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

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Mobile Gaming
      • Master of Science - Mobile Gaming
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Computer Animation
      • B.S. - Web Design and Development
      • B.S. - Game Design
      • BS - Computer Science
      • B.S. - Game Art
      • BS - Information Technology Bachelors
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Walden University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
    Bachelor's
      • BBA: New Media and Internet Marketing
      • BS in IT - IT Management
      • BS in IT - Supply Chain Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Cloud Computing and Solutions
    Associate's
      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Columbia Southern University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Information Technology
      • BSBA - Information Technology
      • BS - Information Systems Security
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. in Computer Science
      • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security (Bridge)
      • M.S. in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Information Technology
      • B.S. in Computer Programming
      • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity
      • B.S. in Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Cyber Security, M.S.
    Bachelor's
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Database Management
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Networking
      • Information Systems Mgmt., B.S.
    Associate's
      • Computer Information Technology, A.S.
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Computer Science
      • B.A. in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
      • B.A.S. in Information Systems
      • B.S. in Information Systems Technology - General
      • B.S. in Information Systems Technology - Information Security
      • B.S. in Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
      • Master - Information Technology Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Computer Science
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Liberty University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA: Information Systems
    Master's
      • MS: Information Systems: Technology Management
      • MS: Cyber-Security
      • MS: Information Systems: Information Assurance
    Bachelor's
      • BS: Information Technology: Application and Database Development
      • BS: Information Systems: Database
      • BS: Information Systems
      • BS: Information Technology: Gaming Design
      • BS: Computer Science Cyber-Security
      • BS: Information Systems: Data Networking
    Associate's
      • AA: Information Systems
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. Baker College

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Information Systems - MBA
      • Cloud Security Risk Management - MBA
    Bachelor's
      • Computer Science - Database Technology
      • Game Software Development
      • Information Systems - Information Assurance
      • Information Systems - Project Management
      • Computer Science
      • Information Technology and Security - Concentration in Information Assurance
    Certificate
      • Cloud Security Risk Management - Post-Baccalaureate

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Mobile Gaming
  • B.S. - Computer Animation
  • B.S. - Web Design and Development

What is your highest level of education?

Walden University

  • MS in Cybersecurity

What is your highest level of education completed?

Purdue University Global

  • MSM in Information Technology
  • BBA: New Media and Internet Marketing
  • AASIT: Network Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Columbia Southern University

  • BS - Information Technology
  • BSBA - Information Technology
  • BS - Information Systems Security

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • M.S. in Computer Science
  • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • B.S. in Information Technology
  • B.S. in Computer Programming

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Christian University

  • Cyber Security, M.S.
  • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Database Management
  • Computer Information Technology, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?

Regent University

  • B.S. in Computer Science
  • B.A. in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
  • B.A.S. in Information Systems

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Master - Information Technology Management
  • BS - Computer Science

What is your highest level of education?