As new technologies continue emerging, the field of computer programming continues to develop. Careers in software development and computer systems analysis are projected to grow on par with the national average, and median salaries for popular computer science occupations range from $70,000 to over $100,000. A computer programming degree allows students to turn their hobbies into a career. Avid gamers, for example, might pursue careers designing video games, and those who enjoy programming languages may become expert software developers. The IT field offers numerous opportunities for professional advancement and leadership roles, and program concentrations allow students to pursue their specific career interests. The best online computer programming degrees appear below, along with key information about obtaining such a degree.

Choosing a Program

WILL THIS PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

A degree in computer programming online provides you with cutting-edge skills required by the IT industry. Graduates of the best colleges for computer programming pursue licensure and certification in areas specific to computer science. They may also enter the IT workforce or pursue a graduate degree.

DO I NEED PREVIOUS WORK EXPERIENCE TO GET IN?

Some programs recommend previous programming experience, but bachelor's programs do not require it. Rather, they accept students of varying experience levels, whether they come in as returning students or just graduated from high school. General education requirements equip students with a broad liberal arts foundation, and major core courses prepare them for career success in the computer science field.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES TO EARNING MY BACHELOR'S IN COMPUTER PROGRAMMING ONLINE?

In addition to providing the opportunity to pursue your degree from home, the best computer programming schools give you 24/7 access to course materials and IT services. Online students can easily contact their professors and peers through discussion forums and online drop boxes. Many degrees at the best online programming schools allow students to complete their courses independently, at their own pace.

Best Online Bachelor's in Computer Programming

Rank School Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 38%

WGU's online computer programming degree features two tracks: one focused on Java and the other on C#. Both give students the skills and techniques required to serve as enterprise-level software developers. The program recommends the C# track for individuals who aim to work in big tech markets like Silicon Valley, New York, or Seattle. The Java track works best for students seeking to work with software for a variety of platforms beyond computers and mobile devices.

WGU features competency-based learning, allowing students to set the pace of their studies by taking assessments and receiving credit for subjects they master through coursework or professional experience. When engaged in their courses, students access all materials, exams, and discussions online.

Courses within this online college computer programming degree program cover topics like scripting and programming, web development, technical communication, and data management. A course in data manipulation prepares students for the Oracle Database SQL certification exam by teaching them how to create schemas, sort and restrict data, and control access to databases.

Incoming students may begin the program at the start of any month throughout the year. Eligible applicants must either hold a high-level IT certification or possess an associate degree in information technology or a related discipline from an accredited institution. The program also admits individuals with three or more years of IT experience or whose transcripts reflect 3-6 credits of high-level IT coursework.

While most students graduate within two years, some can finish all of the required coursework in nine months. WGU also welcomes transfer students into their online computer programming degree program. The average learner transfers 31 credits from another institution.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Software Development
Available Concentrations: Java; C#
Tuition: $3,225/per term
Program Length: 4 years (can be 9-33 months)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: Readiness Assessment
Work Experience: 3 years of experience (optional for admission)

Contact
Phone: (866) 225-5948
Email: studentservices@wgu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

Bellevue University

Bellevue, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 17%

Bellevue University's online degree in computer programming delivers extensive hands-on experience in Java, Ruby on Rails, SQL, and various web applications. Students learn how to test software and applications, manage projects, ensure information security, and conduct user needs analyses — all key skills in the ever-evolving world of information technology.

The 36-credit program features courses on business telecommunications, business system programming, web scripting, and database system design and management. In an information technology project management class, students create plans to address real-world challenges, using an evidence-based approach and working on a team. Students take computer programming courses in cohorts. Each of the six sessions lasts 12 weeks. Graduates leave prepared to seek CompTIA Project+ certification.

In addition to the major-focused courses, students complete 55 elective and 36 general education credits. The school is friendly to transfer students, accepting credits from virtually all regionally accredited colleges and universities nationwide. BU also waives transfer and admission fees for individuals transferring from one of the school's community college partners.

To apply to this online computer programming degree, prospective students must hold an associate degree from an accredited postsecondary institution or achieve at least 60 credits of college-level coursework. The program also admits applicants with at least one year of professional computer programming experience. Applicants must submit their official high school and/or college transcripts.

BU, located in eastern Nebraska, offers the same per-credit tuition rate to both resident and nonresident students. Active-duty military members and their spouses receive discounted undergraduate tuition.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Software Development
Tuition: $415/credit
Credit Requirements: 127 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online or in class
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (402) 293-2000
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Fort Hays State University

Hays, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

Fort Hays State University, located in Kansas, offers a 65-credit online BS in computer science that prepares students for careers in information system security, system center operations, capacity analysis, and hardware systems engineering.

Before students can begin computer programming courses, they must pass introductory classes in computer information systems, database design, and front- and back-end web development. Major-focused courses include object-oriented programming, assembly language, operating systems, computer graphics, and software engineering. Students also complete a three-credit seminar through which they address a real-world problem, applying skills learned in the program to develop a workable solution.

In a data structures and algorithm design class, students learn how to use mathematical analyses on data structures like heaps, lists, and graphs. They also come to understand algorithm design methods, including divide-and-conquer, backtracking, greedy, and dynamic programming. These concepts allow them to tackle common problems in graph theory, matrix operations, and string matching.

To apply as incoming freshmen, prospective students must hold a high school diploma or GED and submit their ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students must provide official transcripts from all colleges or universities previously attended. If they have 24 or more college credits completed, their transcripts must reflect a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. Students may transfer up to 60 credits from another accredited institution.

Including general education classes and electives, the FHSU's online computer programming degree program totals 120 credits. Most full-time students graduate within two years once they officially begin their major-focused coursework.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Tuition: $219/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (785) 628-4559
Email: rlnewell@fhsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Davenport University

Grand Rapids, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

Davenport University offers an online computer programming degree that allows students to concentrate their studies on artificial intelligence, computer architecture and algorithms, or gaming and simulation. Students develop a mastery in C#, C++, or Java programming languages.

In the program's 42-credit core curriculum, students learn about computer vision, data structures, software engineering, game design, and network security. They also need to complete an internship or field experience working alongside an established IT professional. The program includes a three-credit computer science capstone through which students work with a team of their fellow learners to complete a project addressing a real-world issue.

In one course, students receive an extensive introduction to artificial intelligence, learning concepts related to search techniques, decision trees, reasoning, inductive learning, and natural language understanding. They also explore current and future applications in artificial intelligence.

Students then dive deep into their concentration, completing 12 credits of coursework designed to make them experts in niche areas of computer programming. DU's online college computer programming degree program also awards credit for any IT-related certifications students hold, potentially allowing them to bypass certain courses and complete the program more quickly.

In addition, many of DU's computer science students minor in mathematics, which can provide a competitive edge when applying for high-paying industry jobs. A solid understanding of math concepts proves key to succeeding in the computer programming field. DU accepts credits from nearly all accredited colleges and universities nationwide. The program even awards credit for some high school computer science classes.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Available Concentrations: Artificial intelligence; Gaming and simulation; Computer architecture and algorithms
Tuition: $741/credit in-state; $495/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT, ACT, or Accuplacer exam

Contact
Phone: (800) 686-1600
Email: info@davenport.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Champlain College

Burlington, VT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Champlain College empowers students to earn a computer programming degree online through an efficient BS in software development. The program features accelerated seven-week terms designed to allow students to complete a bachelor's degree quickly. Students may begin the program at six different times throughout the year.

The online computer programming degree program features 63 credits of professional courses, including subjects like networking fundamentals, information systems analysis, foundations of cybersecurity, and enterprise database systems. In a cloud computing security class, students learn how to protect cloud networks across a variety of platforms, while also exploring known and potential threats on a global scale. The course covers common methods of ensuring cloud security within businesses and organizations of all sizes and across industries.

Before starting their major-specific coursework, students must take and pass 57 credits of general education classes on topics like mathematics, interpersonal communication, professional ethics, and economics. The program accepts students who can maintain at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Applicants submit 3-4 short essays, their official high school and/or college transcripts, and an up-to-date resume. Champlain also accepts up to 90 transfer credits from accredited postsecondary institutions across the United States.

Students benefit from an asynchronous format, which means they can take courses largely at their own pace and in an order that suits them. All coursework takes place online, and learners may access lectures, materials, assignments, exams, and discussion boards at times convenient for them. They also benefit from academic advising, career services, technical assistance, and help with financial aid and scholarships.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Software Development
Available Concentrations: C++ Programming; Java Programming; Software Development; Visual C#
Tuition: $318/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (888) 545-3459
Email: smagalhaes@champlain.edu

6

Southwestern College

Winfield, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

Located in Wichita, Kansas, Southwestern College offers an online computer programming degree that prepares students to serve as effective computer systems analysts, web developers, database administrators, and business intelligence analysts. By the time they graduate, students know how to write a variety of programs for the web, execute business programming solutions, apply VBA programming methods, and develop computer program documentation.

Core courses within this online college computer programming degree include Java programming principles, project design, Microsoft Access, and HTML programming. One course focuses on using VBA to develop secure code that automates a variety of Microsoft Office tasks. Toward the end of the program, students complete a capstone in which they work on two projects that demonstrate the skills and knowledge they gained from their prior studies.

All Southwestern College distance learners enjoy access to a full suite of student services, including an online writing center, a digital library, career resources, and academic success representatives. The school also charges the same tuition for resident and nonresident students, with qualifying military members and their families benefiting from a special low tuition rate.

Eligible applicants must complete at least six college credits after high school while maintaining a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. To graduate from the program, students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA and complete 124 total credit hours, with at least 30 of those credits taken at Southwestern College. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Computer Programming
Tuition: $502/credit
Credit Requirements: 124 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (316) 684-5335
Email: enrollment@sckans.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook

7

Hodges University

Naples, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 27%

The Hodges University Fisher School of Technology delivers an online bachelor's degree in computer information technology with concentrations in software development and cybersecurity and networking. Each track totals 120 credits, including general education, major-specific, and elective classes.

Individuals pursuing the software development concentration take classes on Java programming, systems analysis, mobile application development, software engineering, and enterprise applications. Students in the cybersecurity and networking track explore topics like information security, project management, routing and switching, computer forensics, and incident response. They also conduct penetration testing to determine whether a computer or network has been compromised.

In both concentrations, students take classes in a predetermined sequence that allows them to graduate in 10 sessions — just under four years. The 120 total credits include 36 general education, 78 computer science, and six business credits. By the time they graduate, students can seek certifications in A+, Cisco certified network associate, Cisco certified entry networking technician, Linux+, Network+, and Security+.

To apply to one of these online computer programming degree programs, prospective students fill out an online application and participate in an in-person or virtual meeting with an admissions counselor who may ask for additional documentation regarding the applicant's academic history and program of interest. Hodges University's campus resides in Naples, a community just south of Fort Myers in southwest Florida. Students may choose to take classes online or on campus.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Software Development
Tuition: $570/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 3.5 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: Placement Exam

Contact
Phone: (800) 466-8017 x7847
Email: eabazi@hodges.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Limestone College

Gaffney, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

Limestone College delivers an online BS in computer science with a programming emphasis. The program enables students to solve various programming challenges so that they can thrive in their careers, focusing largely on computer and network architecture, cybersecurity, and systems administration.

Students in this 123-credit online degree take courses on advanced microcomputer applications; operating system fundamentals; project management; C#; and visual, imperative, and object-oriented programming. Toward the end of the program, students compete a three-credit capstone, applying what they learned through their previous coursework to a unique project. The course involves delivering weekly status reports, writing one or more research papers, and taking a final exam.

All online classes feature eight-week terms, with six terms throughout the year. Most classes do not include scheduled meeting times. Learners can access materials, assignments, discussions, and exams largely at their convenience. They may also take evening, in-person classes at the school's campus in Gaffney, South Carolina.

For admission, applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and submit official high school and/or college transcripts. Individuals under 21 years old and not part of the military must also provide their ACT or SAT scores. Designated as a VIQTORY Military-Friendly School, Limestone delivers flexible programs and special tuition discounts for service members and their families. Students enjoy access to academic advising, writing assistance, library resources, career services, and financial aid and scholarships.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science - Programming
Tuition: $441/credit
Credit Requirements: 123 credits
Program Length: 3 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (864) 489-7151
Email: bameling@limestone.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Baker College

Flint, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 13%

By seeking an online computer programming degree, Baker College students engage in coursework and experiences that prepare them for the constantly evolving worlds of software engineering, application development, cybersecurity, and network administration.

The 120-credit program, available online or on campus, features 71 credit hours of major-focused coursework, along with general education classes and electives. Core courses include subjects like Visual BASIC, database management, Java and C# programming, big-data analytics, and programming for mobile devices. A class on artificial intelligence explores how computers can act intelligently through search, knowledge representation, and logic. The course also examines past, current, and future trends in AI performance.

Students must take 18 credits of programming-specific classes, including computer architecture, systems development, report builder analytics, and Python programming. Additionally, they must complete 300 hours of a real-world learning experience through a computer science-related internship or job. Worth six total credits over 20 weeks, these experiences include a supervisor evaluation that determines the student's grade.

Eligible applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and submit their official transcripts. The college does not ask for ACT or SAT scores as part of the admission process. Enrolled distance learners may access resources like academic advising, career services, tech help, a writing center, and tutoring.

Baker College, located in Flint, Michigan, is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school charges the same tuition for in-state and nonresident students, while offering special discounts for active military members, National Guard and Reserve members, and individuals involved in the GoArmyEd program.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science - Computer Programming
Tuition: $400/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT optional

Contact
Phone: (855) 487-7888
Email: GetEnrolled@baker.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter


Interview with Vincent Sanders

Vincent Sanders

Vincent Sanders


Vincent Sanders is the founder of TG4 Solutions, a premier IT and business consulting firm. Prior to starting his consulting company, Vincent worked as an IT technologist in the telecommunications, financial services, apparel, and banking industries. He is a certified scrum master and an AWS associate solutions architect. Vincent is a proud alum of North Carolina State University, with bachelor’s degrees in both computer engineering and electrical engineering, and currently serves as a board member on the Young Alumni Advisory Board for the College of Engineering.

Why did you choose to earn a degree in computer engineering? Was this a field you were always interested in?

From an early age, I dreamed of changing the world with my talents. It wasn’t until my parents exposed me to technology in high school that computer engineering became a viable career path. After entering college, I gained a better understanding of computer engineering and the potential it offered in terms of achieving my career goals. It was at this point that I knew it would be my instrument for changing the world.

What was the job search like after completing your degree? Did you feel fully prepared when making the transition from school to the workplace?

With my previous experience as an engineering co-op student and intern, I was able to secure a full-time IT position prior to entering my last semester of my undergraduate program. Having already accepted a position prior to graduation, there was less pressure for me to figure out my post-graduation plans. However, I did continue to apply to other companies, but I was not successful in securing a job offer. I attribute my lack of proven development experience as the reason for my lack of success.

If I could go back, I would dedicate more time to doing projects outside of my course curriculum. I believe this would have provided more opportunities to display my technical acumen and enabled me to be more confident in my skills.

Imposter syndrome played a huge factor as to why I did not feel fully prepared when making the transition from school to the workplace. Upon starting my first day, my doubts started to subside as I reverted back to the characteristics and skills that allowed me to be successful in undergrad.

What are some crucial skills that you acquired through your bachelor's program?

Throughout my bachelor's programs, I learned the value of asking questions, collaboration, and reasoning. When working with people from different countries and backgrounds, asking questions is critical to ensuring everyone has the same understanding. Asking questions can also help to identify gaps in logic and/or requirements. Being able to work with people within and outside your team is important for career growth and resolving external dependencies. Typically, peer reviews is a portion of your midyear and year-end review. Having allies outside of your team who can sing your praises can be valuable when eyeing raises and promotions and exploring new opportunities.

Finally, being able to use reasoning to solve problems is the basis of any role. Without being able to creatively solve problems, your career growth will be severely stunted.

What are some of the challenges you face in your work on a day-to-day basis?

I constantly have to balance speed versus quality in everything I do. As a software developer, time and resources are the biggest constraints to the solutions I deliver. I have to use my knowledge of the business and understanding of customer needs to determine the best solution that will provide the most value within the provided timeline.

Being a minority in technology presents its own challenges, as I typically do not see African-Americans in leadership roles. This can be discouraging when planning out my career goals, as it’s harder to find mentors who have climbed the corporate ladder and understand the challenges of being black in tech. To overcome this, I find it helpful to connect with other African-Americans in tech by attending events such as AfroTech that provide a safe space to share my experiences and learn from others.

What are some of the major differences among the various roles you've had in your career? Which did you prefer the most, and why?

In my career I have held the following roles: software test specialist, quality assurance engineer, systems analyst, business analyst, and application engineer. The people you interact with have been the major difference between these roles. As an analyst, you are the liaison between the business stakeholders and the tech team; within a quality assurance or developer role, you communicate with the analyst, QA engineers, and software developers.

Early in my career, I preferred the analyst role because it provided an opportunity for me to learn all aspects of the business. Within this role, you hone your interviewing and communication skills, all of which make you a better developer once you start traversing the corporate ladder and begin to hold lead and/or architecture roles.

How have you seen the computing industry change during your career? What changes do you anticipate for the industry in the coming years?

During my career, the computing industry has changed from a specialist industry to a more “T-shaped” industry. When I first entered the industry, business analysts wrote requirements, developers developed software, and testers tested software. Now, each role is expected to have an understanding of the entire software development cycle and to pitch in where needed.

With data being everywhere, I believe in the coming years data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will play a huge role in shaping the computing industry. Currently, there is a lack of data science professionals in the industry. That, combined with the amount of data being collected on a daily basis, means companies have yet to fully tap into the potential of the data they possess and/or have the ability to obtain.

What advice would you give to students who are considering a bachelor's degree in computer programming?

Any student considering a computer programming degree should know that the learning never stops. New technologies and best practices are always being created, and you should never become complacent or the technology will pass you by. Also, students should find older students within their program to help mentor them and advise them on their course curriculum.

Meet More of our Experts


What to Expect from an Online Bachelor's Degree in Computer Programming

The best online computer programming programs prepare students for a variety of careers in the field of computer science, often allowing them to specialize their degrees. Details may vary depending on the school and program.

Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Computer Programming

Individuals hoping to enroll in one of the best computer programming schools must meet a number of academic requirements. Applicants pursuing a bachelor's in computer programming must possess either a high school diploma or GED. Most schools also set minimum GPA requirements for previous coursework, often mandating GPAs of 2.5 or higher. The best online programming schools also request standardized test scores from either the ACT or SAT, and most pay particular attention to scores related to science, math, and reasoning. Bachelor's programs do not typically mandate prior professional experience, since many undergraduate students come directly from high school. Advanced degrees, however, may require relevant work experience.

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN COMPUTER PROGRAMMING

Courses may vary depending on program requirements, but most online bachelor's degrees in computer programming include the following courses in their core curriculum.

  • Computer Architecture: This course examines the structures of computer systems by familiarizing students with trends in computer architecture. Students gain skills in performance measurement, memory hierarchies, computer arithmetic, and data path design and control. Students also learn how to write assembly language code. These skills prepare students for careers as software engineers and systems administrators.
  • Computer Graphics: Students learn 2D and 3D concepts and algorithms used in shader-based programming. Course topics include animation, material simulation, and interactive user interfaces. The course familiarizes students with software architecture used to implement coloring effects and textures. These skills allow students to pursue careers in computer graphic design, web development, and animation.
  • Programming Languages: This course introduces students to programming languages and equips them with skills to write secure computer programs. Coursework familiarizes students with the syntax and semantics of programming languages, and students learn how to design programs using imperative, functional, and declarative languages. Computer programmers, computer science modelers, and software developers use these skills.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN COMPUTER PROGRAMMING

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Data Science Students in this concentration gain knowledge of the data models, methods, and tools used in data analysis. Data science students acquire skills in programming languages, computer architecture, and mobile computing. Concentration courses range from data warehousing to streaming data analytics. Data scientists, scientific researchers.
Software Engineering This concentration prepares students to work with complex operational systems and data analysis programs. With an emphasis on contemporary IT trends, students learn how to navigate the latest software technology. Courses include topics in data mining, machine learning, and software assurance. Software engineer, systems analyst
Video Game Design and Development With a focus on human-to-computer interactions and graphics, this concentration serves students with an interest in video games and entertainment technology. Game design students gain skills in technology communication and become familiar with compiler design and object-oriented programming. Game design manager, game programmer, Software engineer

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN COMPUTER PROGRAMMING?

Most online bachelor's in computer programming programs comprise 120 credits, which full-time students can complete in four years. Typical program curricula include both general education coursework and major requirements. Factors influencing program length may include whether students enroll full time or part time, how many credits the degree requires, and whether the program implements internship or capstone project requirements. Most programs accept transfer credits, which may shorten program length.

Students earn their online bachelor's in computer programming either at an individual pace or as part of a cohort. Both learning formats promote supportive online learning environments. Individually paced programs often admit students throughout the year, and these learners pursue their degrees at their convenience. The cohort-learning model admits students at the beginning of select terms, such as fall or spring, and these students form a supportive learning community that follows a cohesive study plan.

Skills and Competencies Gained in an Online Bachelor's Program in Computer Programming

Each program offers a unique skill set to its students, and these skills may vary depending on each student's chosen courses and specialization. However, most computer programming degrees entail at least a few common skills to propel students into the computer science field. For more precise information, speak with department representatives from your prospective school.

  • Coding Language Fluency: Whether they learn Python, JavaScript, C++, HTML, Ruby on Rails, or any of the other programming languages, graduates benefit from knowledge and fluency in one or more coding languages.
  • Attention to Detail: Coding is a laborious, tedious process, requiring intense, sustained focus. Computer programming students learn the value of paying attention to details early in the coding process, thus avoiding major mistakes later on.
  • Patience: Programming typically requires many long hours of work. Students learn to practice patience and focus when programming.
  • Communication: Computer programmers often work with designers, marketers, and other administrative staff to understand their vision and create the program, app, or other deliverable accordingly. Communication plays a key role in this process.
  • Flexibility: You and your client may start out with a specific vision for your final product, but this vision is likely to evolve and change over time. The best programmers know how to roll with changes, using their creativity to produce a satisfactory product.

Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Computer Programming Prepares For

  • Professional Engineer Licensure: Computer and software engineering students may choose to pursue PE licensure. Recent graduates complete four steps: The Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, four years of supervised engineering work, state licensure requirements, and The Principles of Engineering Exam. PE licensure can work to advance your engineering career.
  • Computer Programming Languages Certification: Students interested in working as computer programmers, software developers, or database managers can boost their programming expertise through additional courses offered by accredited certification programs. These courses teach programming in popular software platforms, including Java, Visual Basic, and Microsoft Access. Before enrolling in a certification program, contact your state's licensing board to see about additional requirements.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Computer Programming Degrees

The best online computer programming degrees come from accredited universities, which participate in peer review processes to ensure academic accountability. Universities can obtain either regional or national accreditation, both of which exist across the country. Public nonprofit universities usually hold regional accreditation, while private, for-profit universities — along with vocational and distance learning programs — often seek national accreditation. Credits from regionally accredited universities tend to transfer more easily, and some regionally accredited schools only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions.

The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) is an accrediting body that specializes in distance learning. It sets standards and policies that online programs accredited by the DEAC follow. Program-specific accrediting bodies, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering (ABET), ensure that programs adhere to the standards of their profession. ABET accredits applied science, computing, and engineering programs, and its educational standards are developed by technical professionals.

Accreditation organizations are overseen by the Department of Education (ED) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), both of which promote student success by setting education standards. This standardization process requires accrediting bodies to participate in ongoing self studies and peer reviews. You can review a program's accreditation through the extensive databases available on either the CHEA website and the ED website, which include all accredited schools in the country.

Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Computer Programming Graduates

JOB PLACEMENT

An online bachelor's in computer programming prepares students to choose from a variety of career paths in the information technology (IT) field. Each occupation imposes a unique set of tasks, but all require strong analytical, communication, and organizational skills. Computer network architects and software developers rely on creativity to meet organizations' networking and software needs. They often work 40 hours or more each week and must travel frequently to complete projects.

Computer Network Architect

Computer network architects develop data communication networks ranging from small in-office connections to cloud infrastructure. They rely heavily on the organization's business plan to design appropriate networks. Other job tasks include researching emerging network technologies, upgrading hardware, and implementing security patches.

Median Annual Salary: $104,650
Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Computer Systems Analyst

Computer systems analysts work with organizations to evaluate their current IT systems and develop new, more efficient ones. They research new technologies, install new systems, and train system users. Systems analysts often specialize in computer systems specific to their organization, such as financial computer systems.

Median Annual Salary: $88,270
Projected Growth Rate: 9%

Database Administrator

Database administrators (DBAs) secure organizational data, create administrator databases, and restore data to prevent loss. They ensure optimal system performance and accessibility for data analysts. DBAs conduct general tasks, such as assessing the data needs of a company.

Median Annual Salary: $87,020
Projected Growth Rate: 11%

Software Developer

Software developers design software to meet user needs. They recommend software updates and provide maintenance for existing programs. These developers design every component of a system and create diagrams for programmers to follow when writing software codes. They often work with other computer specialists to supervise software development projects.

Median Annual Salary: $103,560
Projected Growth Rate: 24%

Web Developer

Web developers work both in-house for individual companies and in freelance capacities to design and build websites. They collaborate with their employers to understand the needs and aesthetic desires for the prospective site. They then write code, integrate graphics and media, and commission content to fill each page.

Median Annual Salary: $67,990
Projected Growth Rate: 15%

SALARIES OF MAJOR COMPUTER PROGRAMMING OCCUPATIONS BY EXPERIENCE LEVEL
Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees Median Salary for Late-Career Employees
Computer Network Architect $85,000 $103,500 $120,500 $127,000
Computer Systems Analyst $58,500 $70,000 $76,500 $84,000
Database Administrator $61,000 $78,000 $89,000 $92,000
Software Developer $65,000 $79,000 $89,000 $95,000
Web Developer $54,500 $64,500 $70,000 $77,500

Graduates from computer programming degree colleges can expect vastly different earning potentials, depending on their chosen careers. Computer network architects enjoy the highest starting income and pay throughout their careers, while web developers and computer system analysts earn the smallest salaries. Professionals looking for the highest wage increase over time may consider software developer roles. Computer programming graduates should consider their prospective industry and location, as well, both of which may significantly influence income.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Joining a professional organization provides you with opportunities for career and academic advancement. Members gain access to valuable resources, including professional networks, job postings, and the latest in IT research. Many professional organizations offer continuing education programs, including conferences, webinars, and online certification training. Members may access scholarly publications and digital libraries, and student members benefit from scholarship opportunities, career advice, resume writing, and job and internship alerts. Students who become members of professional organizations learn how to advocate for the IT industry and become familiar with policies impacting the profession.

  • IEEE Computer Society: With more than 60,000 members globally, the IEEE Computer Society publishes 17 scholarly journals and 13 magazines focusing on the latest trends in technology. Its members enjoy access to training and development programs, conferences, and webinars.
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): ACM provides numerous networking opportunities for students and professionals, including 37 special interest groups in the areas of artificial intelligence and hardware design.
  • Computing Research Association (CRA): CRA offers a variety of professional resources, including workforce reports, best practice memos, and scholarly publications. It hosts a biennial career mentoring workshop for IT professionals interested in higher education careers.
  • CompTIA: CompTIA, an association for IT professionals and students, offers insight and tools in the areas of IT research, mobility, security, and finance. Student members benefit from webinars and training events, including cloud computing and data recovery.

Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Computer Programming Degree

Computer programming students may choose from several financial aid options, starting with assistance from the federal government. Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their loan eligibility. Online bachelor's in computer programming programs often provide students with alternatives to paying for their education out of pocket. Program-specific financial aid may include scholarships for enrollment in the upcoming term, military and public service discounts, and interest-free monthly payment plans. Professional organizations also offer scholarships for computer science students.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately 66% of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but plenty of overlooked financing options are available to reduce students' financial burdens.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the FAFSA marks a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown of the process, plus answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you can find for campus-based learning. Learn about the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs create a flexible, affordable alternative for single parents interested in earning their degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Bachelor's in Computer Programming Degrees of 2018
Ranking School Location
1 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
2 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
3 Champlain College Burlington, VT
4 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
5 Hodges University Naples, FL
6 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
7 Husson University Bangor, ME
8 Southwestern College Winfield, KS
9 Limestone College Gaffney, SC
10 Baker College Flint, MI
Best Online Bachelor's in Computer Programming Degrees of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
2 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
3 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
4 Champlain College Burlington, VT
5 Southwestern College Winfield, KS
6 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
7 Husson University Bangor, ME
8 Hodges University Naples, FL
9 Limestone College Gaffney, SC
10 Baker College Flint, MI