||St. Johns River State College||Palatka, FL|
|7||Seminole State College of Florida||Sanford, FL|
|8||Daytona State College||Daytona Beach, FL|
|9||Hinds Community College||Raymond, MS|
|10||Central Texas College||Killeen, TX|
- How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.
Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
2020 Best Accredited Online Associate in Computer Programming Programs
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Southeast Technical Institute
|Sioux Falls, SD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Southeast Tech offers an online associate degree in computer programming that trains students to collaborate with software developers and write new computer programs. The degree offers both full-time and part-time enrollment options.
Southeast Tech participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, which makes it easier for out-of-state students to participate in online programs.
|Douglas, AZ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
Cochise's associate of applied science in computer programming teaches distance learners to develop software applications for various professional needs, emphasizing programming issues in a variety of computing environments. This Arizona-based public school helps students transfer seamlessly to many four-year institutions.
Learners complete 64 credits while earning this associate in computer programming, including 18-19 credits of general education requirements and 45 credits of core courses. The program core introduces major topics in computer programming, including applied technical writing, systems analysis, programming logic, and operating systems.
Successful completion of the program gives online students a broad understanding of information system functions, preparing them to devise solutions to typical IT problems. Participants also learn to program in several languages, including Perl and Python.
St. Petersburg College
|Clearwater, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
A public college based in St. Petersburg, Florida, SPC offers an online associate of science in computer programming and analysis that teaches students the skills needed to create and run applications using a variety of programming languages. Participants never need to visit campus.
This associate program includes 36 major credits, covering key topics such as operating systems, web foundations, system analysis and design, and Java programming. Students also choose from several electives, including mobile device programming, application programming, web programming, and augment/virtual reality programming.
SPC emphasizes experiential learning and practical preparation, and all students in the program can complete an internship during their final semester. The program also prepares graduates to sit for the Oracle Java certified associate industry certification.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
|Fergus Falls, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
M State's online associate degree in computer programming teaches students the skills needed to design, code, document, and implement computer programs and information management systems. The program offers fully online and on-campus delivery methods.
The program's 60-credit curriculum covers the technical and professional skills required to succeed as a programmer, including research and presentation skills. All students learn at least one command-level language, operating system, and database management system, along with other programming languages.
M State's Steps to Success Program provides support for first-generation college students and women of color, providing mentorship, success coaching, networking and leadership opportunities, and a free laptop for incoming students.
University of Toledo
|Toledo, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
A major public university based in Ohio, UT offers an online associate in programming and software development. The degree prepares graduates to transfer into a bachelor's in computer science program or immediately enter the workforce as a programmer, data manager, or software developer.
Most full-time students earn this 60-credit degree in two years. The curriculum covers information technology and business topics. Required courses include workplace communications, application programming, financial accounting, and network technologies.
Learners can also earn a programming and software development certificate by completing a specialized subset of courses. Students planning to earn this certificate can work with an academic advisor to determine an appropriate course sequence.
St. Johns River State College
|Palatka, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
A public college with multiple campuses in Florida, SJR State offers a fully online associate degree in computer programming. This program builds foundational programming skills that students can apply to business practices, preparing graduates for work as information systems programmers and programming specialists.
The program's 60-credit curriculum covers web programming, mobile app programming, information systems, and advanced database concepts. The program also helps learners build the skills needed to automate business systems and facilitate IT operations for businesses.
SJR State's associate in computer programming transfers seamlessly into the school's bachelor's in organizational management. Students can also transfer into other information technology bachelor's programs or proceed directly into the workforce.
Seminole State College of Florida
|Sanford, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
Seminole State's online associate of science in computer programming and analysis emphasizes the skills needed to design, develop, and implement IT solutions. Students can also select from concentration options in programming, simulation, and web development. The program boasts a job placement rate of over 90% among its graduates.
Seminole State's associate in computer programming includes 42 credits of major courses, divided between 30 core credits and 12 concentration credits. The core covers topics such as network concepts, operating systems, and web programming. Students can also complete an optional three-credit cooperative education internship in computer programming.
Concentrations build knowledge in specialized topics related to a specific field. For example, the simulation concentration includes courses in gaming and simulation, C++ programming, and data analytics.
Daytona State College
|Daytona Beach, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
DSC offers an associate of science in computer programming and analysis that prepares graduates to design and develop computer programs for business situations. The program uses a hybrid format that combines online courses with classroom sessions held on the school's campus in Daytona Beach.
Learners complete required and elective courses, building foundational knowledge in programming languages and computer concepts. Required courses include C# programming, mobile device programming, and software design and development. Electives explore topics such as web design, microcomputer applications, and Linux fundamentals.
Students can also complete a certificate in computer programming as part of the curriculum. The certificate builds additional skills that can help graduates distinguish themselves on the job market.
Hinds Community College
|Raymond, MS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
A community college based in Raymond, Mississippi, Hinds offers an online associate degree in computer programming that prepares students to pursue entry-level employment or a bachelor's degree in the field.
The program's curriculum explores fundamental topics in computer programming and information technology, giving students a broad overview of the field and its basic concepts. Required courses include computer applications, programming with C++, discrete structures, and data structures.
Admission into the program requires an ACT score of at least 17. Alternatively, students can complete a placement assessment, which evaluates their preparedness in English, math, and reading.
Central Texas College
|Killeen, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 17%||
A Texas community college based in Killeen — about an hour north of Austin — CTC offers an online associate of science in computer science that prepares graduates to use computer languages to design applications and software. The program offers a fully online format, as well as daytime and evening/weekend options on campus.
The program's 60-credit curriculum includes introductory computer science courses and general education requirements. Required classes include programming fundamentals, computer organization, and introduction to computing. Full-time students typically complete the program in two years.
CTC also offers an online certificate of completion in web technologies that emphasizes programming in the context of web design.
What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Computer Programming Program?
Students with a knack for computers and a passion for technology may be especially suited to excel in computer programming programs.
If you're considering pursuing your ambition of becoming a computer programming professional, earning an associate degree is a great place to start. Students looking to pursue a computer programming degree at the associate level can typically choose one of two degree types: an associate of science (AS) or an associate of applied science (AAS) in computer programming.
Regardless which option your school offers, you can expect to learn about different programming languages, software development, database management, and other fundamental programming topics.
The typical associate degree usually takes two years of full-time study and requires around 60 credits. If you plan to attend your program on a part-time basis, you may need additional time to earn your degree.
Graduates with an associate in computer programming degree are typically prepared to begin entry-level work in the field. Students with a knack for computers and a passion for technology may be especially suited to excel in computer programming programs.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Computer Programming Program?
Although each program is unique, students pursuing an online associate in computer programming often delve into similar topics. The following section highlights five common courses at this level.
- Introduction to Computer Programming
This foundational course familiarizes students with the basic concepts needed to understand computer programming and related fields. Covered topics often include computer algorithms, data management, web development, and software engineering. Coursework will also provide an overview of basic programming languages.
- Introduction to Java Programming
This course helps students understand the fundamentals of the Java programming language, one of the most popular programming languages used today. Students learn to design and build applications through writing programs. Learners often complete both individual and group projects.
- Foundations of Computing
Foundational computing courses focus on the methods that computer programmers rely on in the field. Covered topics often include basic computer programming fundamentals, programming languages, data management, and programming techniques.
- Database Management
In this course, students gain insight into the principles of database management and design. Students learn to create relational databases, make entity-relationship diagrams for database design, and write SQL statements. Most of these courses culminate in a group or individual database design project.
- Web Development
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What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Computer Programming Degree?
While computers continue to play a huge role in our daily lives, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a decline in the number of computer programming jobs available between 2019 and 2029. According to the BLS, this is because so many companies choose to outsource their computer programming needs to countries with lower wages.
However, related jobs such as web developer and software developer are projected to grow at a considerably higher rate in that same time period than other occupations. Individuals with computer programming experience can follow many possible career paths, a few of which we detail below.
- Computer Programmer
Computer programmers write and test the code that makes computer software run properly. These professionals work alongside software developers and web designers to create applications and programs for businesses and organizations. They may also update and improve existing code and systems so software can function more smoothly.
- Database Administrator
Database administrators organize and manage a company's databases. They usually update, modify, and back up databases and assist other users in accessing databases. Database administrators keep important data secure and are often in charge of determining who can access certain databases.
- Web Developer
Web developers build websites, working on the entire website (what's known as "full-stack" development) or specializing in either the front end or back end of the site. Web developers often work collaboratively with designers, programmers, and engineers. These professionals can work as freelancers or can find work as an in-house web developer.
- Software Developer
Software developers design and build computer programs and applications for desktop, mobile, and other operating systems. These developers often focus their career in either applications software or systems software and typically work in tandem with other developers, designers, and programmers.
- Programmer Analyst
Combining the roles of a systems analyst and a computer programmer, programmer analysts may help develop, implement, and improve software. These professionals often test software to ensure that the software runs smoothly, and they may be in charge of fixing any issues that they find.
Computer Programming Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Computer Programming Programs
- Is an associate in computer programming worth it?
Earning an associate in computer programming may be worth it for several reasons. Because the U.S. economy relies so heavily on technology, professionals skilled in programming may find more job opportunities than those in other fields. Programming positions often come with higher salaries than positions in other industries, as well. An associate in computer programming can also serve as an excellent foundation for a more advanced degree.
- What can I do with an associate in computer programming?
You can apply your associate degree in computer programming to a variety of careers in the tech field. Graduates with an associate in computer programming can work as web developers, software developers, database administrators, and programmer analysts.
- Are computer programming majors in demand?
Almost every business, organization, and field needs tech professionals. As more companies store their data in computers and incorporate computer software into their daily functions, professionals with a computer programming major should be able to find work. For example, the BLS projects 10% job growth for database administrators and 22% job growth for software developers between 2019 and 2029.
- How much money can I make with an associate in computer programming?
According to the BLS, computer programmers earned a median salary of $86,550 in 2019. While earning an associate in computer programming may lead to slightly lower salaries compared to earning a bachelor's degree, you can still expect a healthy pay rate with room to grow.
- What are the highest paying jobs with an associate in computer programming?
According to the BLS, the median salary for those in the computer and information technology industry in 2019 was $88,240. On the lower end, web developers and digital designers earned a median salary of $73,760 in 2019. On the higher end, software developers earned a median salary of $107,510 that same year. Computer network architects and computer and information research scientists earned the highest salaries, but those professions may require additional education beyond an associate degree.