Computers as machines are not much good without the software that makes them do the numerous tasks for which they are intended. The job of the computer programmer is to write sets of instructions called programs to do whatever task that an end user needs. They also do the behind-the-scenes programming involved for complex web pages that not only display but process information as well.
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Be sure to request information from more than one school in order to compare which program is best for you.
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- Computer Information Science (Bachelor's)
As the largest private university in North America, University of Phoenix has locations nationwide, and is available online in most countries around the world. Whether you're seeking a college degree at an associate's, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral level, we can help you reach your academic goal and sooner than you might think.
- BS in Information Technology-Multimedia and Visual Comm
- A.A. in Information Technology
- B.S. in Information Technology
- And more...
For over 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, quality career education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions.
- Information Technology, AS (Online)
- Information Technology Management, BS (Online)
- Management Information Systems (MIS), BS (Online)
Take your career to new heights with Colorado Tech ! Since 1965, Colorado Technical University has helped thousands of students achieve success in business, management and technology careers. Learn more today.
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Software Application Programming
- Bachelor of Science in Technology Management
- Doctorate Computer Science - Executive Format
- And more...
DeVry University provides quality education that employers respect, and is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (ncahlc.org), the same organization that accredits many other well-known public and private schools.
- Bachelor's - Technical Management
- Bachelor's - Computer Information Systems
- Bachelor's - Computer Information Systems - Business Management
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Thanks to Florida Tech offering intensive degree programs 100% online, students located all over the world have the opportunity to access the same world-class education as those who attend classes on the main campus in Melbourne, Florida. As a Florida Tech online student, you'll experience dynamic individualized relationships with your instructors. Working online with Florida Tech professors and students in an interactive environment provides you with a unique educational experience.
- Master of Science in Information Technology
- Mini MBA Certificate/Information Technology Management
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems
- And more...
- Associate of Science in Computer Information Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems
You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.
At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.
- Bachelor's (BIT) - Programming
- Master's Degree in Information Technology
- Bachelor's (BIT) - Software Analysis and Development
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Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*
- BSIT/ Information Systems Track - Multiplatform Software Development
- AASIT - Multiplatform Software Development
- MS in Information Technology
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- M.S. in Information Technology - Information Security
- B.S. in Information Technology - Self Designed
- M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering 2
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At a Glance
Other Job Titles: Computer Systems Analyst
Salary Range*: $41,000-$114,000; Median $71,000
Education/Training Required: Associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree
Desired Skills/Aptitude: Analytical, troubleshooting, ability to focus, attention to detail
Certification/Licensing: Many certification options; no licensing requirement
Locations with Best Opportunities: Colorado, California, Washington, D.C., North Carolina
Employment Outlook: Increase by 12% through 2020 (fast as average)
Opportunities for Advancement: Can advance to management or high-level business analyst positions; can advance to be lead programmer on large-scale projects
What a Computer Programmer Does
Computer programming involves writing machine instructions (software) to make a processor produce desired results. Programmers write these instructions in whatever programming language the server can translate such as PHP, Java, C++, HTML, ASP, and Visual Basic. This writing process is also called coding.
Besides writing code for new software, they also:
- Gather user requirements for new software or changes to existing software
- Correct errors that arise from the use of software
- Make modifications to software to perform some new task
- Test software to ensure it produces what it is intended to
- Write software documentation and user’s manuals
- Train users on software
- Provide support for users when certain error conditions occur
Computer programmers are the link between a business problem and making a computer provide a solution to it. Thus, programmers will typically meet with business leadership to gather their requirements for solving their problem through software.
The workplace of a computer programmer is almost always in an office setting. Some programmers may have to travel to remote customer sites on occasion. A normal day for a programmer involves sitting at a computer for many hours while writing new programs or making changes to existing ones.
Part of a programmer’s day may also be spent in meetings with management listening to proposals for the development of new software or modifications to existing systems.
Usually a day does not go by where there is a software error that needs to be investigated. Software errors are usually reported by users to the company’s help desk where the problem is prioritized and assigned. Software errors will always be directed to the programming department and assigned to a programmer for investigation and correction. Typically, if a programmer was the author of a program, help desk problem reports will come his way if the error is associated with his software.
Education and Certification
Computer programmers gain entry into the field by completing either an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology. Those with associate’s degrees can increase their opportunities by finishing their bachelor’s degree.
Those who complete bachelor’s degrees in information technology oftentimes have a concentration in business with computer programming classes. Those with computer science degrees usually work for scientific and technology companies while those with information technology degrees can work for a variety of businesses. The latter might work for insurance companies, hospital business offices, and financial investment companies.
Certification is not a requirement to enter into this field however it does open the doors to working on projects of increasing complexity and higher pay. There is no one certification that fits all. Software vendors such as Microsoft offer a long list of different certifications such as in the different programming languages, networks, and systems programming. Programmers are not required to be licensed.
Software technology changes constantly. Programmers usually need to know more than one programming language and be aware of any new changes in the field. It is for this reason they should enroll in continuing education programs to keep their skills up-to-date.
*Salary Source: BLS May 2012