If you’re contemplating a career in the computer industry and you’ve always been clever with software, perhaps you’re considering computer programming. It always helps to make sure everyone is in agreement on terminology and in this area; there can be a little confusion.
Computer programs are conceived by software engineers and by computer systems analysts. These are the professionals that sketch the big picture: it is the job of the computer programmer to actually draw the picture. A computer programmer writes the code, the computer language that creates the program and makes it do what the analyst and the engineer intended it to do.
Computer programmers execute program instructions in one of several program languages: a sampling of language names includes COBOL, Java and C++. Their use depends often on the type of software. COBOL is used in many business applications; XML is a tool that has gained popularity among web programmers; Fortran is found in science and engineering. C++ is popular with both business and scientific applications.
Programmers can become familiar with more than one language, as there are similarities among them. Often a programmer develops expertise in a certain area and becomes known, perhaps, as a database or a web programmer. There are even programs to assist programmers today, CASE or “computer assisted engineering tools” that will automate certain program functions and save the programmer the task of writing the code.
Learning how to become a professional in this business can often start with experience. Many job postings will ask first for experience: “three year’s experience working in C++” before listing educational requirements, if any. However, in order to gain experience, you’ve got to learn how to use the tools – and that means going to school.
Online colleges are an excellent resource for programming training and degrees. Kaplan University is an online institution that has six information technology (IT) associate’s degrees in such programming specialties as Java and web development. They have an IT bachelor’s degree in database studies as well as a bachelor’s in overall programming. Kaplan University also has an IT certification program in Internet and Website Development.
That gives a good idea of the academic options available online. Ranging from a certification program that might take months to complete, to a bachelor’s degree that will provide a full college education over two to three years, there are quite a few options for those who want to major in programming or some element of it.
Capella University is another online institution with a number of options for computer programming degrees. They have an IT master’s program in system design and programming that is designed to educate not only the beginner but working professionals who are seeking to upgrade their professional status. In their discussion of their master’s program, Capella’s presentation says “you may be closer than you think.” That is in reference to credits from previous college experience that may streamline your pursuit of this degree considerably.
Included in the curriculum for Capella’s master’s in system design and programming are such courses as advanced programming strategies; object oriented design and development; database analysis and design; introduction to XML and web services; and programming strategies in a Microsoft environment.
Here is a degree that provides the strategic, design and the programming tools for a career in computer programming. If that is your goal, you can find the resources online.