Bachelor of Science (BS): Programming Degree Overview
Learn about bachelor's degree studies focusing on programming. Get information about coursework requirements, continuing education and certification options, career prospects and employment growth and salary figures for programmers and related professionals.
While bachelor's degrees specific to programming are rare, students may consider a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. These programs provide students with training in computer information systems, which include computer programming. Through these curricula, students learn the basics of programming and programming design and may complete additional elective courses in popular programming languages, like Java and C++. More advanced topics like computer applications are also part of these studies. There usually aren't any special prerequisites for these programs except requiring students to have a high school diploma or equivalent.
In addition programming courses, students complete advanced coursework in mathematics, including calculus and matrix algebra, as well as physics. Some possible programming course topics may include:
- Algorithms and programming
- Data structures
- Computer architecture
- Introduction to programming languages
- Designing of programming languages
- Software engineering
- Java programming
- Network design
- Internet applications
Popular Career Options
Students who complete a computer science program may find work in a variety of industries, due to the rising reliance on computers. Some of the duties these individuals may need to perform include developing software programs, transferring data and solving technical problems. Possible career options include:
- Web developer
- Information technology security analyst
- Database administrator
- Computer programmer
- Computer security specialist
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that computer programmers should have about average growth of 12% over the 2010-2020 decade, and the median salary in May 2012 was $74,280. Web programmers (included in a category for information security analysts, web developers and computer network architects) are expected to have faster-than-average growth of 22% over the 2010-2020 decade. Web developers in May 2012 earned a median wage of $62,500.
Software developers overall are expected to have 30% growth from 2010-2020, with growths of 28% for applications developers and 32% for systems developers. These rates are much faster than average. The BLS reported May 2012 median wages of $90,060 for applications developers and $99,000 for systems developers.
Continuing Education Information
According to the BLS, most computer programmers and those working in similar fields need only a bachelor's degree, but continuing education is regularly required to stay current on changes in the field. The BLS indicates that certifications, offered through vendors or firms, are commonly voluntary but can in some cases be required. Some individuals may consider earning a master's degree if they wish to advance into careers into research or top-level jobs within the industry.
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