Breaking into the computer and IT services industry as a programmer or developer can seem daunting at first. If you have ever wondered where to get started or how to make yourself more appealing to employers, consider earning an online bachelor's in computer programming.

This guide covers what to expect from an online bachelor's in computer programming in terms of the curriculum, admission requirements, post-graduation job opportunities, and more.

What Are the Best Computer Programming Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
2 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
3 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
4 Southwestern College Winfield, KS
5 Limestone College Gaffney, SC
6 Champlain College Burlington, VT
7 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
8 Husson University Bangor, ME
9 Hodges University Naples, FL
10 Baker College Flint, MI

A bachelor's in computer programming can lead to several high-paying, dynamic careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that computer programmers make an average annual wage of $84,280. Additionally, from 2018-2028, the BLS projects a 21% growth rate for software developer jobs. Earning an online bachelor's in computer programming increases your odds of securing employment in the steadily growing computer and IT services industry.

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How We Rank Schools

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2020 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Computer Programming Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

Western Governors University has specialized in online education since 1997, offering an array of accredited undergraduate and graduate programs. WGU's online catalog includes several computer science-related majors, including a highly-regarded online bachelor's in software development.

This innovative program requires students to choose between a JavaScript and C# language track, which allows students to take courses in software and mobile application and development tailored to a specific programming language. Students complete competency units through examinations rather than traditional credits. Program completion includes certifications, such as CompTIA A+ and Oracle Database SQL.

WGU holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Bachelor of Science in Software Development
School Status: Private
Tuition: $3,520/term
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

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

2

Bellevue University

Bellevue, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 0%

Established in 1966, Bellevue University focuses on providing working professionals with quality distance learning programs. Online offerings from BU include an online bachelor's in computer programming.

The 127-credit program typically takes four years to complete and caters to both established programmers looking for professional advancement and beginners just entering the industry. Learners leave the program with a strong foundation in the Java, Ruby on Rails, and SQL programming languages and application frameworks. Other course topics include web scripting, information technology project management, and business telecommunications.

All BU students must complete nine credits of the Kirkpatrick signature series of courses on American intellectual traditions. BU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Bachelor of Science in Software Development
School Status: Private
Tuition: $425/credit
Credit Requirements: 127 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (402) 293-2000
Email: BRUINSupportServices@bellevue.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Fort Hays State University

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

One of the largest four year institutions in Kansas, Fort Hays State University serves around 15,000 students annually. Both in-state and out-of-state learners should consider FHSU's online bachelor's in computer programming.

The 120-credit curriculum devotes 65 credits to required networking cognates; math cognates; and advanced topics in programming, engineering, and computer science. The school offers credit for prior learning for some mathematics cognates. Students can choose between two specialized tracks in business and networking. Graduates often pursue FHSU's online graduate majors in computer science, web development, and cybersecurity.

Online students take courses through Blackboard, usually in an asynchronous format. FHSU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $176/credit in-state; $511/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact

Phone: (785) 628-5666
Email: tigers@fhsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Southwestern College

Winfield, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

A private, Methodist-affiliated college based in Winfield, Kansas, Southwestern College now offers several degrees through distance learning. Standout online programs at SC include a fully online bachelor's in computer programming.

The 124-credit curriculum emphasizes hands-on projects, including an application programming and development project and a capstone. Graduates leave the program capable of designing and developing applications with Visual Basic, Java, and SQL. SC's general education requirements include courses in composition and public speaking.

Applicants must have a 2.0 minimum GPA and a minimum of six college credits for consideration. SC holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Programming
School Status: Public
Tuition: $550/credit
Credit Requirements: 124 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact

Phone: (800) 846-1543
Email: webmaster@sckans.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Limestone College

Gaffney, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

Gaffney, South Carolina-based Limestone College has cemented its reputation as a provider of competitive distance education programs. The online catalog at Limestone includes several quality offerings in computer science and IT, including a fully online bachelor's in computer programming.

The 120-credit degree typically takes four years to complete. The school also allows students to take courses at an accelerated pace to earn a dual bachelor's and MBA in five years. Course topics include basic concepts of the internet and the world wide web, advanced microcomputer applications, and introduction to computer science.

Distance learners access mostly asynchronous courses through Blackboard. Limestone holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Computer programming
Tuition: $441/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

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

6

Champlain College

Burlington, VT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

A leader in online education in the Northeast, Champlain College offers over 60 online degrees geared toward working professionals, among them a fully online bachelor's in computer programming.

The 120-credit, four-year program caters to working adults. The curriculum covers networking fundamentals, foundations of cybersecurity, and project management. Graduates leave the program with knowledge in Java, SQL, and Python. Students can earn a professional certification in Java programming, Visual C#, or C++ programming along with their bachelor's degree.

Online students access mostly asynchronous courses through Canvas. Champlain holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Bachelor of Science in Software Development
School Status: Private
Tuition: $318/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (866) 637-6292
Email: online@champlain.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

Davenport University

Grand Rapids, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

One of the oldest four-year institutions in Michigan, Davenport University offers around 50 majors across fourteen campuses within Michigan, including an online college. The school's expansive online catalog features a fully online bachelor's in computer programming.

The 120-credit bachelor's in computer science program usually takes four years to complete and offers concentrations in artificial intelligence, computer theory and algorithms, and gaming and simulation. Courses include concepts of programming languages, software engineering, and data structures/algorithms. The school gives students the option to pursue their bachelor's along with a professional certification in C#, Java, or Linux.

DU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Artificial intelligence; gaming and simulation; computer architecture and algorithms
Tuition: $777/credit in-state; $519/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

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

8

Husson University

Bangor, ME Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

Established in Bangor, Maine, in 1898, Husson University has embraced distance education, offering over a dozen fully online degrees and certificates, including an online bachelor's in computer programming.

The 122-credit program typically takes 12-24 months to complete. By offering courses in business, psychology, and project management, the program's curriculum caters to students interested in applying software development skills to a business enterprise. Computer science-related courses include database design, current trends in IT, and system analysis and design.

Online students access mostly asynchronous courses through Canvas. Husson holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Bachelor of Science in Integrated Technology
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Software development
Tuition: $360/credit
Credit Requirements: 121-122 credits
Program Length: 12-24 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact

Phone: (207) 941-7000
Email: admit@husson.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Hodges University

Naples, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 22%

Founded in 1990, Hodges University serves southwestern Florida and the world with on-campus and online programs geared toward working professionals, including an online bachelor's in computer programming.

The 120-credit program typically takes four years to complete. Courses include advanced computer applications, introduction to database management systems, and mobile application development. The program allows students to earn their degree with a professional certification, such as Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), A+, or Linux+. Many graduates go on to pursue online graduate certificates in IT and computer science through Hodges.

Online students access largely asynchronous coursework through Blackboard. Hodges holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Bachelor's in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Software development
Tuition: $575/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (239) 482-0019
Email: studentexperience@hodges.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

Baker College

Flint, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 19%

A private college based in Flint, Michigan, Baker College has established a reputation as a leader in distance education programs. Baker now offers an affordable online bachelor's in computer programming.

The 121-credit program allows students to take courses either part time or full time. Students become fluent in Java and C++ and take courses in Python and emerging programming languages. Other notable courses include programming for mobile devices, advanced computer architecture, and artificial intelligence. The curriculum culminates in a 10-week, 150-hour learning experience seminar.

Baker holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Bachelor's in Computer Science
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Computer programming
Tuition: $405/credit
Credit Requirements: 121 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (800) 964-4299
Email: library@baker.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Online Bachelor's in Computer Programming Program Overview

Though curricula vary between schools, the typical online bachelor's in computer programming/a> pathway covers several core topics, including programming languages, algorithms and data structures, and the basics of computer science. Graduates leave their bachelor's program with a strong foundation in commonly used coding languages, such as Java, C#, and C/C+.

To learn about managing and navigating computer and network systems, students take introductory courses in operating system management and computer architecture and organization. Other elective topics, such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, allow students to customize their degree according to their interests and pursue a specialized degree track.

Some learners treat an online bachelor's in computer programming as a terminal degree. However, others go on to pursue a graduate-level computer science degree to advance as a developer in a specialized field, such as artificial intelligence, or qualify for a career in research.

Common Bachelor's in Computer Programming Degree Courses

Computer Programming With Java

This course familiarizes students with JavaScript syntax and concepts, which they use in several software engineering and programming projects.

Algorithms and Data Structures

In this course, students learn the basics of the design and analysis of algorithms. Hands-on coursework shows students how to use algorithm implementation techniques when solving practical computational problems. Topics include algorithms for sorting, string processing, searching, and graphing. The course also covers the evaluation of divide-and-conquer, recursive backtracking, and algorithm efficiency.

Cybersecurity

This course covers core issues in information security. Topics include data encryption, digital forensics, and vulnerability assessment. The course may culminate in a collaborative or solo project, such as a penetration test of a system accompanied by a written report.

Cloud Computing

In this course, students investigate cloud computing and its influence on the IT industry. Topics include application programming interfaces used by cloud service providers, application development using a software-as-a-service model, and security testing for cloud applications. Students exit the course able to use the cloud as an infrastructure for different services.

Operating Systems Foundations

This course examines foundational concepts, techniques, and skills needed to manage operating systems. Some courses may work with an open-source operating system derived from UNIX/LINUX rather than a conventional operating system such as Windows. Concepts covered include user commands and utilities, graphical user interfaces, editors, and shells.

Online Bachelor's in Computer Programming Admission Requirements

  • Minimum GPA

    Most schools require a minimum GPA — usually between 2.5 and 3.0. However, some programs may award probationary admission to students with a lower GPA if they have high SAT or ACT scores.

  • Test Scores

    Many accredited schools require students to submit SAT or ACT scores for consideration for undergraduate programs. However, some programs may prefer placement assessments, such as the ALEKS online program.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    Some schools may ask applicants to submit up to three letters of recommendation. Letter-writers should be teachers and/or mentors with whom you have a positive relationship.

  • Transcripts

    You need to request transcripts from all previously attended schools. This usually entails filling out a transcript request application and paying a small fee. This process can take a few weeks.

  • Application

    Once you have gathered all relevant materials, fill out your application to the program. Generally, applicants need to submit a fee — usually $40-$80 — with their application.


Online Bachelor's in Computer Programming Career Paths

The following list of careers represents some entry-level offerings available to computer programming majors. In general, upward mobility in the computer and IT services industry does not necessarily require a graduate-level education. Some developers may wish to pursue a master's in order to specialize further in an emerging field or gain a foothold in research, but most employers hire bachelor's degree-holders to fill well-compensated jobs.

Licensure requirements for computer programmers are very uncommon. However, programmers can earn several professional certifications to improve their marketability, such as the C programming language certified associate credential from the C++ institute.


Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with a degree in computer programming?

A degree in computer programming can qualify you for several entry-level positions in the field. In addition to working as programmers and software developers, graduates can pursue work as network architects, information system managers, and information security analysts.

How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree in computer programming?

It typically takes four years to earn an online bachelor's in computer programming. However, this timeline can vary depending on several factors, including whether you take courses part time or full time or whether you can transfer credit from previous college courses.

Do you need a degree in computer science to be a programmer?

Some employers looking for programmers and developers do not necessarily require a degree in computer science; in the computer and IT services industry, practical skills related to programming languages and information systems often count as much as a degree.

How much does it cost to get a degree in computer programming?

Learners can expect to pay anywhere from $40,000-$120,000 on a computer programming degree from an accredited school.

How much can you make with a bachelor's in computer programming?

Online bachelor's in computer programming graduates have the potential to make a very comfortable living after graduation. For example, the BLS reports that 90th percentile wages in computer programming are around $134,000 per year. Most professionals with jobs in computer and IT services make $60,000-$100,000 annually.

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