Learn Computer Programming Online

Find out the top computer programming careers. Learn more about programming certification and the best online computer programming courses.

With so many businesses and services focusing on digital content, computer programmers are in high demand. Computer programming is a broad field, with many specializations available. Pursuing a career as a computer programmer is much different from other fields. The education requirements greatly vary depending on what kind of job you want. In some cases, you can complete a short certification class to get started as a computer programmer. Other careers require you to get a traditional college degree.

There are also advanced programming classes, which require previous coding knowledge. Some classes list these as recommended skills and do not require actual certification. For example, some classes assume students are already familiar with Java and Python as programming languages. You do not have to show certification to enroll, but if you are unfamiliar with these programming languages, you will not understand the classes. Listed below are some of the top online schools for computer programming and several possible career paths.

Common Types of Computer Programming Careers

One of the most common starting careers for computer programmer is web developer. Web developers often work as freelancers. As a web developer, your main job is to create a functioning website for other businesses. Some web developers are paid a flat fee to create a website, with the business running the website after it is created. In other cases, you are paid to maintain the website even after creation. Web developers who work full time typically make between $65,000 to $75,000. Typically, you do not need any formal education or certification to be a programmer. Clients are more interested in your portfolio, though you can use your programming education to help boost your resume if your portfolio is limited.

Another common career for programmers is software development. Software developers create programs and applications for computers, tablets and phones. Some developers work alone, while others team up with additional coders, typically for larger projects. Full time developers make around $100,000 every year. While there are no set education requirements to be a software developer, most companies want programmers with at least a bachelor’s degree, but you may be able to get around these requirements with the right programming certification.

Another job frequently requiring a bachelor’s degree is system engineer. As a system engineer, you are not developing programs. Instead, you work with existing applications, addressing any concerns or issues, coming up with fixes when necessary. System engineers are required to understand multiple programming languages, which is why a bachelor’s degree is almost always a necessity. On average, they make between $85,000 and $90,000 each year.

System analysts require a similar skillset to engineers. Analysts focus on upgrading existing systems, integrating new software based on the needs of the company. Understanding computer code is an important part of determining which programs are compatible and ensuring system functionality. Analysts are traditionally paid the same salary as an engineer.

Common Computer Programming Certification Courses

There are many certification classes available for computer programmers. Certification classes focus on specific aspects of programming, either a programming language or working with specific software. Which certification course is right for you largely depends on your interests. If you are interested in developing and selling software, you can become an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE). While Adobe is largely known for editing software, you can use the Adobe platform to develop other programs as well. Adobe is commonly used when creating apps for social media sites and other online media.

One of the most common certification courses focuses on C and C++. Both programming languages have been used as far back as the early 60’s. Today, C and C++ are still some of the most commonly used programming languages. The other two popular programming languages are Java and Python. If you do not have a programming degree, many clients will accept certification in these popular programming languages as an alternative.

The cost for certification classes varies, but most are under $500. The length of the courses also varies, lasting at minimum a few weeks, with advanced courses running for two to three months. Courses are offered both in-person and online.

Top Online Universities for Computer Programming

Computer programming is commonly taught online at universities. Any financial aid you would use for in-person classes is also applicable to online courses. For some students, the biggest concern about online classes is the large class sizes, which make it difficult for professors to individually focus on students. Bellevue University is one of the top programming colleges with smaller class sizes. Online classes are limited to a maximum of 24 students. It also offers 24/7 tech support for all students, and has an extensive online library. Classes cost around $400 per credit.

Another online course is available from Western Governors University. WGU has offered online courses as far back as 1997, with options available for both undergraduate and graduate students. The school hosts a sophisticated software development program, which allows you to pick between either JavaScript or C#. There are also certification courses for Oracle Database SQL and CompTIA A+. Tuition is around $3,000 each term.

Limestone college has an advanced computer programming degree, which normally takes four years to complete. There is a special program which allows you to take an accelerated course, earning a dual bachelor’s and MBA over five years. Each credit is $440, which makes it a pricier option for longer degrees, but you graduate with all the necessary knowledge and skills to get normally exclusive programming jobs.

If you are concerned about finding a job, Davenport University has an excellent computer programming course. The university places a greater emphasis on applying your skills after graduation, with the majority of students finding a job within six months of earning their degree or certification. All students are required to pick a specialty, with some examples including computer architecture, artificial intelligence and algorithms. Davenport is one of the pricier colleges, nearly $800 per credit, but discounts are available for students living in the state.