Study Software Programming: Certification & Online Training Info

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What kind of job can you get with a certificate in software programming? Find out program requirements, online options and info on courses and software programming programs.
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Software Programming Certificates: At a Glance

Software programming teaches students how to create programs and applications using various computer programming languages. Certificates in this area may focus on the overall programming cycle or a specific programming language, such as C++, Java or Python. Students can also learn about programming for specific platforms like mobile devices and video games. Programs may also be offered under titles like software development, software design or computer programming.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment for software developers would have a higher-than-average growth between 2010 and 2020. This growth may be due to the increasing importance of information technology in our day-to-day lives and businesses.

Certificates
Who is this degree for? Individuals who wish to increase their programming knowledge
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Web developer, information security analyst or computer network architect ($82,000 - salary common for professionals with 1-5 years of experience)*
- Systems software developer ($100,000)*
- Applications software developer ($92,000)*
Time to Completion 1.5-2 years
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 5-12 programming courses
- Completion within a certain timeframe
Prerequisites Prerequisite courses
Online Availability Yes

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

Certificates in Software Programming

Certificates in software programming are available for undergraduate and graduate students. Programs offered at the undergraduate level are designed to give students a basic understanding of the software development process. If you already have a foundation in software programming, you may be more interested in a graduate certificate program. Programs at both levels are primarily offered at community colleges, universities and through continuing education departments.

Most programs take between a year and a half and two years to complete. Some programs may require that you finish all necessary coursework within a certain timeframe. Some programs may also offer courses in an accelerated format that will allow you to finish quicker.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Programming careers typically earn above average salaries*
  • Potential careers are growing quicker than average (e.g., 30% from 2010-2020 for software developers)*
  • A variety of software programming programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels

Cons

  • Many employers require applicants to have a full degree
  • Some positions typically require experience in addition to training
  • Continuing education may be necessary to stay current with trends in programming

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Common Courses

The courses you are required to complete will vary with the software programming certificate you choose. For example, if you're getting a certificate in a specific programming language, the courses will primarily focus on that language. However, if you are getting a broader certificate, the courses will cover a variety of languages and other applications. Typically, certificate programs include at least five courses. Some may require you to have taken a few prerequisite courses before completing the certificate program.

Some courses you may take include:

  • Visual Basic
  • Java
  • Computer restricted electives
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Database development
  • Web programming
  • Fundamentals of programming

Online Options

Because software programming can be done from anywhere, many programs offer online options. You can find programs that offer some or all of your software programming certificate coursework online. In general, online or hybrid programs are identical to on-campus ones, which means you will study similar computer-related topics, such as systems analysis, and gain the same training.

Getting Ahead

Keeping up with new programming languages and changes in technology will help you get a job in this field. Several certification options are available. For example, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) offers two different certifications depending on your level of experience. Also, you may become certified in a specific program, such as Java. Program-specific certifications are typically offered directly from the manufacturer of the programming language. Java certification, for instance, is offered by Oracle.

Degrees Alternatives

If you would like to deal with computers, but aren't interested in creating programs and other applications, you might consider getting a certificate in information technology. Coupling an information technology certificate with a degree and experience can prepare you for an advanced position, such as an information systems manager. In this position, you would direct the computer-related goals for an organization. According to BLS, computer and information systems managers earned an average of about $126,000 in 2011.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Regis University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Information Assurance
      • Master of Science in Information Assurance - Cybersecurity Specialization
      • Master of Science in Information Assurance - IA Policy Management Specialization
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance Policy Management
      • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Cyber Security
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Computer and Information Security
      • PhD in Business Admin - Computer and Information Security
      • PhD-TIM - Cybersecurity
    Master's
      • MBA - Applied Computer Science
      • MSTIM - Computer Science
      • MBA - Computer and Information Security
      • MSTIM - Information Systems
      • MSTIM - Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management - Technology Management (Executive Format)
      • Doctorate: Computer Science
      • Doctorate - Computer Science: Information Assurance (Executive Format)
    Master's
      • M.S. - Information Technology
      • Master of Science in Computer Science
      • MS - Management - Information Systems Security
      • M.S. - Management: IT and Project Management
      • M.S. - Information Technology - Project Management
      • Master of Science in Cybersecurity Policy
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Software Application Programming
      • BS - IT - Web Development
      • Bachelor: Information Technology
      • BS - Business Administration - IT
      • BS - IT - Security
      • BS - Management - Cybersecurity Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Lewis University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Computer Science
      • MS in Computer Science - Intelligent Systems
      • MS in Data Science - Computer Science
      • MS in Computer Science - Cyber Security
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Human Resources and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Public Safety Leadership and Technology Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Technology Studies
      • Associate of Science - Information Technology Admin and Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of IT: Project Management
      • Master of Information Technology - Information Assurance and Security
      • Master of Science in Information Technology
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Technology: Software Analysis and Development
      • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    9. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
      • HS Diploma
      • High School with a Concentration in Information Technology

Featured Schools

Regis University

  • Master of Science in Information Assurance
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance - Cybersecurity Specialization
  • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance Policy Management
  • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Cyber Security

What is your highest level of education completed?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • MBA - Applied Computer Science
  • MSTIM - Computer Science

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management - Technology Management (Executive Format)
  • M.S. - Information Technology
  • B.S. - Information Technology: Software Application Programming

Are you a US citizen?

Lewis University

  • MS in Computer Science
  • MS in Computer Science - Intelligent Systems
  • MS in Data Science - Computer Science

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Human Resources and Technology Management
  • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Technology Studies

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of IT: Project Management
  • Master of Information Technology - Information Assurance and Security
  • Bachelor of Technology: Software Analysis and Development
  • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security

Are you a US citizen?

Keiser University

  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology

What is your highest level of education?