Guide to Getting Your Computer Programming Associate Degree Online

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Updated December 22, 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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The computer industry is growing and expanding exponentially. An online associate degree in computer programming — with its focus on basic computer science, coding languages, and operating systems — can launch you into a rewarding and lucrative career.

Earning potential depends on position, degree, and experience level, but computer programmers earn an average salary of $95,640, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). An associate degree provides a firm foundation in basic concepts so graduates can qualify for entry-level positions or pursue a four-year degree program.

Keep reading to learn more about what to expect from an online computer programming associate degree program, including possible career paths and further degree opportunities.

What Will You Learn in a Computer Programming Associate Degree Online Program?

Components of an online associate in computer programming vary by school, but typical courses explore:

Students will also take general education courses.

Completing an associate program may qualify individuals for entry-level positions in computer programming or other computer careers. Many programs prepare students to transfer to a four-year program. Earning a bachelor's degree may qualify individuals for career advancement opportunities and increase their earning potential.

Common Courses

Introduction to Computer Programming

In this introductory course, students solve programming issues by developing coding programs that input data, process it, and generate an output or solution. Coursework may cover computer functions, the internet, binary numbers, and hexadecimal numbers.

Computer Operating Systems

This course develops proficiency in microcomputer operating systems. Students explore disk and file management, system configurations, menu-driven processing, and graphical user interfaces. Coursework may also provide an overview of the interaction between software applications and databases to give students a deeper understanding of a system's process and troubleshooting methods.

Web Design and Development

This course emphasizes the basic concepts of HTML5, cascading style sheets, accessibility, and responsive web design. This course typically includes an overview of operating systems and teaches students to design web elements across multiple computing devices. Students practice web design skills through hands-on learning.

Programming in C++

This course teaches students how to use the C programming language. Coursework gives students experience in designing, documenting, debugging, and executing C++ programs. Students also learn the history of computer programming languages, data types, and structured programming.

Introduction to Java Programming

This course teaches the basic concepts of the Java programming language. Students also learn how to create the proper environment to develop Java programs.

Core Skills Gained

An online associate degree in computer programming aims to build a strong foundation in core industry topics like database management and coding languages:

Database Management

Coursework in operating systems and database management help students understand and utilize the interaction of programs, applications, and databases across multiple platforms.

Coding Languages

To succeed as a computer programmer, proficiency in coding languages and understanding operating systems is essential. By developing competency in common programming languages, an associate degree in computer programming prepares students to create and implement programs, applications, and websites across operating systems.

What Can You Do With a Computer Programming Associate Degree Online?

Earning an online associate computer programming degree is the first step to launching a computer science career. An associate degree teaches students the basic concepts and skills needed to qualify for some entry-level positions.

Read on to learn more about potential career paths open to online associate program graduates.

Average Annual Salary: $85,490

Developers create, test, and execute websites for clients. They typically use coding languages like HTML or XL, integrate graphics and other elements, and monitor website activity. Web developer jobs are available at private and government companies of all sizes. You can also choose to be a freelance or self-employed web developer.

Average Annual Salary: $99,020

A computer systems analyst studies industry trends to decide whether or not to implement new technologies. Other tasks may include overseeing software installation. They also design, test, implement, and train users on systems.

Average Annual Salary: $71,040

A computer support specialist tests and evaluates network systems. Other tasks include system maintenance, troubleshooting, and training users on system features. An associate degree is typically the minimum requirement, but some employers may require candidates with a bachelor's degree.

Average Annual Salary: $95,640

A computer programmer creates programs using common coding languages like Java and C++. A programmer also tests, maintains, and troubleshoots bugs in code. Programmers should possess strong attention to detail and problem-solving skills.

Average Annual Salary: $89,460

A network systems administrator organizes, installs, and supports an organization's network. Other tasks include training users, monitoring security, and solving systems issues. The ability to multitask and communicate is essential to this position.

Transferring to a Four-Year Degree Program After Getting Your Computer Programming Associate Degree Online

Many employers in computer science prefer or require candidates with bachelor's degrees. Because of this, individuals should consider enrolling in an accredited four-year program.

After earning an associate in computer programming online, students may pursue a variety of computer-related bachelor's degrees, including computer programming, web development, and software engineering. Consider career goals or interests to determine which program is the best fit.

Bachelor's in Computer Programming

Through advanced programming language and database management courses, a bachelor's in computer programming hones an individual's computer programming skills. Earning a bachelor's or master's degree may increase earning potential and provide more career advancement opportunities, as these jobs are becoming increasingly competitive.

Bachelor's in Web Development

By earning a bachelor's degree in web development, individuals learn advanced skills and gain a competitive advantage over other candidates.

Bachelor's Degree in Software Engineering

The need for organizations to improve and implement new technologies for efficiency and security creates a high demand for software engineers. Software engineering bachelor's degrees develop skills in industry trend analysis, program testing, and implementing new systems.

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