Online Degrees in Computer Programming

In today’s technology-driven world, a career in computer programming is invaluable. From websites to applications, this degree gives students a strong knowledge base in programming languages, database design, and web development that employers in just about every industry seek. The following guide provides a detailed break down of online computer programming degrees at multiple levels. Some of the biggest decisions in life involve college and career, and a little research goes a long way.

Computer programming students often find themselves naturally suited to work online and with computers. Although students aren’t in the same physical classroom, collaborative learning still takes place via videoconferencing, discussion boards, email, and other online platforms. Colleges also do everything they can to help distance learners succeed. For instance, faculty and staff are available to provide support and guidance whenever necessary and online student often have access to the same resources available to their campus-based peers.

STUDENT PROFILE #1 – LAURA

Laura enjoys her time building a foundation in computer programming, but as her associate degree draws to a close, she realizes that the further knowledge and experience afforded by a bachelor’s degree will aid her in finding a good job.

ONLINE ASSOCIATE DEGREES IN COMPUTER PROGRAMMING (2 YEARS)

An online associate degree in computer programming helps students gain a strong base in the field and can serve as a great first step to employment. During the first two semesters, students usually work on completing general education courses, such as English and mathematics. By the second year, student begin exploring key concepts such as logic, programming procedures, languages, generators, operating systems, networking, business operations, and data management. In short, an online associate degree offers the knowledge and training necessary to solve basic business computer problems.

The following table shows a typical two-year, associate degree curriculum:

Fifth Semester (Junior) Credits Overview
Introduction to Computer Programming I 3 An introduction to computer programming using a modern object-oriented computer language. Topics include assignment, decisions, loops, methods and arrays using objects.
Calculus I 4 An introduction to the concepts of limit, continuity and derivative, mean value theorem, and applications of derivatives such as velocity, acceleration, maximization, and curve sketching; introduction to the Riemann integral and the fundamental theorem of calculus.
Freshman Composition I 3 Focuses on academic writing. Reviews principles of the writing process, including editing for Standard American English and using and documenting sources.
Visual & Performing Arts Elective 3 Students may choose from a variety of 3hr classes to fulfill this portion.
World Society & Issues Elective 3 Students may choose from a variety of 3hr classes to fulfill this portion.
Second Semester (Freshman) Credits Overview
Introduction to Computer Programming II and Recitation 3.5 Extended programming concepts including multidimensional arrays, pointers, dynamic memory allocation/deallocation and recursion.
Calculus II 4 Methods of integration, applications of the integral, sequences, series, and Taylor expansions.
Politics and Society 3 Topics may include discussions of the U.S. Constitution; the role of state in the federal system; the diverse demographic, economic, and cultural bases of state politics, and more.
Freshman Composition II 3 Focuses on academic writing, following the writing process, from prewriting through editing. Extensive writing practice in the use of logical and organizational patterns and introduction to persuasion in written, oral, and visual form.
Third Semester (Sophomore) Credits Overview
Data Structures and Recitation 3.5 Abstract data structures (stacks, queues, lists, trees), recursion, sorting, and searching.
Introduction to American Politics 3 A broad survey of the basic elements of American politics.
Free Elective 3 Students may choose from a variety of 3hr classes to fulfill this portion.
Natural Sciences Level I 3 Students may choose from a variety of 3hr classes to fulfill this portion.
Social & Behavioral Science 3 Students may choose from a variety of 3hr classes to fulfill this portion.
Fourth Semester (Sophomore) Credits Overview
Discrete Mathematical Structures and Recitation 3.5 Survey and development of theoretical tools suitable for describing algorithmic applications. Propositional and predicate calculus, proofs, induction, order notation, recurrences and discrete structures.
Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science and Recitation 4 Survey and development of mathematical and statistical tools suitable for describing algorithmic applications. Vectors, matrices, combinatorics, probability and statistical models.
Natural Sciences Level II Elective 3 Students may choose from a variety of 3hr classes to fulfill this portion.
Application Programming 3 Advanced application development in a current object-oriented language.

STUDENT PROFILE #2 – TREVOR

Trevor made the decision early to pursue a degree in computer programming. He followed his course schedule and took advantage of his open electives to specialize in web development. He took an internship to augment those web development skills and landed a position with that same company after graduation.

ONLINE BACHELOR’S DEGREES IN COMPUTER PROGRAMMING (4 YEARS)

While an online associate degree or certificate in computer programming is common, a bachelor’s degree isn’t. Most colleges and universities don’t offer a bachelor’s degree specifically in computer programming. As a result, aspiring computer programmers who wish to pursue an education beyond an associate degree usually earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Because students in this degree study widely-used programming languages such as Java and C++, a computer science bachelor’s degree offers a strong foundation in computer programming, plus valuable knowledge in related areas such as software engineering, computer architecture, and computer networking.

Fifth Semester (Junior) Credits Overview
Systems Programming and Recitation 4 A study of systems-level programming in a specific system (at present, Unix).
Programming Languages and Recitation 3.5 An introduction to high-level procedural, functional, and object-oriented programming languages, their theoretical foundations, organization, and implementation.
Computer Organization and Recitation 3.5 Organization of a computer system is introduced at block diagram level. Programming in assembly language and understanding the macroarchitecture of a computer is emphasized.
Upper-division CS Elective 3 Students may elect to take any junior or senior level Computer Science course, unless that course is already a part of the student’s degree path.
Sixth Semester (Junior) Credits Overview
Analysis of Algorithms and Recitation 3.5 Analysis of the performance of algorithms; discussion of programming techniques and data structures used in the writing of effective algorithms.
Operating Systems and Recitation 3.5 An introduction to the functions and major techniques of a modern multiprogramming operating system.
Computer Architecture and Recitation 3.5 Instruction set architecture, datapath and control unit design, advanced computer arithmetic, pipelining, memory hierarchy and I/O subsystem, performance issues.
Upper-division CS Elective 3 Students may elect to take any junior or senior level Computer Science course, unless that course is already a part of the student’s degree path.
Seventh Semester (Senior) Credits Overview
Economics Elective 3 Students may choose from a variety of 3hr classes to fulfill this portion.
Upper-division CS Elective 3 Students may elect to take any junior or senior level Computer Science course, unless that course is already a part of the student’s degree path.
Upper-division CS Elective 3 Students may elect to take any junior or senior level Computer Science course, unless that course is already a part of the student’s degree path.
Upper-division CS Elective 3 Students may elect to take any junior or senior level Computer Science course, unless that course is already a part of the student’s degree path.
U.S. History & Diversity Elective 3 Students may choose from a variety of 3hr classes to fulfill this portion.
Eighth Semester (Senior) Credits Overview
Literature Elective 4 Students may choose from a variety of 3hr classes to fulfill this portion.
Upper-division CS Elective 3 Students may elect to take any junior or senior level Computer Science course, unless that course is already a part of the student’s degree path.
Upper-division CS Elective 3 Students may elect to take any junior or senior level Computer Science course, unless that course is already a part of the student’s degree path.
Upper-division CS Elective 3 Students may elect to take any junior or senior level Computer Science course, unless that course is already a part of the student’s degree path.
U.S. History & Diversity 3 Students may choose from a variety of 3hr classes to fulfill this portion.

STUDENT PROFILE #3 – HAYLEY

Hayley earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science, but realized that her heart truly yearned for the opportunity to innovate operating systems. She wanted to expand her knowledge, and she sought out a master’s degree in the field. By building on her initial degree, she found a job improving how people interact with technology.

ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREES IN COMPUTER PROGRAMMING

Similar to the bachelor’s degree, most colleges and universities don’t offer online master’s programs specifically in computer programming. Programmers who wish to earn a graduate degree will need to enroll in a computer science program.

Before applying to a graduate program, students should reach out to academic advisors and conduct thorough research into the requirements. Many professors moonlight as graduate student advisors and can offer detailed guidance on courses and schedules.

Master’s Program Core Courses Overview
CS 535 Computer Networks Overview of data communication and computer networks, including network hardware and software, as well as reference models, example networks, data communication services and network standardization.
CS 566 Analysis of Algorithms Discusses basic methods for designing and analyzing efficient algorithms emphasizing methods used in practice.
CS 575 Operating Systems Overview of operating system characteristics, design objectives, and structures.
CS 579 Database Management This course provides a theoretical yet modern presentation of database topics ranging from Data and Object Modeling, relational algebra and normalization to advanced topics such as how to develop Web-based database applications.
CS 662 Computer Language Theory Theory of finite automata and regular expressions and properties of regular sets. Context-free grammars, context-free languages, and pushdown automata.
CS 673 Software Engineering Techniques for the construction of reliable, efficient, and cost-effective software.
CS 773 Software Quality Management Theory and practice of quality assurance and testing for each step of the software development cycle. Verification vs. validation.
CS 775 Advanced Networking In-depth coverage of the architecture, interfaces, protocols, and technologies of high-speed broadband networks. Topics
CS 789 Cryptography The course covers the main concepts and principles of cryptography with the main emphasis put on public key cryptography.

ONLINE PHD IN COMPUTER PROGRAMMING

Online doctoral degrees in computer programming aren’t available at most colleges and universities. However, a doctoral degree in computer science, or a closely related field, is an alternative option that many programmers choose to pursue. Doctorate degrees usually take an additional four years of coursework and research (mostly the latter). The Ph.D. level requires students to hone in on a specific area, topic, or issue and culminates in a project or dissertation that they need to defend in order to graduate. Defense takes place in front of a panel of professors and peers who examine the materials and ask the candidate questions. Those who earn their Ph.D. often go on to teach at the university level, conduct extensive academic research, or work for a company or business on high-level programs and projects.

Schools with Computer Programming Degrees

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SCHOOL NAME CITY, STATE STUDENT POPULATION SCHOOL TYPE TUITION PROGRAM TYPE PROGRAMS
University of Phoenix-Online CampusPhoenix, AZ307,871Private, 4-year$9,216Both
Associate
  • Computer Programming/Programmer- General
Bachelor’s
  • Computer Programming/Programmer- General
Associate - ONLINE
  • Associate of Arts with a concentration in Information Technology/Programming
Miami Dade CollegeMiami, FL63,736Public, 4-year$2,483Both
Associate
  • Computer Programming- Specific Applications
Associate - ONLINE
  • Associate in Science in Computer Programming and Analysis - Business
Houston Community CollegeHouston, TX63,015Public, 2-year$744Campus
Associate
  • Computer Programming- Specific Applications
Tarrant County College DistrictFort Worth, TX50,062Public, 2-year$1,296Campus
Associate
  • Computer Programming/Programmer- General
Austin Community College DistrictAustin, TX45,100Public, 2-year$1,860Campus
Associate
  • Computer Programming/Programmer- General
University of Maryland-University CollegeAdelphi, MD42,713Public, 4-year$6,024Campus
Master’s
  • Computer Programming/Programmer- General
Valencia CollegeOrlando, FL42,631Public, 4-year$1,888Campus
Associate
  • Computer Programming- Specific Applications
Broward CollegeFort Lauderdale, FL42,198Public, 4-year$1,810Campus
Associate
  • Computer Programming- Specific Applications