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. 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
    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. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Post University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Computer Information Systems / Computer Networking
      • B.S. in Business Administration / Computer Information Systems
      • B.S. in Computer Information Systems
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
      • MS in Cybersecurity Management
    Bachelor's
      • BBA: New Media and Internet Marketing
      • BSIT - Information Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
    Associate's
      • Associate: Information Technology
      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master - Information Technology Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Brenau University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Cybersecurity Management
      • Masters in Business Administration - Cybersecurity Management
    Certificate
      • Post Graduate Certificate - Cybersecurity Management
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - General
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - Information Security
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Information Systems Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Penn Foster

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma - Web Page Designer
      • Career Diploma - Computer Graphic Artist
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

Featured Schools

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?

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?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Post University

  • B.S. in Computer Information Systems / Computer Networking
  • B.S. in Business Administration / Computer Information Systems
  • B.S. in Computer Information Systems

Education Level:

Kaplan University

  • MSM in Information Technology
  • BBA: New Media and Internet Marketing
  • Associate: Information Technology

Which subject are you interested in?

Colorado State University Global

  • Master - Information Technology Management
  • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
  • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security

What is your highest level of education?

Brenau University

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

What is your highest level of education completed?

Regent University

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology

What is your highest level of education completed?