Computer Software Certification and Certificate Programs
Certificate programs in computer software are offered at the beginner's level for those who need training in basic office software or at advanced levels in areas such as software engineering. Certification programs and classes, which differ from a certificate program, are offered by software vendors and professional organizations and provide official certification for software engineering professionals.
Certificate in Computer Software
Some community colleges and vocational training institutes offer certificate programs in computer software for those interested in learning to use basic office or administrative software. These programs provide basic training in software applications, such as spreadsheets, word processing, database software and presentation software. A high school diploma or its equivalent is typically required for admission.
Students learn to use the latest standard industry software packages through hands-on training. Course topics might include:
- Microsoft Excel spreadsheets
- Microsoft Word
- PowerPoint presentations
- Microsoft Access database applications
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Students who complete beginner level computer software programs have the skills to obtain administrative and office personnel positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to grow at an average rate from 2010-2020. In 2012, the median salary for secretaries and administrative assistants was $32,410 annually.
Graduate Certificate in Computer Software
Advanced-level certificates in computer software, usually offered at the graduate level, are designed for software engineers seeking advanced training. Students learn to plan, design and implement software development projects and applications. Most programs require a bachelor's degree and computer proficiency for admissions.
Programs typically require 4-5 courses in areas related to software engineering. Topics might include:
- Object-Oriented Programming and Design
- Software quality management
- Project management
- Software engineering
- Software architecture
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Employment of software developers is expected to grow at a much faster-than-average rate from 2010-2020, according to the BLS. Demand for software engineers will increase as the use and dependence on computers and computer networks grow. In 2012, the median salary was $99,000 for software developers.
Certification and Continuing Education
Software vendors, such as Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corporation, offer professional certification to software engineers who work with their specific technologies. Candidates for vendor-specific computer software certification generally must pass an examination which tests technical expertise in a particular product or system. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society offers professional certification, granting the designations Certified Software Development Associate (CSDA) and Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP). Entry-level software engineers may apply for CSDA status, while CDSPs must have at least four years of experience in the field. Both IEEE certifications require candidates to pass an exam. Continuing education is recommended for software engineers to maintain up-to-date computer software certification as technology advances.
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