What Degree is Necessary to Work as a Computer Programmer?

Tech jobs today offer an excellent salary and career potential, and future programmers might wonder what degree is necessary to work as a computer programmer. As with any profession, computer programming is one where different levels of degrees tend to lead to different types of employment.

A Ph.D. may offer graduates the chance to work as college professors or engage in scholarly research in computer programming. On the other hand, a bachelor’s degree may provide opportunities for work in a traditional corporate environment. A college degree is no small investment of time and money, so it may behoove fledgling programmers to figure out the best route to working in the tech industry, as well as which degree is a necessary part of that future career.

Bachelor’s Degrees Open Many Doors to Employment

A useful resource to measure the education requirements for a given profession is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which lists the typical entry-level education requirements for various jobs. For computer programmers, the BLS indicates that the average entry-level programmer has a bachelor’s degree.

The majority of bachelor’s degree seekers will take at least four years to earn their degree. Colleges and universities with computer science departments commonly offer Bachelor of Science in Computer Programming degrees and Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering degrees to future computer programmers. Some colleges may also offer specializations.

Choosing a Specialization or Graduate Degree May Help the Job Hunt

Computer programming is an incredibly diverse environment with new programming languages consistently under development. Popular languages include SQL, Java, JavaScript, and C#, but other languages used include Python, C++, PHP, IOS, and Ruby/Rails. A bachelor’s degree in computer programming may touch on some or all of these languages but only enough that the student graduates with general knowledge and not in-depth understanding.

An article published by Northeastern University in Massachusetts indicates that graduate degrees in computer science with a specialization in a certain area may reward graduates with career advancement and the highest-paying jobs in the industry. Common areas of specialization include artificial intelligence, computer-human interface, game design, networks, computer graphics, and information security.

Trying a Computer Programming Boot Camp

In recent years, brief programs lasting a few days or weeks have become popular for individuals seeking instruction in computer programming. Known as “boot camp” programs, these courses may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete. Much like traditional bachelor’s degree programs, boot camps often feature concentrations or classes in a specific programming language. The programs are advertised as an alternative to a college degree or an option for students interested in a career change. However, students who have zero experience in computer programming prior to entering the boot camp may experience a steep learning curve when transitioning to the workforce.

Related Resource: Online Programming Degree: 10 Best Deals

For most future programmers, a bachelor’s degree may offer the safest route to swift employment, and a four-year degree like a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science will be necessary for the average student to work as a computer programmer. An advanced degree may offer opportunities for better-paying work, but a Master of Science in Computer Programming isn’t absolutely necessary to find work as a computer programmer. Meanwhile, boot camp programs are often best for offering an in-depth but introductory level of instruction to the industry without the significant promise of computer programming employment.