Computer Programming Degrees: Masters, Training & Online Course Info

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What will you learn in a computer programming master's degree or training program? Read about computer programming program requirements, the pros and cons of a master's degree or training and potential careers.
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Studying Computer Programming: Degrees and Training at a Glance

If you'd like to become or are already a computer programming professional who desires career advancement, you might consider a master's degree or training in computer programming. You could be hired as a network technician, software engineer, project manager or programming researcher. Programmers tend to find employment in many industries such as software publishing, finance, telecommunications, education, government and manufacturing. Computer programmers are also frequently hired as independent contractors or consultants.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for computer programmers could increase by 12% from 2010-2010, which was slightly below average growth. Jobs for software developers, however, were projected to grow by 30% in the same time frame. This figure was substantially above the average across all industries.

Master's Training
Who is this degree for? People interested in working in software programming and related fields Individuals with a degree who want to advance their careers
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Computer programmer ($76,000)*
- Applications software developer ($92,000)*
- Systems software developer ($100,500)*
While training courses rarely will qualify you for a specific job, they can help you gain programming expertise and advance your career.
- Computer programmer ($76,000)*
- Applications software developer ($92,000)*
- Systems software developer ($100,500)*
Time to Completion Roughly 2 years full-time Varies, but is typically a part-time, short-term endeavor
Common Graduation Requirements - About 6-8 graduate level courses
- Master's thesis proposal
- Master's thesis project
- Written master's thesis
- Master's exams
- Laboratory requirement
Can vary depending on whether or not you're enrolled in a program such as a certificate program (most certificate programs at this level consist of about three courses)
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in computer programming or a related field Master's degree in computer programming, computer science or a related field that training can assist
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Master's in Computer Programming

Although many computer programming jobs require only an associate's or bachelor's degree, a master's degree in computer programming can sometimes secure a more advanced position in the field. Graduate students in computer programming typically learn highly advanced programming languages and acquire the skills needed to use those languages for the development of software and applications. Although it can be much more difficult to enter a master's degree program in computer programming than a bachelor's program, class sizes are typically much smaller and you can expect a lot of one-on-one learning with advisors and professors.

More commonly, colleges and universities offer master's degree programs in computer science that cover programming languages and other courses related to computer programming careers. You'll often be required to choose a research specialization in the field of computer programming.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You can gain advanced, state-of-the art programming knowledge and skills
  • There are a number of online options
  • If you choose to use your master's degree to expand into software development, your skill set may be in high demand in various different industries

Cons

  • Many computer programming positions don't require a master's degree
  • Earning your master's degree in this field can end up being expensive and time consuming
  • According to the BLS, the job growth for computer programmers is projected to be below the national average

Courses and Requirements

Classes for a master's degree program in computer programming generally focus on programming languages and operating systems. You can gain a broad knowledge of how to work and interact with software and hardware. A few courses that you could encounter are:

  • Software engineering
  • Managing software projects
  • Programming Unix
  • Mac and PC operating systems
  • Graphics programming
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Cryptography
  • Architecture of computers
  • Applying network security
  • Systems programming

In addition to the coursework, most master's degree programs also require you to defend, research and complete a master's thesis paper and project.

Online Degree Options

Master's degree programs in computer programming are offered online by several colleges and universities. While lacking when it comes to personal, one-on-one learning, these programs may be for you if you're currently employed or unable to attend an on-campus program for other reasons.

Getting Ahead With This Degree

There are a variety of ways that you can get ahead in the job market while still earning your master's degree in computer programming. The following are simply a few ideas to consider:

  • Having any of your research that you've conducted for your thesis published can be an enormous boost for your resume.
  • Be flexible. Some positions may require absolute proficiency in Microsoft software like Access, Word, Excel, Outlook, Microsoft Visual Source Safe and Internet Information Service, while others not at all. The more operating systems and software that you're able to work with, the greater your potential likelihood of securing a position can be.
  • Because of the boom in mobile devices, there are a large number of job listings and potential careers in mobile application development and related fields. Specializing in application software programming could help you get ahead.

Training in Computer Programming

After you earn a master's degree, whether it's in computer programming or another discipline, there are training options that can be helpful when it comes to career advancement and opportunities. There are a wide variety of different online and real-world computer programming training programs and courses you can take, from graduate certificate programs to simple courses that will familiarize you with a specific type of programming. It's possible that your college or university offers training as a continued studies program. While training can be useful, it's almost never an option that stands on its own but rather an addition to the education and experience you already have.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Receiving extra training in computer programming can be useful in a large number of industries
  • With many training programs, you can focus on mastering very specific programming skills
  • Training programs are often available online and will take up a minimal amount of time

Cons

  • If you're interested in a career in computer programming or software development, a training program is rarely enough
  • You may need to sift through unlicensed, unaccredited training programs that offer little to no value before you find what you need
  • Most of these programs are not for beginners, so you'll need to have a prior knowledge of computer programming

Courses and Requirements

The courses and requirements of training program depend on a lot of factors. For example, what you learn from an online Linux programming course will differ greatly from a certification program for developing applications for Google. With training, you can choose to be as specific or general as you need to be. A few courses that you could possibly take include:

  • Comprehensive C++ Programming
  • Scientific computer programming
  • Programming for mobile devices
  • Rapidly developing software
  • Application design
  • Programming Java
  • Working with hypertext
  • Algorithms and data structures
  • Python programming
  • Mastering XML

Requirements beyond coursework vary widely from program to program. In some programs coursework is the whole of the training, while in others it could lead to a certification exam.

Online Training Options

There are a wide variety of online computer programming training options available to you. Colleges and universities offer some, while software and computer companies offer others. Many of these online options are designed for graduates who are already working but seek professional development. While courses are online, you sometimes may need to take any exams in the real world at a specified location.

Stand Out With This Degree

There are numerous ways that you can use your computer programming training to stand out. If you're seeking employment, software training can help you strengthen your resume and pass employment exams in specific required programming languages or protocols. If you're currently employed, the professional development may help you improve at your job or even rise through the ranks.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
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      • MBA - Applied Computer Science
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      • MSM in Information Technology
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Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Mobile Gaming

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • MBA - Applied Computer Science
  • MSTIM - Computer Science
  • MBA - Computer and Information Security

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Grand Canyon University

  • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Instructional Technology

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Colorado State University Global

  • Master - Information Technology Management
  • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology

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Kaplan University

  • MSM in Information Technology
  • Master: Information Technology
  • Master: Information Technology - Project Management

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Brenau University

  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Cybersecurity Management
  • Masters in Business Administration - Cybersecurity Management

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Tulane University

  • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management

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Colorado Christian University

  • Cyber Security, M.S.

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